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27 Jun, 2013

Australia releases updated guidelines for monitoring service quality at gateway airports


Canberra, 26 June 2013 (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued revised guidelines setting out changes to the way the ACCC monitors service quality at Australia’s four largest airports.

“The new guidelines will improve the way the ACCC monitors airport service quality by taking account of changing market dynamics and technology,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

As an important complement to the ACCC’s price monitoring role, checking the quality of service at Australia’s four largest airports allows the ACCC to detect any significant movement in quality of service over time and compare the performance of the monitored airports where appropriate. The revised quality of service monitoring Guidelines and accompanying Statement of Reasons follow the Productivity Commissions’ 2011 inquiry into the economic regulation of airport services.

The revised Guidelines include new measures for an airport’s landside operations including ratings for the availability and standard of taxi facilities and the availability of kerbside space for passenger pick up and drop off.

“Landside activities at the monitored airports are becoming increasingly important due to issues of congestion and appropriate access for those businesses providing alternatives to parking at airports,” Mr Sims said. “Airports have the ability to control access to airport land and impede competition for alternatives to on-airport access, so it is important to monitor developments in this aspect of airport operation.”

The revised guidelines include other new or changed indicators for airport processes such as baggage reclaim and check-in facilities. A summary of the changes is provided below.

The Australian Government has directed the ACCC to monitor annually the performance of the four largest airports, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and, Sydney, until 2020. It is expected that the new quality of service monitoring indicators will be incorporated into the 2013-14 Airport Monitoring Report.

Summary of changes to the quality of service monitoring

The ACCC will now be monitoring the following:

  • Survey of landside operators (international and domestic) – questions on airport access facilities: standard and availability of taxi facilities; standard and availability of public kerbside space for passenger drop off and pick up;  and management responsiveness.
  • Number of departing passengers (international and domestic) per check-in desk, bag drop and check-in kiosk during peak hour.
  • Total area (square metres) provided for inbound baggage reclaim (international and domestic).
  • Number of departing passengers per washroom during peak hour (international and domestic) during peak hour.
  • Total annual aircraft movements per square metres of aprons.
  • Total annual aircraft movements per square metres of runways.
  • Total annual aircraft movements per square metres for aircraft parking bays.
  • Total area (international and domestic) at terminal kerbside for passenger pick up and drop off provided to landside operators such as taxis, and providers of other off-airport parking services, measured in terms of number of standard car park spaces.
  • Total area (international and domestic) at terminal kerbside and at designated waiting areas for passenger pick-up and drop-off provided to the public at no charge measured in terms of number of standard car park spaces.

The ACCC will cease monitoring:

  • Border agencies’ survey (Australian Customs and Border Protection, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Biosecurity, Department of Immigration and Citizenship) – questions on services and facilities provided by airport operators to allow for government inspection services.
  • Percentage of hours when more than 80% of check-in desks are in use.
  • Total number of hours during the financial year when any check-in desk was open
  • Average waiting time for inbound baggage reclaim.

The Guidelines also include changing the peak hour definition so that it captures the hour in the day (not necessarily a clock hour) for highest total number of arriving and departing passengers.

Click here to download the updated guidelines.