Transportation

Free the buses

We need to push bus market liberalisation further.

One of the EU’s common transport policy principles is the freedom to provide services in the field of transport. This freedom includes access to international transport markets for all EU carriers without discrimination on the grounds of nationality or place of establishment. The second Mobility Pack is encouraging the liberalisation of the inter-city bus market. Therefore, it is attempting to replicate that which has been a success in countries like Germany (and subsequently France after the Macron labour reforms).

In Germany, the coach usage has sextupled between 2012 and 2016, while ticket prices are simultaneously falling from €0.11 to €0.089 per kilometre in the same period, with discount prices going down from €0.05 to €0.036 per kilometre. This evolution is crucial for the development of improved transport services, and most importantly, for the living standards low-income households. The competition of buses in the inter-city transport business has increased competition between air travel, rail, and car-sharing, to the extent that consumers see themselves with increased choices and reduced prices on all fronts. Instead of giving in to interest groups in one sector or the other, which profit from restricted market access, allowing for the competition is the real way to improve consumer services quality.

Protecting a local provider for the sake of protectionism would negate the spirit of free trade within the Single Market. This will ultimately be the challenge if liberalisation of the coach market is settled as a desirable goal by the EU: market entry costs will be crucial in determining if the system works. Allowing for bus travel between city A and B is all well-intended. Still, suppose city B requires a special permit, paid in the local currency and subject to administrative approval. In that case, we’ll soon find ourselves once again with increased prices in favour of a state-owned rail company or a subsidised airline. Market entry costs cannot only be unfairly advantageous to local providers but may very well turn against them. Large coach-providers have the capabilities to comply with local market regulations and figure out rules and regulations, while small start-ups might not be able to do the same. 

Once again, market-entry costs would then limit the supply and give a specific provider preferential treatment. In the interest of the consumers, member states should commit to liberalise the routes and make it easy for new companies to enter the market and compete on it.

Bus transport providers will be aware that price increases will experience the market’s price-elastic nature, meaning that consumers respond swiftly to higher prices. This is, of course, related to the fact that the market provides alternatives such as air travel, car sharing, rail, or simply using your car. The fact that all options remain on the table is crucial for the price development in this sector.

As long as local regulators respect this principle, the fear that the current market landscape, or even a more concentrated market in which a handful of companies take over their competitors, would become predatory, is doubtful. In this instance, consumer choice isn’t only an argument of principle for the freedom of consumers. Still, it represents a guarantee against a market controlled by a handful of people or companies.

Ultimately, bus market liberalisation means that consumers can travel more efficiently and cheaply than ever before. It offers low-income households the opportunity to benefit from the same opportunities as everyone else. It helps reduce social inequality. 

However, challenges remain even as liberalisation progresses. Not all member states are on top of their game when it comes to reducing barriers, so more is left to be done to reach a fully integrated single transport market.

Originally published here.

Airlines need to be held accountable for reimbursements

Consumers are entitled to receive reimbursements, especially because of bailouts.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of EU member states were asking for changes to ticket cancellation policy rules, effectively exempting airlines from refunding their customers. As it stands, airlines have a week to fully refund their customers for cancelled flights. Additional compensation rules apply for long delays and other inconveniences. When consumers book flights, they anticipate these protections to be upheld.

Consumers who have purchased tickets at a precise moment in time did so under existing rules and regulations. The European Union cannot retroactively change these policies — this is a rule of law issue above all else. Consumers should not be forced to pay for the poor bookmaking of airline companies. COVID-19 is undoubtedly a disaster for airline companies, but that doesn’t mean that the obligation to refund consumers should be willed away by the stroke of a pen. It’s also important to point out the incredible hypocrisy on the part of policymakers. 

EU policymakers spent most of 2019 lecturing consumers about flights, and are now rigging the rules of commerce for the benefit of airline companies. It is outrageous that airline companies are getting special treatment when hotel and event bookings are not. Retroactively changing the terms of a contract is a severe blow to consumer trust and consumer protection. This move decimates the consumer trust in existing and incoming protections entirely and puts a question mark of the actual authority of law-makers.

The refund mechanism has since been sped up by many airlines, but mostly because billions in bailouts have been transferred all throughout spring and summer. Some airlines are going to receive additional funds as lockdowns and travel restrictions continue. In that context, airlines also need to be held to their word when it comes to refund policies.

That said, compensation policies aren’t what consumers need. Passengers can expect compensation for their flight cancellation, between €250 and €600 depending on the length of their route. This has been the reason for significant disputes and has proven to make neither companies nor passengers happy.

This compensation scheme is a government-mandated insurance policy, which increases the price of the ticket, despite passengers not wanting generalised insurances. How can I say that with confidence? It suffices to take a look at how many people conclude voluntary travel insurances upon checkout. The result of the compensation scheme has been long court battles, in which passengers rightfully demand the funds that they were promised. The procedures here are too costly for consumers to engage in them themselves, but resorting to large law firms leaves them with only a percentage of their expected compensation. While the policy sounds good in theory, it doesn’t work in practice. Instead, private travel insurances give consumers better leeway to act. 

However, while compensation rules can be controversial (and do not apply in cases of natural disasters), it seems fair and just that passengers are reimbursed for flights they did not get to take. This is not an argument from a David vs. Goliath perspective of the big company vs. the small consumer, but rather from the principle of contract law — i.e. rendering the service.

As I wrote in a letter to airline CEOs back in June:

“We want to be in the air with you as soon as possible, but please do your part and commit to the rule of law and don’t force us to bring you to court. Hundreds of millions of taxpayers across the world are already helping you through government bailouts. We do our part to advocate for fewer levies and taxes paid on airfares and against silly bans of domestic flights, like the ban being discussed in France right now. This will make the sector more competitive and will allow us, consumers, to fly more with you.”

Originally published here.

Sindicato quer que Ford reverta demissões

Automóveis.Foto: divulgação

O Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de Taubaté e Região (Sindmetau) quer que a Ford reveja a decisão de fechar as fábricas no Brasil e mantenha os empregos. Segundo o presidente do Sindicato, Claudio Batista, os trabalhadores foram “pegos de surpresa” com a decisão anunciada ontem.

“O sindicato vai fazer toda luta necessária para tentar reverter essa situação”, disse Batista. De acordo com ele, os 830 funcionários da fábrica em Taubaté tinham estabilidade no emprego até o fim de 2021, devido a um acordo de redução de jornada e salários feito no ano passado, em razão da Cvid-19. A unidade da montadora na cidade está há 53 anos de atividade.

A Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores (Anfavea) evitou comentar diretamente as razões e os impactos do fechamento das fábricas no Brasil.

“A Anfavea não vai comentar sobre o tema. Trata-se de uma decisão estratégica global de uma das nossas associadas. Respeitamos e lamentamos”, disse a entidade em nota.

No entanto, a associação comentou que os custos de produção têm afetado as montadoras no país. “Isso corrobora o que a entidade vem alertando há mais de um ano, sobre a ociosidade da indústria (local e global) e a falta de medidas que reduzam o Custo Brasil”.

Já a Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (Fiesp) insiste que a alta carga tributária é um dos fatores que dificulta a manutenção da produção industrial no país. “A Fiesp tem alertado sobre a necessidade de se implementar uma agenda que reduza o Custo Brasil, melhore o ambiente de negócios e aumente a competitividade dos produtos brasileiros. Isso não é apenas discurso. É a realidade enfrentada pelas empresas”, disse, em nota, a federação.

Para Fabio Fernandes, diretor global de Relações Institucionais e Governamentais da entidade de defesa do consumidor Consumer Choice Center, apesar da decisão da Ford de fechar suas fábricas no Brasil impactar os consumidores, não há razão para desespero.

“O fechamento das fábricas da Ford no Brasil segue uma tendência mundial de queda na venda de veículos que foi drasticamente acentuada em 2020 em decorrência da pandemia. O setor automotivo enfrentou uma série de transformações tecnológicas nos últimos anos, e os consumidores estão mais exigentes e conscientes dessas mudanças, o que tem obrigado as empresas tradicionais a reestruturarem os seus negócios. O problema, é que os ciclos de produtos na indústria automotiva são, de pelo menos, cinco anos, e as mudanças estão acontecendo mais rápido do que a capacidade das empresas de acompanhar”, disse Fernandes.

“Os consumidores brasileiros não têm nada com que se preocupar no médio prazo. Os proprietários dos modelos que serão descontinuados, terão acesso a manutenção, peças e mais importante à garantia. O fabricante é obrigado a manter a oferta de peças de reposição mesmo com o fim da produção dos modelos por um prazo razoável, e acreditamos que esse tempo seja de, pelo menos, mais 15 anos”.

“Além do mais, o anúncio da Ford é para o fechamento das fábricas no Brasil e não para as concessionárias. A marca continuará a vender carros no país e inclusive anunciou novos modelos que chegarão ao mercado. O consumidor no final terá acesso à um produto mais internacional”.

Originally published here.

Europe’s Year of Rail should be about competition

We need more rail competition through private competition.

The European Parliament recently approved 2021 to be the European Year of Rail, to promote rail as a sustainable and viable alternative to air travel or use a car. 

European Commissioner for Transport Vălean said: “Our future mobility needs to be sustainable, safe, comfortable and affordable. Rail offers all of that and much more! The European Year of Rail gives us the opportunity to re-discover this mode of transport. Through a variety of actions, we will use this occasion to help rail realise its full potential. I invite all of you to be part of the European Year of Rail.”

However, while the European Union’s promotion of rail might be laudable, actual policy changes need to follow suit. In too many member states, incumbent state rail actors receive preferential treatment, either through years of subsidisation or through continued state participation. Europe is far from having a real free market in the rail sector, which leads to higher prices and more and more antiquated networks.

Rail privatisation would bring far greater efficiency to the transport of cargo, while also improving domestic passenger services, bringing lower fares and greater choice. In the Czech Republic, for example, the entrepreneur Leoš Novotný created Leo Express, a private rail company which is attempting to drive Czech trains into the 21st century. 

In Germany, however, things have started to change. Federal states are now offering regional rail traffic to the best bidder. It’s not the ideal solution, but it has enabled prices to drop, even for the main provider Deutsch Bahn.

Many fear that rail privatisations lead to price gouging, yet there is little evidence for this. In the United Kingdom there has been, since 1995, only a 2.7 per cent increase in the average cost of a single journey. If you bear in mind that today’s trains run faster, have air-conditioning and loos that people actually don’t mind using, then ‘gouging’ is something of an overstatement.

Another viable alternative is the Italian model.

After several directives between the 1980s and the 1990s, the most important of which was the Directive 440/91/EC, several positive changes have occurred in the European Union. Between 2001 and 2016, the EU approved four legislative packages aiming at gradually opening up rail transport service market to competition, defining passengers’ rights about minimum quality standards, making national railway systems interoperable, and defining appropriate framework conditions for the development of a single European railway area. The Italian legislation enforcing these directives was not easy to implement, as in other European countries. Still, Italy was the first member state that proved successful in opening the HSR market to competition.

The new regime of competition began in April 2012, when the private company, Italo (managed by Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori), entered the market. The existing rail incumbent at that time, Frecciarossa, managed by Trenitalia, was wholly owned and operated by the national railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, a conglomerate holding of the railway sector including service, infrastructure, and transportation of goods, as required by European legislation concerning the separation between the infrastructure manager and the service operator.

As a result, we’ve seen a reduction in ticket prices of 41%, paired with an increase in demand of 90%. This makes Italy one of the best countries for high-speed rail use.

We can make viable changes to the European network, but we should refrain from believing that government investment alone can make this happen. On the contrary, we should look to the private sector to provide the means to reach our sustainable transport objectives.

Originally published here.

Réglementation sur les créneaux horaires dans l’aviation: la concurrence doit primer

La Commission européenne a encore une fois prolongé la dérogation à la réglementation des créneaux horaires. Applaudie comme étant une aide au secteur, cette dérogation garantit encore une fois l’avantage aux entreprises établies leur permettant de contourner la concurrence. Comment est-ce que le secteur aérien peut s’améliorer si à chaque crise nous dépensons l’argent du contribuable pour le sauver.

Le secteur aérien distribue une partie des créneaux horaires commes des réservations de route. Ceci s’applique de façon générale aux aéroports les plus utilisés. Par exemple, la compagnie X réserve un aller-retour depuis un aéroport et sera contrainte par cette réservation. Cela veut dire que l’avion devra partir, même s’il n’y a pas de passagers, afin de garantir la place de la compagnie sur ce créneau horaire. Ceci provoque ce qu’on a nommé des “ghost flights” (vols fantômes), où les compagnies envoient des avions vides afin de ne pas perdre leur place. Cette réglementation avait été créée afin d’éviter une concentration dans le secteur aérien. A titre d’exemple, une compagnie pourrait réserver tous les créneaux disponibles dans un aéroport spécifique (si elle a le cashflow nécessaire), afin d’empêcher toute concurrence.

Au début de la crise du COVID-19, la Commission européenne avait décidé d’une dérogation à cette réglementation. A court terme, ceci fût une bonne décision. Par contre, une nouvelle extension de la dérogation est un non-sens, car la concurrence, même si amoindrie par la pandémie, existe tout de même. Les créneaux horaires des aéroports sont rares, et c’est pourquoi ils sont si précieux et doivent être utilisés de la manière la plus efficace possible. Bien que conçue  par de nobles objectifs, la politique de la Commission implique que les compagnies aériennes sont les seules propriétaires des créneaux horaires.

La dérogation actuelle à l’obligation de voler n’expirera qu’en mars 2021. De nombreuses associations ont demandé à la Commission de prolonger la dérogation “pour éviter que des avions vides ne volent” ainsi qu’afin que  “les vols soient effectués de la manière la plus optimale possible pour éviter de la pollution inutile”. Toutefois, la prolongation créerait une situation dans laquelle les plus grandes compagnies aériennes auraient la possibilité de monopoliser les créneaux horaires, rendant impossible l’entrée des plus petites. Cela explique pourquoi les compagnies à bas prix comme Wizz Air s’opposent à la prolongation à cette dérogation, la qualifiant d’anticoncurrentielle et que “cela entraverait plutôt que n’aiderait à la reprise de l’industrie aéronautique de l’UE et, par conséquent, des économies européennes”. 

Si la Commission n’a certainement pas l’intention de protéger les grandes compagnies aériennes en renonçant à l’obligation de détenir des créneaux horaires, c’est cependant une conséquence évidente de cette décision. La propriété des créneaux horaires dans les aéroports ne devrait pas être statique. Au contraire, elle devrait faire l’objet d’une rotation constante entre les compagnies aériennes afin de garantir l’attribution la plus efficace possible des installations et d’encourager une utilisation responsable des aéroports. La règle “use-it-or-leave-it” est, en ce sens, juste et équitable, et devrait être maintenue à tout moment.

L’aviation a changé notre vie à bien des égards. Maintenant que les consommateurs de toute l’Europe ont pu goûter à la vie sans voyager, ils souhaiteraient prendre l’avion davantage, et non moins, une fois la pandémie passée. La Commission européenne devrait veiller à ce que les consommateurs aient la possibilité de choisir entre plusieurs compagnies aériennes, en tenant compte de leurs contraintes budgétaires. Pour y parvenir, les grandes compagnies et les compagnies à bas prix doivent être traitées sur un pied d’égalité et se faire concurrence pour les créneaux horaires dans les aéroports.

Le secteur de l’aviation peut être soutenu par l’allégement des taxes locales sur les compagnies aériennes et par des mesures de déréglementation. Cependant, ce genre de mesures doit être équitable pour tous, afin de garantir un maximum de concurrence et par ce biais, de choix pour les consommateurs.

CPH en af Europas mest passagervenlige lufthavne

Københavns Lufthavn ligger langt foran de øvrige nordiske hovedlufthavne i forbrugerorganisations undersøgelse af passagervenlighed i Europas største lufthavne.

Københavns Lufthavn er blandt de mest passagervenlige lufthavne i Europa. Det fastslår den internationale forbrugerorganisation Consumer Choice Center i sin anden årlige europæiske lufthavnsundersøgelse, som rangerer de 30 største lufthavne i Europa i forhold til passagervenlighed.

CPH indtager en tredjeplads i undersøgelsen – kun overgået af schweiziske Zürich Lufthavn på førstepladsen og tyske Düsseldorf Lufthavn på andenpladsen. Efter Københavns Lufthavn i undersøgelsens top-5 kommer lufthavnene i Manchester og Bruxelles på henholdsvis fjerde- og femtepladsen.

Plads er et af kriterierne
“Dette år har været et af de mest udfordrende for den globale rejsebranche. Mange lufthavne var lukket i uger eller endda måneder. Mens rejselivet langsomt kommer sig, vil vi informere forbrugerne om, hvilke lufthavne der er mest bekvemme at rejse fra og til i Europa,” siger Fred Roeder, administrerende direktør for Consumer Choice Center.

I lyset af coronapandemien er et af de vigtige kriterier i undersøgelsen i år plads i lufthavnen, og lufthavne med mere plads pr. passager rangerer højere i analysen.

”Dette er nyttigt at vide for rejsende, der forsøger at holde afstand fra andre. Hvis du skal rejse i sommer, kan du overveje at starte eller afslutte din rejse i veldesignede lufthavne som for eksempel Zürich, Düsseldorf eller København,” siger Fred Roeder.

COVID-19 testcentre tæller med
Blandt de øvrige områder, som lufthavnene er blevet bedømt og tildelt point for, er antallet af destinationer og flyselskabet, antallet af butikker, restauranter og lounges, transportforbindelser til lufthavnen og forbindelserne mellem terminaler og gates.

I år har Consumer Choice Center også valgt at tilføje ekstra point til lufthavne med COVID-19 testfaciliteter.

Københavns Lufthavn klarer sig i undersøgelsen langt bedre end de øvrige nordiske storlufthavne. Stockholm Arlanda-lufthavnen finder man således først på en 14. plads, mens Helsinki indtager 18. pladsen og Oslo Gardermoen 21. pladsen.

CPH er gået frem – Stockholm tilbage
I forhold til sidste års undersøgelse er Københavns Lufthavn rykket tre pladser frem, da man sidste år lå på en 6. plads. Bruxelles indtog sidste år førstepladsen, og både Zürich, Düsseldorf og Manchester lå også i top-5 sidste år sammen med Madrid.

Stockholm Arlanda er til gengæld rykket seks pladser tilbage, da den svenske hovedlufthavn sidste år indtog en 8. plads i undersøgelsen.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

BESTER AIRPORT IM EUROPA-RANKING

Das Consumer Choice Center veröffentlichte seinen zweiten jährlichen europäischen Flughafenindex, in dem die nach Passagierfreundlichkeit geordneten Top-Flughäfen in Europa hervorgehoben werden. Die Top 5 Flughäfen laut Studie sind die Flughäfen Zürich, Düsseldorf, Kopenhagen, Manchester und Brüssel.

Fred Roeder, Geschäftsführer des Consumer Choice Centers, sagte, das Ranking zeige den Verbrauchern, welche Flughäfen soziale Distanzierung zulassen und wo sie sich ideal verbinden können: 

“”Dieses Jahr war eines der größten Herausforderungen für die globale Reisebranche. Viele Flughäfen waren wochen- oder sogar monatelang geschlossen. Während sich das Reisen langsam erholt, möchten wir die Verbraucher darüber informieren, welche Flughäfen am bequemsten von und nach Europa zu erreichen sind. Flughäfen mit mehr Platz pro Passagier rangieren in unserer Analyse höher. Dies ist hilfreich für Reisende, die versuchen, Abstand zu anderen zu halten.
Um ein negatives Passagiererlebnis zu vermeiden und die optimalen Drehkreuze für zukünftige Reisen auszuwählen, haben wir die 30 größten Flughäfen Europas (nach Passagieraufkommen) untersucht und sie in Bezug auf das Passagiererlebnis nach einer Mischung von Faktoren wie Standort und Transportmöglichkeiten eingestuft Erfahrung am Flughafen und Zugang zum Flugnetz. Dies sollte den Passagieren helfen, den Flughafen ihrer Wahl zu identifizieren. 
Dies ist die zweite jährliche Ausgabe des European Consumer Airport Index, mit der die passagierfreundlichsten Flughäfen Europas bewertet werden sollen. Wir haben uns an alle Top 30 Flughäfen Europas gewandt und nach relevanten Daten gefragt, aber auch Daten in Jahresberichten und Online-Statistiken gefunden und unsere eigenen Untersuchungen durchgeführt, um alle erforderlichen Informationen zu sammeln. Die Leistungszahlen beziehen sich auf das Jahr 2019. In der neuen Kategorie Covid-Testing werden die am 1. August 2020 verfügbaren Daten untersucht.”

Gesamtpunktzahl: Top 5 Flughäfen für Passagierkomfort in Europa

Das European Passenger Convenience Ranking zeigt hauptsächlich nordeuropäische Flughäfen in den Top 5. Das Fehlen osteuropäischer Flughäfen lässt sich auch dadurch erklären, dass drei Moskauer Flughäfen in Bezug auf das Passagieraufkommen zu den Top 30 der europäischen Flughäfen gehören.
Die Flughäfen Zürich, Düsseldorf und Kopenhagen haben alle zwischen 25 und 32 Millionen Passagiere pro Jahr und sind nur das Drittel der Größe der größten europäischen Flughäfen London Heathrow und Paris Charles De Gaulle.
Erstmals im Ranking ist Istanbul vertreten.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

« Passenger-Friendly » : les 5 meilleures aéroports européens sont…

Le Consumer Choice Center (CCC) vient de publier son deuxième indice annuel des aéroports européens, en fonction de leur convivialité pour les passagers.

L’indice a pour vocation à être utilisé pour informer à la fois les consommateurs et les administrateurs sur les meilleures pratiques en matière d’accueil des passagers. Le CCC a passé au crible les 30 plus grands aéroports européens (en fonction du volume de passagers) et les a classés en fonction de l’expérience des passagers, selon un ensemble de facteurs allant de l’emplacement et des options de transport à l’expérience dans l’aéroport et à l’accès au réseau de vols.

Comme d’habitude, le critère du nombre et de la diversité des liaisons a été primordiale dans l’établissement du classement ; autre critères : un mélange équilibré de boutiques, de restaurants et de commodités. Mais pour ce millésime 2020, des points supplémentaires ont été attribués pour les installations de test Covid-19 dans les aéroports et, plus globalement, sur le respect des mesures sanitaires.

A ce titre, les passerelles directes pour les avions à réaction, plutôt que l’embarquement par bus, la proximité du centre-ville, le nombre de salons, les temps d’attente à faible sécurité et la ponctualité des compagnies aériennes ont été pris en compte. Des points bonus ont été attribués aux aéroports ayant une autorisation préalable pour les vols américains et la possibilité de diffuser les temps d’attente de sécurité. 

Selon l’étude, les cinq premiers aéroports sont ceux de Zurich, Düsseldorf, Copenhague, Manchester et Bruxelles. Roissy et Orly se retrouve dans la première moitié du classement, respectivement à la 6ème et 13ème place. Mauvais triplé pour l’Europe du Sud avec Lisbonne, Athènes et Palma de Majorque, respectivement à la 27, 28 et 29ème place. Bonnet d’âne pour Londres Stansted. L’intégralité est consultable ici.

Fred Roeder, directeur général du CCC, a déclaré : « Cette année a été l’une des plus difficiles pour l’industrie mondiale du voyage. De nombreux aéroports ont été fermés pendant des semaines, voire des mois. Alors que les voyages reprennent lentement, nous voulons informer les consommateurs des aéroports les plus pratiques pour voyager en Europe. Les aéroports offrant plus d’espace par passager se classent en tête de notre analyse. Il est utile de le savoir pour les voyageurs qui essaient de garder une certaine distance par rapport aux autres. »

Originally published here.

Airport Ranking: Zurich is Europe’s best airport

Today, the Consumer Choice Center published its second annual European Airport Index, highlighting the top airports in Europe ranked by passenger-friendliness.

The index should be used to inform both consumers and administrators as to who is doing the best job, accommodating passengers. 

The top 5 airports according to the study are Zurich, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Manchester, and Brussels airports.

Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, said the ranking shows consumers which airports allow social distancing and where to connect ideally.

“This year has been one of the most challenging for the global travel industry. Many airports were closed for weeks or even months. While travel slowly recovers we want to inform consumers which airports are the most convenient to travel from and to in Europe. Airports with more space per passenger rank higher in our analysis. This is helpful to know for travelers who try to maintain distance from others. If you have to travel this Summer, you might want to consider starting or ending your journey at well-designed airports such as Zurich, Düsseldorf, or Copenhagen.

“High points were awarded to the airports that offered great destinations around the world, but also a healthy mix of shops, restaurants, and conveniences found at the airport. This year we also added extra points for Covid-19 testing facilities at airports.

“In order to prevent a negative passenger experience and pick the optimal hubs for future trips, we examined Europe’s 30 largest airports (by passenger volume) and ranked them in terms of passenger experience, ranked according to a mix of factors ranging from location and transportation options to in-airport experience and flight network access.” 

“Other factors determined in the ranking included direct jet bridges, rather than bus boarding, proximity to the city center, the number of lounges, low security waiting times, and on-time performance by airlines. Bonus points were awarded to airports with pre-clearance for US flights and the ability to broadcast security wait times. We do hope that air travel will eventually recover and passengers use our index to choose the right airport” said Roeder.

Originally published here.

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