ACI Europe unveils winners of this year’s Best Airport Awards

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Airports Council International Europe has announced the winners of its 2022 Best Airport Awards.

The awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement across the entire portfolio of airport activities. ACI Europe said that this year’s awards had been characterized by the many ways in which airports are recovering after the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing focus on sustainability-related achievements.

This year’s judging panel comprised representatives from the European Commission, EUROCONTROL, SESAR Joint Undertaking, the International Transport Forum and ECAC. Eco-Innovation Award submissions were held to scrutiny by the Advisory Board of Airport Carbon Accreditation.

Under five million passengers category
The award for the ‘under five million passengers’ category went to both La Palma Airport, Canary Islands, for resilience not only during the Covid-19 crisis but also during the Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption, and Torino Airport, Italy, for its significant recovery post-pandemic and the work on innovation and sustainability.

5-10 million passengers category
The ‘5-10 million passengers’ award went to Valencia Airport, Spain. The jury especially highlighted the significant operations put in place to cope with the pandemic measures, including cargo traffic and medical flights. Valencia Airport is also a SAF pioneer, being a test airport for Aena’s collaboration with BP. Eindhoven Airport, Netherlands, was also highly commended in this category.

10-25 million passengers category
This year’s award in the 10-25 million passengers category was given to Porto Airport, Portugal. The airport was praised for its impressive recovery from the pandemic and its plan focusing on fighting climate change, which engaged both the airport and its stakeholders. Very committed to the local community and the region, the airport has implemented initiatives such as rainwater collection, the reduction in water footprint and organic waste collection to a nearby waste park.

25-40 million passengers category
The winner of the 25-40 million passengers category was Vienna International Airport, Austria. The airport took the opportunity, initially forced by the pandemic, to modernize and innovate. Terminal 2 was redesigned and reopened, and the Vienna Lounge was renovated, introducing “smart lounges” and sleeping pods available for passengers inside the airport. The airport’s commitments on sustainability also received praise, as Vienna airport plans to become carbon neutral by 2023 and net zero by 2035. Athens Airport, Greece, was also highly commended in this category.

Over 40 million passengers category
This year’s award in the over 40 million passengers category went to Rome Fiumicino Airport, Italy, in recognition of its leadership position among the continent’s hubs. Rome Fiumicino has led on the innovation plan this year, with the opening of a new APOC, but also a new SAF facility, making it the first Italian airport to offer SAF. The Roman hub is also the leader on sustainability, being the first European airport to achieve Level 4+ of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program. iGA Istanbul Grand Airport, Turkey, was also highly commended for this award.

Digital transformation award
ACI Europe partnered with the SESAR Joint Undertaking to set up the Digital Transformation Award. This year’s winner is London City Airport, UK, recognized as a pioneer for deploying the Digital ATC Tower, a SESAR solution, in such a large airport. The project has been achieved in the course of only four years. It has been possible thanks to the airport’s close collaboration with NATS and SAAB, but also UK CAA, airlines and local communities. A true example of a successful common effort.

Eco-innovation award
The Eco-Innovation Award recognizes airports’ outstanding environmental initiatives and is presented in association with Airport Carbon Accreditation. This year’s Eco-Innovation Award went jointly to Bristol Airport, UK, and iGA Istanbul Grand Airport, which both submitted their projects in the category of Climate Change.

Bristol Airport’s project was the Low Emission Turnaround trial with easyJet as part of its Strategic Sustainability Partnership. Bristol’s objective “to show carbon savings can be achieved without compromising operational efficiency” was a notable starting point, given the challenge of reducing scope 3 emissions.

Simon Earles, sustainability and corporate affairs director, Bristol Airport said, “We are delighted to be recognized by ACI and winning the Eco-Innovation award. This award supports our long-term sustainability strategy and is another example of demonstrating our commitment to addressing climate change.

“This award is such an incredible achievement and is recognition to the teams and partners collaborating and making a significance change to aircraft ground operations. The teams at easyJet, Bristol Airport and our partners, including DHL, TCR, ITW, and Up and Away, worked tirelessly to get this initiative from inception to reality and reduced aircraft turnaround emissions. I am extremely proud of our efforts, and we are receiving this award on behalf of all teams involved. It’s another step on our way to becoming one of the UK’s most sustainable airports. Sustainability is at the heart of Bristol Airport and everyone’s collective involvement and is testament to our team’s commitment and recognition in managing, reducing and offsetting carbon dioxide emissions under our control.”

iGA Istanbul Grand Airport on the other hand submitted a project of IoT technology as a tool in managing and optimizing processes and decision-making. Environmental co-benefits included the real-time data referring to airport-wide sustainability.

Human resources excellence award
The ACI Europe Human Resources Excellence Award was created to recognize both individuals and human resources departments who have demonstrated excellent leadership and human resources management. The objective of this annual award – now in its third year – is to give exposure to innovative examples that will help the airport community to better assess and implement the new procedures and skills needed to develop the industry’s workforce.

This year’s Human Resources Excellence Award went to iGA Istanbul Grand Airport, for the overall strategy and many initiatives implemented during the second year of Covid-19 pandemic and its recovery. A cornerstone of the strategy was regular employee meetings and listening carefully to their feedback and their needs. A ‘Pandemic Board’ has also been established, in close collaboration with the board of directors, to produce fast and effective solutions for urgent incidents.

World business partner award
This award recognizes an ACI Europe World Business Partner, either individual or company, who has made a significant contribution to the airport industry. This work comes through active participation in committees, sharing of best practices and experience, research and special initiatives.

This year’s winner is David Feldman, managing partner at Exambela Consulting. The winner has been an active member of ACI Europe since 2010, showing over the years particular engagement within activities such as committee meetings, conferences and policy advice.

Special award
The special award was given to Emanuel Fleuti, head of sustainability and environment at Zurich Airport. The judges praised his “outstanding leadership in advancing Airport Carbon Accreditation and airport sustainability”.

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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