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Manchester Airport hits back at Which? Magazine ‘worst in UK’ branding

Terminal 3, courtesy MAG

Manchester Airport has hit back at a survey from consumer group and magazine Which? that placed the airport bottom overall in a ranking of the UK’s major airports over the last 12 months.

Which? spoke to nearly 4,000 passengers over the year, asking them to score 24 airports/terminals across 11 categories including seating, staff, toilets and the much-derided queues at check-in, bag drop, passport control and security.

Manchester Airport took the lowest two spots in the rankings, with a customer score of 38 per cent for Terminal 3 and 44 per cent for Terminal 1. Terminal 2 fared slightly better, in fifth-to-last spot with 50 per cent.

The airport was quick to hit back, however, describing the survey as “flawed” and “out of date.”

A spokesperson said: “We take all customer feedback seriously, but the Which? survey creates a deeply flawed and misleading picture of the service we are providing to our customers this summer. The survey is out of date – covering June 2022-June 2023 and not including the majority of this summer season.”

The spokesperson added that the survey had relied on a tiny sample of Manchester’s customers for its conclusions: “[It] is also based on a tiny and unrepresentative sample of the 25 million passengers who travel through Manchester Airport each year. Year-by-year the Which? survey becomes less and less relevant as response rates continue to dwindle, with half as many people surveyed this year as were 12 months ago. There were only 567 responses relating to Manchester Airport – 0.002% of our annual passenger numbers.”

The spokesperson said that Manchester’s own studies reveal a very different picture around customer satisfaction to that painted by Which?

“As part of our commitment to delivering great customer service, we continually survey passengers. In July and August this year, 93 per cent of those passengers rated their overall satisfaction with the service they received as good, very good or excellent.”

The spokesperson highlighted Which?’s findings on security queues at Manchester in particular. Manchester was among the worst performing airports on this metric, with Terminal 3’s average 28-minute wait ‘bettered’ only by Birmingham’s 29 minutes.

“Since April this year, we have welcomed more than 10.4m people through Manchester Airport, who have travelled to more than 180 destinations with nearly 50 different airlines, and 95.6 per cent of them have got through security in under 15 minutes,” they said. “Almost three quarters got through security in under five minutes and 99.8 per cent in under 30 minutes.”

There was better news at the other end of the table, where Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport placed top with an overall customer score of 82 per cent, based on a combination of overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend.

Among the North’s other main travel hubs, Newcastle placed sixth with 72 per cent while Leeds/Bradford ranked eighth with 58 per cent.

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