Airports Raise Revenue with Better Service, ACI Research Finds

Raising customer service levels can be significantly more effective in driving revenue-than increasing traffic or the amount of retail space, according to research from Airports Council International (ACI).

"ACI's Airport Service Quality research and analysis suggests that, for most airports, prioritizing customer service results in the greatest positive impact on non-aeronautical revenue," said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World, in a statement. "It can potentially deliver an even greater return on investment than can be achieved through traffic increases or expansion of commercial space."

The white paper is based on the ACI ASQ annual global survey carried out at almost 300 airports across the world and surveys involving more than 550,000 passengers per year. The white paper is further supported by data generated from the annual ACI Airport Economics Survey.

The analysis found the following results:

  • A 1 percent increase in passenger traffic drives a non-aeronautical revenue increase ranging from 0.7 percent to 1 percent.
  • A 1 percent increase in commercial space drives an increase in non-aeronautical revenue of 0.2 percent.
  • A 1percent increase in passenger satisfaction levels delivers an increase of 1.5 percent in non-aeronautical revenue.

The research also found that satisfied passengers spend more.

"Of course, each airport faces unique issues in determining its investment program, but many airports instantly seize upon traffic and retail space as the key engines of revenue growth when in fact customer service may well be the optimal route," Gittens said.