The stars are aligning for William P. Hobby Airport — all four of them, according to the latest ratings in a respected air travel review website.
Skytrax, recognized as a leading global air transport rating organization, gave Hobby Airport a 4-star rating for 2016, making it one of just three airports in the United States to earn a 4-star rating, while adding that “this is an airport with potential to build on the existing facilities to offer an experience that is truly special and closer to a 5-star quality level.”
“Hobby Airport truly is a jewel and for decades has played a vital role in the continued growth and success story here in Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “Its future remains bright, thanks in part to the opening of the beautiful new international concourse facility last year, and now with this recognition of the airport’s level of commitment to excellence and service we are confident that Hobby Airport and the Houston Airport System will continue to soar into the future.”
World Airport Rating is the international airport quality ranking program operated by Skytrax. Ratings are determined through direct and professional analysis of industry quality standards. The Airport Star Ratings are recognized as a global benchmark of airport standards.
“One of our main goals is to provide customers at all of the Houston Airport System facilities with a 5-star experience, and these latest ratings show that our efforts and focus are on the right track,” said Mario Diaz, the Director of Aviation for the Houston Airport System. “We have made important strides in enhancing customer service, returning our assets to opening day fresh condition, and striving to provide the level of overall excellence that our customers deserve and demand.”
Hobby Airport achieved 4-star ratings across many of the core rating categories assessed by Skytrax, and most importantly is described as an “efficient” airport. Overall, Hobby received a four-star or better rating in 24 different categories.
The terminal design means walking distances are short and passenger movement to the gates and around the various terminal facilities is easy. While the airport is subject to the same TSA regulations as other U.S. airports, Skytrax found the timing and quality of processing is in fact a well-managed service area, particularly when assessed against other U.S. airports.
Architecturally, the terminal design means the main departure areas benefit from lots of natural daylight. While this is generally a subconscious element of the customer experience, it has a positive impact on the overall airport rating. Skytrax also called out Hobby’s “impressive” public art program, and cited its Harmony in the Air performing arts program as a “fantastic added value” for customers.
Skytrax made special mention of Hobby’s free Wi-Fi service, deeming it among the best the rating organization has experienced at any airport — the terminal coverage includes parking garages and terminal aprons for boarding/arrival, and connection speeds are consistently good.
For an airport the size of Hobby, dining is a particularly strong point — the layout, selection and quality of the dining options is excellent and there is a strong focus on both national and local Texan brands.
In 2015, for the sixth straight year, Hobby Airport saw an increase in passenger traffic, eclipsing the 12 million mark for the first time. Over the course of the past decade, passenger totals at Hobby have increased by more than 50 percent, while the number of destinations available through nonstop flights has almost doubled, moving from about 30 to more than 60 cities. A large part of that continued growth was the opening of a new $156 million concourse, including a state-of-the-art Federal Inspection Facility to accommodate the return of international air service at Hobby Airport for the first time in nearly 50 years.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport maintained its 3-star status in 2016, but the audit report noted that “the actual customer experience is in fact meeting a 3.5-star quality level when the rating results are assessed across the broad spectrum of audit criteria,” and that several areas “meet (or exceed) 4-star standards.” It also noted that Bush Intercontinental “will be performing closer to a 4-star quality on completion of some the committed projects during 2016.”
The complete listing of 4-star airports can be found at this link.
The complete listing of 3-star airports can be found at this link.
A complete listing of all airports and the ratings, in alphabetical order, can be found at this link.