Hartsfield-Jackson named world’s most-efficient airport

The Air Transport Research Society has recognized Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world’s most-efficient airport, said a spokesperson for the organization.

ATRS noted that conclusion in its 2011 ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Report, which compared the efficiency of 156 airports and 19 airport groups in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, said Lorraine Chan, of the University of British Columbia in Canada. She explained that ATRS is based at the university’s Sauder School of Business.

“Our report shows that the world’s most-efficient airports are supplementing core income with money generated through non-aeronautical revenue streams,” added Tae Oum, president of ATRS. He said the miscellaneous revenue includes parking, office rentals, retail activity and real estate development.

Katena Carvajales, a spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson, said the airport received this recognition from ATRS for the ninth year in a row. It received what is specially called The Global and North American Airport Efficiency Excellence Award from the research society, she said.

The recognition reflects the airport’s productivity, efficiency and low costs, she added.

“I am proud that the ATRS continues to recognize Hartsfield-Jackson as a global leader in efficiency and customer-service excellence,” said Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Atlanta’s airport.

Miller said Hartsfield-Jackson will continue to operate as a top-notch airport, meeting the needs of airlines and its 250,000 daily passengers.

Hartsfield-Jackson generated 60 percent of its revenue from non-aviation activities, explained Chan. Chicago O’Hare International Airport, in Chicago, Ill., only collected 34 percent of income from other sources, she said.

In its study, ATRS also ranked efficiency in airports by continent and region.

Spokeswoman Chan said the most-efficient airports serving more than 15 million passengers a year included Atlanta’s airport, for North America; Hong Kong International Airport, for Asia; Sydney Airport, for the Oceania region; and for Europe, there was a tie between Copenhagen Kastrup International Airport, in Denmark, and Oslo Airport, in Norway.

“Our benchmarking report also shows that more-efficient airports tend to offer lower aircraft landing fees and passenger terminal charges, ultimately leaving more money in the pockets of travelers,” added Oum.

Chan said that because Hartsfield-Jackson had such a diverse revenue stream, it was able to offer some of the lowest landing fees for international flights in North America. The airport charged $376 for a Boeing 767 aircraft in 2010, she said, while Toronto Pearson International Airport charges a Boeing 767 $6,000 to land.

The study is considered the most inclusive independent evaluation of world airport performance, she added.

The benchmarking report “ranks efficiency by using a ratio that divides the total number of aircraft movements, passenger and cargo volumes ,and non-aeronautical revenue generation, by full-time equivalent labor costs and other operational expenses,” she explained.

The conclusion of the 2011 findings come from 2009 data, gathered by ATRS researchers and directed by 14 leading scholars from Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.

Mario Diaz, director of aviation for the Houston Airport System, said the study is instrumental in airport management around the globe. Prior to his current position in Houston, Diaz served as deputy general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson for several years.

“This research helps reduce aircraft landing fees by improving efficiency of operations, increasing non-aeronautical revenue sources, and exploring avenues to outsource non-critical airport activities and services,” he said.