The Korea Herald


Incheon Airport vows to rebuild global network after years of pandemic disruptions

More than 600 aviation leaders gather in Korea to attend 2023 ACI CX Global Summit

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Sept. 6, 2023 - 17:38

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Incheon International Airport Corp. CEO Lee Hag-jae, speaks during a press conference held on the sidelines of the 2023 ACI CX Global Summit held in Incheon, Wednesday. (Yonhap) Incheon International Airport Corp. CEO Lee Hag-jae, speaks during a press conference held on the sidelines of the 2023 ACI CX Global Summit held in Incheon, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Incheon Airport unveiled its vision to ramp up its customer services and fortify its partnerships with international airports around the world, during the 2023 ACI CX Global Summit held in Incheon, Wednesday.

The 2023 ACI CX Global Summit is a global summit on airport customer experience organized by the Airports Council International. Incheon Airport was selected to host the event as the first South Korean airport to do so after it received a level 5 Customer Experience Accreditation -- the highest level -- in recognition of its excellent customer experience management and service innovations by the ACI, in 2022.

According to Incheon Airport, this year's summit, which lasted from Monday to Thursday, and was attended by some 600 airport and aviation industry-related specialists and leaders from more than 62 different countries, mainly explored ways to have the airport communities incorporate a more customer-centric culture.

"We stand at a crucial moment where the airport no longer serves as just a transportation facility. Airports play an important part of a customer's journey and those memories stick with them long after they have returned home," said Lee Hag-jae, CEO of Incheon Airport.

"In this respect, Incheon Airport has always operated with outstanding customer-centered management principles. We have been accredited with the first-place prize for ACI's airport service evaluation system for 12 consecutive years, and we also won the world's first ACI level 5 customer experience accreditation, last year," he said.

In a bid to continue its efforts in maintaining a hospitable environment for its passengers, Lee announced that Incheon Airport will implement state-of-the art services, including the automatic delivery of individual travelers' luggage from home to the airport starting in 2026 -- dubbed the "home-drop" service. Lee added Incheon Airport will implement a face recognition payment system in the airport in the near future.

He said that Incheon Airport is planning on resuming its "off-airport" services. Off-airport services refer to a system that allows passengers to send their luggage from designated locations other than the airport itself to reduce their check-in time.

"Through the introduction of these new technologies, we hope to create an airport which can be used both safely and efficiently. We believe that (airports) should not only be used for transportation purposes, but also be a facility that meets various cultural and artistic needs," said Lee.

Lee added that Incheon Airport aims to rebuild the global network between aviation industries that has weakened globally since the outbreak of the pandemic.

"Incheon Airport plans to discover new growth engines by initiating global cooperation with airports from diverse countries," he said.

"We are conducting in-depth benchmarking procedures such as information exchange and the cross-dispatch of (airport) employees (between Incheon and other international airports). We also plan to expand our network and strengthen strategic cooperation between airports by ramping up cooperation with airports in Paris, Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles," he said.

"Furthermore, we are also promoting joint promotions to increase flight demand together with airports in Vietnam, Thailand and Istanbul, which have previously kept close connections with Incheon Airport," he added.

"The success of an airport depends on the satisfaction of its customers," said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, the director general of Airports Council International World.

"From check-in to boarding, and everything in between, airports are focused on creating positive, memorable and meaningful experiences for their passengers as their needs continue to evolve. However, it takes a village -- an entire airport community -- to excel in an increasingly competitive market as passenger traffic doubles in the next two decades," said Oliveira.

"Strong leadership centered on fostering a customer-centric culture across the airport community is key to creating valuable human experiences for its customers, employees and stakeholders," he added.