Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, better known as Rome Fiumicino, has been rated Europe’s best airport for the second year running by Airports Council International (ACI). The airport, which is the gateway to Italy for many long-haul travelers, was recognized for its outstanding levels of quality in service and infrastructure.
Just five years ago, the airport was far lower in the Continental standings, rating poorly for quality and it had become known for service disruptions. Additionally, a fire that occurred four years ago causing serious damage to Terminal 3 and temporarily reduced the airport’s capacity by a crippling 40 percent. In 2015, Fiumicino ended the year with the worst ranking in Europe, in great part due to the delays that became, at times unavoidable, but altogether too commonplace. The airport was quick to respond and by last year had turned things around in remarkable fashion. After ascending to the top in terms of service quality, Fiumicino was also ranked as not just Europe’s, but as the world’s most improved airport.
Aeroporti di Roma, the company that runs both Fiumicino and the smaller Ciampino Airport, said it received high marks for the terminal’s efficiency and security management. It was also praised for the effectiveness of airport staff and coordination with airlines, continuously monitoring and making adjustments to improve and maintain high levels of performance. The airport also met environmental targets, which often escape the eyes of travelers unless it becomes a problem. It is an important component in overall cleanliness and requires a proactive approach. This management function of anticipation has had perhaps the second biggest impact, following that of infrastructure improvements.
Fiumicino is included in the category of European airports that serviced at least 25 million passengers. Last year, the airport had over 43 million passengers pass through the airport, but still had one of the best on-time departure ratings in Europe. In reaching the top, Fiumicino beat out 19 other airports. The other finalists were Copenhagen, Dublin, London Gatwick and Vienna. Overall, in 2018, the two Rome airports recorded 48.8 million passengers traveling from more than 230 worldwide destinations on more than 100 different airlines.