Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport: A taste of Europe

Guest Author by Guest Author | Aug 12, 2020

Editor’s Note from ACI: In early March 2020, ACI announced the winners of this year’s ASQ Awards. Since then, the impact and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the global airport industry to a standstill. The ASQ Awards recognize those airports that listen and respond to the voice of passengers. As the industry begins to restart and plan for recovery, it will be even more important for airports to listen, understand, and responds to the changing needs and expectations of their customers.

Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, in which the name recalls a unique Renaissance artist and whose Vitruvian Man’s statue is the airports official symbol – serves Rome, the capital of Italy, located in the Latium Region, a large and wealthy market of approximately 6 million inhabitants. Rome hosts many international organizations such as the Food & Agricultural Organization and is a major touristic destination.

Aeroporti di Roma, a private company, manages Fiumicino and Ciampino airports under a concession agreement granted by the Ministry of Transport till 2044.

Fiumicino Airport operates through two passenger terminals. It is dedicated to business and leisure passengers on national, international, and intercontinental routes. Last year Fiumicino Airport handled 43.5 million passengers.

The state of customer experience

European airports are operating in a very competitive environment, where a wide range of airlines – in particular low-cost carriers – and destinations offer unique opportunities of travel. Empowered passengers travelling worldwide have in mind previous experiences in other airports, Asia included, which creates a demand and particularly high standard across the industry. Passengers expect the highest standards from European airports and to experience magic moments and unique emotions when travelling. This high expectation creates new challenges for airports to achieve – enchanting passengers with unique customer experiences.

As for Leonardo da Vinci Airport, being the gateway to the eternal city of Rome and to a country that concentrates on unique treasures of art, history, and wonderful landscapes it creates a sense of responsibility, as ambassadors, to welcome our passengers and to ensure they leave Italy with positive emotions.

Airport Service Quality programmes

Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport has been participating to the Airport Service Quality survey since 2005, having access to a unique benchmark in order to compare with the best airports worldwide and to gain knowledge and inspiration towards excellence in customer service. Our approach is based on three main pillars: benchmarking, people, and an “obsession” with quality service.

Assessing our position worldwide, in our passengers’ eyes, understanding their expectations, not only at our airport but in other airports in the world, learning lessons from airports models of excellence, has been like runway lights guiding our path to deliver the highest customer experience for our passengers.

Employee involvement in the passenger experience

In order to create the best conditions to allow passengers to live a memorable customer experience, we strongly believe in the human dimension, in our people and in their personal engagement. Cultural and organizational changes were implemented to better involve our staff and allow them to feel part of the initiative. In 2016, we introduced a new job position, the Terminal Manager, for supervising of the terminal buildings. Their mission was to guarantee the image and the functionality of their area of competence, allowing them to feel and behave as if the Terminal building were their own home.

As the attitude of all airport staff impacts the customer experience, we also engaged the stakeholder’s employees through the Airport Helper initiative at our airports in 2013 which originated at Lyon Airport. The initiative includes more than 1000  Airport Helpers, belonging to many different companies and authorities to be present at the airport, offering their expertise and kindness by providing information and assistance to passengers.

The ASQ survey analysis provides useful tools as well as best practices to better understand what are the key drivers to passenger’s satisfaction worldwide regardless of location. Through a systematic and holistic approach, Aeroporti di Roma has focused on the factors that deeply influence the passenger experience, getting inspiration from the best practices deployed worldwide.

The ASQ questionnaire directly asks passengers what is most important to them. This information is analyzed by ACI World and later confirmed by our internal team to understand what our passenger expectations are and to help us better identify the key drivers to passenger satisfaction.

Airport cleanliness

Cleanliness is a clear mark of respect due to the passenger and contributes to the image of the airport. Some years ago, ADR decided to insource the cleaning activity formerly performed by different companies. Airport cleaning, a 100% owned subsidiary, was born, to take care of the cleaning activity both at terminal buildings and toilets. Involvement of people is key in any success story: being integrated in a company that offers good working conditions and carries opportunities, makes people feel safer, and happier – results in employees performing their jobs with dedication and enthusiasm.

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Check-in, airport security, and passport control

Check-in, security, and passport control happen to be high moments of stress for the passengers.

The check-in areas have been recently refurbished to facilitate way-finding, improve the ambiance and allow passengers to access to the newest available technologies.

Security control is also recognized to be a high moment of stress for passengers, in particular when travelling with family, because of this, we offer dedicated lanes for families travelling together.

New regulations to reinforce the control at borders are challenging for the airport as well as for passengers: in order to speed up the process, citizens from Europe as well as from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Taiwan, and Singapore have the opportunity to access automatic border control gates reaching nearly 50% of allowed passengers, one of the highest in the world.

Wayfinding is at the core of the passenger experience. It can be a source of stress, when done well it can also act as source of relief – clear signage makes passengers feel confident and as a result we completely replaced the sign-posting in the terminal buildings as well as curbside, in line with international standards.

Once passengers have reached the gate area and feel more relaxed, they have time to enjoy and engage in entertainment. At Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, they can easily connect to free Wi-Fi, work in dedicated areas, relax on comfortable chairs, and enjoy their time in game areas – not to forget the children areas created to meet infants’ endless imagination. We delight our passengers with exclusive services and unique shopping opportunities, offering them good value for money and gastronomic experiences served by Michelin-star chefs.

The passenger experience: Going above and beyond expectations

In December 2016, the airport opened a new international boarding area E, dedicated to extra-Schengen flights. This new area was conceived from the passenger’s perspective, creating a unique and seamless experience. This was achieved through the vast size of spaces, the originality of the architectural design, the excellence of Made in Italy products, and the quality of food, creating an infrastructure truly unique at a European level.

Future plans include a new boarding area dedicated to Schengen traffic, originally scheduled to open in June 2020 and obviously postponed further due to the COVID-19 outbreak. When officially opened, this new area will provide passengers the opportunity to live a memorable experience, with access to the newest technology such as digital way-finding and to a large choice of entertainment facilities, according to their preferences, ranging from best of Made in Italy shopping and gastronomy; and with dedicated areas for families, playgrounds, and working areas in an open air “Garden”.

What the future holds for passengers around the globe

Airports are a reflection of the country; of our culture, our population – spreading innovation and wealth to the whole community. The future of Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport requires that the airport continually evolves according to our passenger’s needs and preferences as well as putting heath and safety at the forefront due to the recent health crisis. An airport evolves with its passengers and provides solutions to a continually growing population. With this in mind, the future is seamless and responsive to travellers.

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