ACCC airport report: Brisbane Airport only one with ‘good’ service

Brisbane Airport has topped the class for service for the 11th year in a row. Photo: Glenn HuntAustralia’s four biggest airports are making more money but delivering worse service than 10 years ago, the national consumer watchdog has found.

But in good news for Queensland travellers, Brisbane Airport was singled out as the only hub to receive a service rating of “good” in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Airport Monitoring Report for 2013-14.

The finding comes on the heels of Brisbane Airport being named as the 20th best in the world and best in Australia in the latest Skytrax World Airport Awards.

Brisbane Airport Corporation head of corporate relations Rachel Crowley said it was the 11th year in a row Brisbane had topped the class for service.

“What’s nice about this as well as the Skytrax ranking is they’re voted for in part at least by customers, by passengers, and that means a great deal to us,” she said.

The ACCC’s ratings come from a mix of customer and airline responses, and objective data.

While the news was good for “overall average quality of service”, another measure of service quality, aeronautical quality of service, was less promising.

The rating, which includes aeronautical, aircraft and passenger related services and facilities and management responsiveness but doesn’t take car parking or landside services and facilities into account, dropped from good to satisfactory in 2010-11 and has stayed put since.

“Despite some significant investment, the monitored airports have continued to generate substantial revenue and profitability increases, yet we are not seeing any substantial increases in the overall average quality of service indicators at these airports,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“In fact, service quality at all monitored airports has declined over the past decade, despite higher unit revenues at all airports.”

Ms Crowley said more investment in aeronautical facilities had spurred the growth in revenue.

“We’re then very happy that during a period of very significant passenger growth we’ve managed to deliver consistently satisfying customer service for passengers,” she said.

“At times there will be pressure points when growth can, for a short period, outstrip facilities but by and large we’re very happy.”

Parking charges, one of the most-maligned aspects of air travel, didn’t escape the ACCC’s attention.

The report noted prices had increased across the board.

Brisbane’s short-term parking was the second cheapest of the four but its long-term option was the most expensive at $43 a day or $143 for a week. Sydney Airport made the most profit from its car parking operation.

Ms Crowley said the higher charges were because Brisbane’s long-term parking was a “more expensive product” than the other airports, being directly across from the terminal and fully covered.

She said the airport wouldn’t rest on its laurels and planned to invest about $3.8 billion in facilities over the next decade.

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