Krakow Airport: Exceeding customer expectations despite COVID-19 challenges

Guest Author by Guest Author | Mar 4, 2021

Written by Natalia Vince, Press Officer, Krakow Airport

Kraków Airport is the only regional airport in Poland to have served 8 million passengers per year before the coronavirus pandemic. Located 11 km from the popular tourist city of Kraków, Kraków Airport has access to the capital of Małopolska’s road and rail network. The airport is of key importance for south-eastern Poland. The mission of the company Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków – Balice sp. z o.o. is to implement its vision by conducting business based on the principles of sustainable development, in particular innovation, caring for the safety and satisfaction of customers and passengers, fair market and operational practices, as well as the personal development and satisfaction of airport staff.

A strong customer experience focus

Kraków Airport looks at corporate social responsibility as an integral part of strategic management and is the first regional airport in Poland to regularly publish sustainability reports based on an international standard of non-financial reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative.

The Airport keeps working to improve the quality of services and passenger experience, listens to passengers’ needs and monitors feedback from those travelling to and from Kraków. Ever since 2007, Kraków Airport has conducted a regular survey of passenger satisfaction as part of the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme run by Airports Council International (ACI), which gives us an overview of the most important needs of passengers. We are happy to see that our analysis of passengers’ suggestions and the consistent implementation of improvements has translated into a growth in positive feedback from travellers. Kraków Airport is taking steps to improve the quality of passenger service, which sometimes involves reaching for unconventional solutions such as relaxation exercise sessions run by personal coaches, or the hiring of Zen, a border collie, to help all those with a fear of flying to reduce stress – a measure widely covered by the media. Our nap zones and entertainment areas have also been very popular with travellers.

 We also have wall-mounted touch panels in place in the passenger terminal for real-time measurement of customer satisfaction. Happy or Not consoles are located throughout the terminal, in key areas which determine the quality of passenger service e.g.  toilet cleanliness, waiting time for security check and the time of baggage delivery upon arrival. Kraków Airport’s efforts have been appreciated abroad, which is confirmed by the ASQ Awards 2016 in the Best Improvement category, awarded by Airport Council International in 2017 for the improvement of customer service quality, and a UBM nomination for World Routes Marketing Awards in 2017. Kraków Airport is one of the first airports in Poland to have received the ACI Airport Customer Experience accreditation twice, and in 2020 it received the ACI Airport Health Accreditation, which confirms how well the airport is prepared to handle passengers safely under the new sanitary regime.

COVID 19 and the challenges ahead

March 2020 and the start of the global pandemic ushered in new challenges for Kraków Airport. We needed to prepare the terminal quickly and effectively for new sanitary regulations outlined by aviation organizations and the government.

Kraków Airport was one of the first airports in Poland to sign the Aviation Industry Charter for COVID-19, spearheaded and prepared by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The main objective of the Charter is for air operators and airport managers to practice and promote new safety rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The award in the Best Airport by Size and Region category is a unique distinction for our airport. In spite of the significant reduction in passenger traffic, Kraków Airport keeps working to consistently raise the bar and improve the quality of services provided to passengers. We are all the more pleased that Kraków Airport is at the forefront of the best European airports serving 5-15 million passengers per year. Despite the many restrictions that have to be met by #flyKRK and Małopolska travellers, our passengers have rated their satisfaction with our services very high, which is very motivating for future work.

I would like to thank the entire Kraków Airport team for their excellent everyday work to keep passengers and everyone working at the airport safe, and for responding to the many challenges instantly and effectively at this extremely difficult time of the pandemic. My thanks go also to all services cooperating with the airport for their excellent work.

Radosław Włoszek, President of the Board of Kraków Airport

Response, recovery, and the way forward

Kraków Airport is still a business and tourist gateway to Kraków and Małopolska, and the pandemic must not hinder its most important investments.

The Master Plan for Kraków Airport sets out directions for the airport’s development over the next twenty years. Kraków Airport plans to continue investing in infrastructure development. Further modernization of the airport will be founded on the construction of a new runway, and expansion of the passenger terminal and cargo terminal. The development of the airport will create over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and it will result in economic growth for Małopolska and Kraków. Of course, at a time of the biggest ever crisis of the aviation industry, we do need to take into account that implementation schedules of individual investments will have to be adjusted based on the forecasted growth of passenger traffic.

Today, the priority of the entire aviation industry is to work together to restore confidence in flying and convince people to start travelling by air again.

The process of market revival will be based on cooperation of the whole industry, tourism organizations, and governments to develop common, global, and uniform travel standards.

The article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

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