ACE Awards 2017: Winners for top airports

Pivoting to the airport side of the ACE results, South Korea’s Incheon Airport came out on top in a strong field in the million-tonne-plus category. ICN won the Diamond Award last year in the large Asian airport listings, but this year’ s Diamond win represents large airports worldwide. Incheon’s 123-point overall score was the highest in the 2017 ACE Awards, and its 126-point dominance in the Value criteria was tied for the highest single score in the competition.

ICN has been aggressive in its pursuit of business. “We offer various incentives to induce airlines to open new routes, and pursue numerous initiatives such as law reforms and cargo volume incentives in order to attract global shippers, forwarders and the entire supply chain,” said Lim Byung-Kee, Incheon International Airport Corp.’s vice president of hub strategy division. As a result, Incheon has built a network of 87 airlines that connect to 181 cities in 54 countries, creating a “virtuous cycle that attracts passengers and cargo volume.”

To accommodate its 2.71 million tonnes of cargo each year, Incheon operates a 1.5-square-kilometer-wide LogisPark to attract investment from semiconductor clusters, global distribution centers and manufacturing firms. Currently, the first phase of LogisPark is home to 31 branches of global forwarders and manufacturing firms. With the wave of e-commerce demand, ICN is looking to expand the LogisPark

this coming June with a 90,000-square-meter second phase. “We are deeply honored,” Lim said. “As airlines and forwarders select the winner for the awards, we are even more grateful feeling that hard work in collaboration with various entities to increase cargo service has paid off.”

As good as Incheon’s performance was, it was nearly matched by Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, which was edged out by one point, but still took home a well-deserved Platinum Award with a 122-point score. For many years, ANC has performed well merely because it was a vital refueling stop for long-haul routes between North America and Eurasia. But even in today’s world of extended-range aircraft that need fewer refueling depots, ANC has consistently earned high marks – especially in the Facility criteria, which reached a whopping 126 points this year.

Gold Award winner Memphis International Airport, which is always in the running for ACE Awards because it hosts the world’s largest integrator, is looking to expand its cargo operations. “The Airport Authority is currently in the process of vacating some office space and an airfield maintenance facility for use by one of our cargo handling partners,” said Glen Thomas, public information officer for MEM. Vacating these valuable operational spaces highlights the lengths the airport will go to support its tenants, he said.

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