Istanbul Airport awarded ‘Best Airport in Europe’ by ACI

Posted: 27 October 2021 | | No comments yet

At the 17th ACI Europe Awards, Istanbul Airport has been awarded as ‘Best Airport in Europe’ and ‘Accessible Airport’ for its efforts and measures taken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Istanbul Airport awarded 'Best Airport in Europe' by ACI

Credit: Istanbul Airport (IST)

Istanbul Airport (IST) was awarded as ‘Best Airport in Europe’ and the ‘Accessible Airport’ at the 17th ACI Europe Awards, organised by the International Airports Council (ACI Europe). The measures taken by Istanbul Airport for the COVID-19 pandemic that inspired the industry, the steps that are taken for accessibility and its efforts to contribute to sustainability were appreciated.

As one of the best airports in the world and the largest airport in Europe in regards to the number of passengers, Istanbul Airport has been awarded consecutively by prestigious institutions and thanks to its proactive measures taken during the period in which the whole world was going through a major challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to its corporate resilience which is proven by unabated, continuing investments, the airport has won two more of the most prestigious awards in the industry.

Airports Council International (ACI) awarded Istanbul Airport as ‘Best Airport in Europe’ in the category of over 40 million passengers and ‘Accessible Airport’ awards, as part of the ’17th ACI Europe Awards’.

This year’s criteria: Resilience and Inspiration

ACI, which had also launched the ‘Net Zero 2050’ movement with the goal of mobilising to combat the climate crisis and decrease the carbon footprint of airports during the last period, has announced that in 2021, they are focusing on the inspiring works in the field of COVID-19 improvements and sustainability for evaluation process by adding ‘Resilience and Inspiration’ to their standard award criteria to select ‘Europe’s Best Airport’. Establishing its business model on durability in the new order, Istanbul Airport has distinguished itself by initiating decision-making mechanisms in a way that minimises the margin of error thanks to its agility.

While the aviation sector was one of the sectors in which the negative effects were felt the most during the COVID-19 pandemic that hugely challenged the world, Istanbul Airport was acknowledged for its crisis management and ensured transportation and trade continue at the optimum level possible.

Its success in accessibility was also awarded

Istanbul Airport was qualified to receive the ‘Accessible Airport’ award of the International Airports Council also with the accessibility culture and barrier-free airport concept it has created since its design stage. It drew attention with its different services, such as special passenger service points that were built on the land and airsides of the terminal, video call centre, Loud Steps, and adult changing rooms. Having met all the accessibility standards with Priority Entrance, Accessible Elevator, Vehicle Parking Points, Accessible Route, Very Special Guest Card, and Sunflower Lanyard, Istanbul Airport was also recognised for setting an example in the sector thanks to the special services it provides above standards, the awareness it has raised, and also for adopting the ‘everyone has the right to travel’ principle.

The awards were presented to the Chief Executive Officer of iGA Istanbul Airport , Kadri Samsunlu, at a ceremony held on 26 October 2021, as part of the ACI Europe Annual Congress & General Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The CEO of iGA Istanbul Airport, Kadri Samsunlu, was elected to the ACI Europe Governing Board.

At the ACI Europe Annual Congress & General Assembly, Samsunlu was elected as a member of the Governing Board within the scope of the quota reserved for the ten largest airports in Europe. Samsunlu, who took his place as the first and only board member from Turkey among ten airports, stated that they took firm steps forward without deviating from their sustainability goals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mentioning the plan to have net zero emissions in all operations by 2050, Samsunlu stated that strengthening ACI’s relationship with the Turkish aviation sector at all levels and easing travel restrictions are among the prioritised targets during his term.

We have led the way with our works and built trust”

In his speech at the award ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of iGA Istanbul Airport, Kadri Samsunlu drew attention to the measures taken, during the COVID-19 pandemic that steered the sector. “When the pandemic started, we were an airport that had the capacity of serving 200 thousand passengers a day during the first year, and continued rapidly on this path. During a time when only cargo flights and evacuation operations continued and flights could not be made, we did not say ‘oh well, these are the conditions,’ and stood still. We looked for ways to welcome our passengers in a healthier and safer manner, and to provide our employees with a safe working environment. With our efforts, we have led the way to enable people to return to their old flight habits, and we have built trust. In the future, we aim to expand our service scope regarding ‘Accessible Route’, to excel in our services by continuing our airport experience studies with different disability groups, and to make the applications we have implemented for a more accessible world widespread.

“We are delighted to have received the ‘Europe’s Best Airport’ and ‘Accessible Airport’ awards and to able to share this well-deserved honour with our entire team. The awards will reinforce our motivation and contribute to the realisation of our many efforts that will inspire the industry,” added Samsunlu.

In his celebratory speech about the achievements of Istanbul Airport, Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe General Director said: “During these extraordinary and difficult times our industry has found itself in, Istanbul Airport showed great endurance by focusing on investments and infrastructure. The fact they have won not one, but two awards with the ‘Best Airport Award’ and the ‘Accessible Airport’ Reward, is a telltale sign of how they maintained their unmatched hospitality towards their passengers while not giving up on their long-term goals for their business and community. I am more than happy to witness the celebration of their two achievements. I am looking forward to seeing what this innovative and exciting airport will achieve in the future.”

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