Vancouver Named North America's Top Airport... Again
When compared to the rest of the world, North American airports are usually found lacking. At least, that is what air travel survey firm Skytrax has found during its annual passenger surveys. And that was the case this year: all of the top 10 airports, according to Skytrax, are located in Asia and Europe.
There is one exception to the poor survey performance of North American terminals: Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The British Columbia hub has been named the best airport in North America every year for the past seven years. YVR is the first airport in the world to be named the best in a particular region for seven straight years.
Why this matters
The industry takes the World Airport Awards, the event where the best performers on the Skytrax survey are recognized, seriously. That is because of the extensive surveying that takes place before the rankings are calculated. Skytrax asks more than 13 million fliers to rate airports that they have been to in 39 different categories. Such a huge pool of responses takes regional bias and campaigning for positive reviews out of the equation.
This is why the seven-year record is a big deal.
Vancouver is also often tagged as the world’s best among airports that serve 10-20 million passengers. The reason it didn’t add that award to the trophy case this year is that it saw just over 20 million fliers in 2015 so it was too large to qualify for the size category. (The award for best 10-20 million-passenger airport went to Japan’s Kansai International Airport).
READ MORE: The Best Airport in The World for 2016 Is...
Much better than its regional rivals
In the overall worldwide ranking, Vancouver finished fourteenth. The next highest rated North American hub was Denver International Airport, which came in at number 28. Cincinnati was at number 32 and SFO earned the thirty-seventh spot.
So what does Vancouver have that its North American peers lack?
According to Craig Richmond, the CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, the airport performs so well because of a culture of helpfulness and customer service: "What sets us apart is smiling faces will look at you, see your confusion, walk over and say, 'hey, can I help you?' “
Richmond also said that overall performance in all of the categories is essential for airports that want to achieve a high ranking. "You can't afford to be number two or number three in very many of those, or you wouldn't win.”
Some of the things that passengers are asked to rate in the Skytrax survey include airport check-in and security clearance facilities, passenger amenities, ground transportation infrastructure, signage, comfort and efficiency.
Vancouver International is also known for its design and unique features
The airport has one of the biggest collections of Pacific Northwest native art in the world, and the terminals have Canadian Pacific Coast themes throughout. The architecture makes use of windows and glass, including an impressive collection of stained glass, to let in an abundance of natural light.
The combination of design, layout and customer service that has made YVR North America’s best airport for seven years running should see it take home an eighth trophy next year unless one of its North American peers can improve drastically.
More by Josh Lew
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