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EU Airports among the World’s Worst

Lisbon - one of the worst according to a survey by AirHelp

(Image - W.Rebel, Wikimedia Commons)

Eight of the world’s ten worst airports are located in the EU, according to a new survey released by a leading passenger rights group last week.

According to a report in Euractive News, an online news agency, just three of the top ten airports are in EU countries. Airports in France, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and the UK are among the world’s worst for on-time performance, services and shops.

AirHelp, a group that claims to be the world’s leading specialist in passenger rights, asked the opinions of 40,000 travellers and gave a ranking that took into account official flight data. AirHelp’s survey placed Portugal’s Lisbon as the worst of the 132 airports surveyed, scoring just 5.7 points from a possible ten. Eindhoven Airport came in at 130, Bucharest 129, Malta’s Luqa 128, Manchester a lowly 127, Paris Orly 126, Porto (also in Portugal) 125 and London Gatwick was only ranked at 123.

On-time performance was given a 60% weighting for the overall score, while services, food and shops were weighted 20% each. AirHelp decided only to survey what are considered ‘popular’ airports and ones for which enough data could be collected.

The ranking also crowned the best airport in the world, Qatar’s Hamad International (left: image metalresources via Wikimedia Commons), which won for the second year running.

Only three of the top ten are EU airports: Athens came third (down one from 2018), Gdansk in Poland fifth and Tenerife North was placed ninth. One result that might prove a surprise for the EU’s hierarchy was Brussels’ primary airport at Zaventem being placed some way below the secondary airport of Charleroi. The low-fare carrier airport managed to secure 14th place overall, thanks to a respectable on-time score, while Zaventem didn’t even manage to get in to the top 100, coming in at 115.

Aviation experts commented that because on-time performance counts so much for the overall score, it is not unsurprising that airports like Hamad, Athens and Tenerife placed so highly, as weather delays do not normally play a significant factor because of their locations. One airline source however expressed surprise at the Spanish island being placed so highly, revealing that they had ‘diverted more times than landed there’ due to difficult weather conditions and the airport being located at the bottom of a valley. Poor weather conditions accounted for an absence of US representation in the top ten, as meteorological-based delays are a common problem in many of the States’ main hubs. Atlanta was the USA’s highest at 34.

AirHelp CEO Henrik Zillmer said that congestion and long queues also counted against some of the world’s most well-known airports, many of which are struggling to adapt to increasing passenger numbers. The number of kilometres travelled by air in the EU for example, has surged by 60% since 2005 and the upward trend is only expected to continue, according to a report earlier this year on aviation’s environmental impact. A recent report by EU data compiler Eurostat revealed that one out of every six transport trips made by EU citizens in 2017 was by air, some 218 million journeys out of a total 1.3 billion.

Above - Athens (Image:Eric Salard, Wikimedia Commons)

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