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ACI Europe announces 2024 Best Airport Award winners in Istanbul

ACI EUROPE Awards

The 2024 ACI Europe Best Airport Awards, presented in Istanbul, celebrated excellence across categories including digital transformation, eco-innovation, and HR excellence.

ISTANBUL – The annual ACI Europe Best Airport Award winners were announced yesterday during the Gala Dinner of the 34th ACI Europe Annual Congress and General Assembly, taking place in Istanbul, Türkiye, hosted by iGA Istanbul Airport.

The Best Airport Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement from across ACI Europe’s vast membership, from the busiest hubs on the continent to smaller and regional airports punching above their weight, and across a wide range of airport activities.

The 2024 Award winners implemented strategies pushing the airport business model into new territories, fostering new value creation models and embraced transformation and flexibility while taking care of their people and the planet. Across five categories — Digital Transformation, Eco-Innovation, HR Excellence, World Business Partner and Best Airport (split into 5 awards by airport size) — the crème de la crème of the industry was given due focus.

Digital Transformation Award

Winner: Rome Fiumicino Airport

The Digital Transformation Award, an initiative of the SESAR Joint Undertaking in collaboration with ACI Europe, recognises a European airport that has embraced digitalisation, adopting innovative technologies and procedures to improve the safety, capacity, efficiency and environmental footprint of its operations.The winner, Rome Fiumicino Airport, scored highly for the way relevant stakeholders were involved as well as for their innovative approaches to ensure effective collaboration. Judges focused on how the sheer scope, diversity, and ambition of their digital strategy is impressive and well matched by an outstanding execution – with one judge noting they have found a sweet spot between ambition and delivery. Having been recognised already in 2021 for their outstanding digital transformation, Rome Fiumicino has a robust innovation strategy with an incubator supporting 50 start-ups, and is an early mover in urban air mobility.

Highly commended: Zurich Airport

Eco-Innovation Award

Winner: Toulon-Hyères Airport

The Eco-Innovation Award, in association with Airport Carbon Accreditation, is presented to the airport that has demonstrated outstanding environmental performance and an innovative approach to environmental management. The winner, Toulon-Hyères Airport,was commended for its all-round environmental effectiveness. Toulon‑Hyères Airport has reduced its direct CO2 emissions by 92.5% from 2018 to 2022, reaching 94.5% at the end of 2023, and by the end of 2024, they aim to reach over 99%. Notably, they have reached the recently introduced, topmost Level 5 of ACI EUROPE’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, certifying airports for achieving a net zero carbon balance for emissions under their control and committing to across-the-board decarbonisation by 2050, including upstream and downstream emissions. The winner presented a range of projects in their application, with judges noting their proactive, voluntary approach to eco-innovation.

Highly commended: Goteborg Landvetter Airport

HR Excellence Award

Winner: Hermes Airports

The HR Excellence Award, in partnership with ACI Europe’s Leadership and Human Resources Forum, aims to recognise a HR department that has demonstrated excellence in managing human resources and developing the airport workforce for the future.

The winner, Hermes Airports, was praised by the judges for showcasing both an individual and collective leadership approach. They aim to be the employer of choice in Cyprus by having a strong leadership and high-performance culture. Their target is to foster a culture in which people feel recognised, respected, and are given developmental opportunities that will improve both their personal and professional lives. They were particularly commended for their use of engagement survey metrics in order to measure the success of their HR practices.

Highly commended: Royal Schiphol Airport

World Business Partner Award

Winner: Lorenzo Belicchi, SITA

ACI Europe has many outstanding World Business Partners, who contribute with innovative ideas and new technologies that help airports to ensure a safe, secure and environmentally performant operation — an objective shared by airports worldwide as they seek to improve performance and achieve excellence.

Winner Lorenzo Belicchi (SITA) was recognized as a person who has provided an outstanding contribution and active partnership as a World Business Partner. Throughout his tenure, he has consistently exhibited reliability and trustworthiness, earning him the respect and admiration of his peers. Having been an integral part of the Facilitation and Customer Services Committee for an impressive 15 years, his commitment to advancing the Committee’s objectives is exemplary, and his contributions have consistently enriched the Committee’s efforts and ACI EUROPE as a whole.

Best Airport Award: Under 5 million passengers

Winner: Torino Airport

The winner of the Best Airport Award (under 5 million passengers), Torino Airport, was praised by judges for an impressive combination of driving traffic recovery — evident in record passenger numbers in 2023 — through a proactive approach to securing new connectivity. They also made tangible strides on tackling aviation’s sustainability challenges including inaugurating a new photovoltaic plant last summer, which meets a substantial portion of its annual electricity needs. They have delivered exceptional service quality and significantly impacted the local economy for the better.

Highly commended: Finavia Rovaniemi Airport

Best Airport Award: 5-10 million passengers

Winner: Malta Airport

Malta Airport, the winner of the Best Airport Award (5-10 million passengers), was commended for a comprehensive and consistent approach enabling them to recover strongly from the pandemic, both in traffic and financial terms, while demonstrating a collaborative approach with customers and staff alike. Judges noted their proven track record, efficient operations, as well as their motivated team — with sustainability, excellence, and innovation at its core.

Highly commended: Brussels South Charleroi Airport

Best Airport Award: 10-25 million passengers

Winner: London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport took the prize for Best Airport (10-25 million passengers), as judges were particularly impressed with their strategically adopted ‘One Team, One Plan’ approach, leading to increased resilience, reduced incidents and high employee satisfaction. Their adaptability helped them achieve Level 4 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, with a net-zero target by 2040. Despite a temporary passenger cap, 2023 was their most profitable year, with increased revenue and passenger spending. Infrastructure improvements featured new shops, lounges, and an electrified express rail service. They also showed impressive resilience to limit operational disruption and the communications challenge following the major car park fire in October, and have kept focus to deliver strong operational enhancements throughout the year.

Highly commended: Brussels Airport

Best Airport Award: 25-40 million passengers

Winner: Avinor Oslo Airport

Winner Oslo Airport delivered a strong operational and punctuality performance once again in 2023. They were Europe’s most punctual airport in 2022 and 2023, and have implemented an innovative baggage system, drone detection and autonomous snow removal. Judges also commended a wide-ranging approach to meeting sustainability challenges, evident in an innovative, circular economy approach to deliver on its target of achieving zero waste by 2030.

The airport is also actively contributing to third-party CO2 emissions reductions through offering Sustainable Aviation Fuel and reducing CO2 emissions through curved approaches.

Highly commended: Athens International Airport

Best airport Award: Over 40 million pasengers

Co-winners: Istanbul Airport / Rome Fiumicino Airport

Istanbul Airport was praised by judges for a strong growth story and operational performance from one of Europe’s newest airports. They have also put sustainability at the heart of their strategy – notably including plans for a solar power plant to meet all its electricity requirements. Judges noted that the winner continued to demonstrate that aggressive investment in cutting-edge airport infrastructure, alongside a supportive government, is a winning formula – creating a strong globally competitive hub that is successful at winning passengers and attracting more airlines. They excel in traffic management, embrace cutting edge technologies with a commitment to decarbonisation.

Rome Fiumicino Airport has snatched this prestigious recognition for the third year in a row– showing a strong recovery in traffic in 2023, with innovative business developments, seamless multimodality, and pioneering urban air mobility initiatives. They also showed an impressively ambitious approach to meeting sustainability goals, setting itself a target of becoming net-zero by 2030 through a comprehensive series of initiatives that are already delivering notable results.

Highly commended: Heathrow Airport

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