Edinburgh Airport performed well in the survey
Edinburgh Airport performed well in the survey

Surprising result for Scotland’s best airport

Scotland’s favourite airport has been revealed – and it’s probably not the one you were expecting.

Results from the latest Which? Travel airport survey have been revealed, and while Edinburgh and Glasgow both have large and popular airports, it’s a point further north which is the top in Scotland.

Inverness earned the highest customer score of the four Scottish airports included in the survey – with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – despite being the smallest, earning a 68 per cent customer score. Those surveyed said it ‘operated well’ and was ‘pleasant’ and ‘friendly’.

The survey was carried out between April and May, recording 11,265 member experiences of UK airports they have used in the past year. 777 passenger experiences involved the Scottish airports used in this release.

A minimum 30 experiences were needed to be included in the survey.

Inverness Airport general manager, Graeme Bell, said: ‘A big thank you must go to our hardworking team who continually deliver the best possible customer experience without them, we would not have received this recognition. Being rated by our customers as the best airport in Scotland recognises the hard work and dedication from all our staff, who ensure our airport meets the high standards and service expectations of our passengers. Our teams go out of their way to keep Scotland moving, often during unsociable hours and challenging conditions.

‘This is a real vote of confidence for Inverness Airport and further proof that the airport is continuing to go from strength to strength, with new routes improving connectivity and increasing passenger numbers each year. As a vital driver for the region and the Highlands and Islands economy.

‘Our commitment to constant improvement and passenger comfort has seen significant improvements to the terminal facilities which include new catering and retail spaces and upgrades to our passenger lounges. We also recently invested in a new Changing Places facility, to improve accessibility for visitors and locals with additional needs, and have launched a lanyard scheme to discretely support travellers with hidden additional needs. We are proud to have been named as one of the UK’s top six most accessible airports for passengers with reduced mobility by the Civil Aviation Authority.’

Customer score is based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely respondents were to recommend the airport to a friend.

Edinburgh International airport, which handles over 12 million passengers a year, is the largest airport in Scotland and scored a middle of the road 59 per cent.

However, when Which? compared this to other high-capacity airports, Edinburgh was rated the fourth best in the UK after Heathrow T5, Birmingham and Heathrow Terminal 3 in the large airport category.

Passengers praised the lack of queues and the ample seating. They did have gripes about the baggage reclaim and the charges for picking up and dropping off at the airport.

In fact, this was a common complaint at most airports, with passengers describing these extra charges for dropping off or picking up loved ones a ‘money grabbing exercise’ and likening it to ‘racketeering’.

Edinburgh Airport performed well in the survey

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: ‘It’s always good to be ranked at the top end of the scale and comes just a few weeks after being named Scottish Airport of the Year so we’re clearly doing something right for those 13.4 million passengers who come through the airport every year.

‘Aviation is a team game and there are many different partners involved in this Team Edinburgh approach which is why we continue to work with the on-site baggage handlers on improvement while drop-off fees are reinvested in the airport infrastructure – we are also one of the only major UK airports to offer a free pick up and drop off area, something we are committed to maintaining.

‘The discussions we have with our passengers allow us to gain immediate and personal feedback so we can focus our attention on those areas. And we’ll continue to add more destinations and more choice for our passengers and open up the world to Scotland.’

Glasgow International scored a respectable 63 per cent. Serving just under 10 million passengers a year it’s included in the ‘Small airports’ table for the whole of the UK. If it served over 10 million passengers it would be considered one of the best of the ‘large airports’ table. Customers told Which? that their experience had been ‘seamless’ and ‘quick’.

Glasgow Airport had a good report in the Which? survey

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: ‘Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and the team works incredibly hard to make sure they each enjoy a pleasant and memorable journey through the airport, so this positive feedback is welcome news.’

The survey placed Aberdeen International Airport as the worst airport in Scotland for the last four years running.

Passengers who used the airport panned its lack of seating, limited range of shops and food outlets and the long waits at baggage reclaim – all earning the airport the lowest rating of one star and a paltry overall customer score of 49 per cent.

One passenger went as far as to say they thought its ‘international title is a joke’ and that the airport has ‘never kept up with expansion’.

However, a spokesman for Aberdeen Airport explained they are currently making huge changes at the facility.

She said: ‘“The airport was in the midst of the £20 million terminal transformation project when the survey was undertaken, where we have since opened new retail facilities and a vastly improved security search area.

‘We have invested heavily in airport improvements since we launched the project back in 2016. We’re dedicated to improving the airport experience for our passengers, and with this in mind, we have upgraded our international and domestic baggage reclaim facilities, as well as new immigration and arrivals areas.

‘The feedback we’ve received from passengers has been overwhelmingly positive, and are looking forward to opening some of the elements of the next phase of our terminal project in September. We are aiming to have completed the project by autumn 2019, which will have increased the size of the terminal by 50%, with 90% of the entire airport transformed.’

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor said: ‘Whether it’s for business or pleasure, for most Scots their trip starts when they get to the airport, but long queues and poor facilities can really put a dampener on your getaway.

‘With new routes to and from Scotland launching all the time, passengers have an increasing choice over not just who they fly with but where they fly from. And, it’s clear that some airports will need to improve or risk people taking their business elsewhere.’