Is Tullamarine one of the best airports in the world? Or worst?

sign at terminalTullamarine Airport is the major international and domestic airport serving the 25 to 30 million passengers every year in Melbourne. It is the second busiest airport in Australia and the third in the Asia Pacific region. Melbourne airport has the facilities to provide most of the needs of travelers. There’s unlimited WIFI access, internet kiosks and quality hotels including Holiday Inn, Park Royal, Mantra and Best Western. There are shower rooms, luggage storage and lockers, pharmacy, food and beverage concessions, a golf club and more to serve guests and transit passengers.

Melbourne Airport has received many awards in the past years. It was recognized as one of the top five best airports in the world in 1997 and 1998 by the International Air Transport Association. It was ranked among the top 10 airports in the world from 1996 to 2000 by the Business Traveler Magazine and the Airports Council International. In 2012, it was ranked 43rd in the world’s top 100 airports by the World Airport Awards.

Are all these awards enough proof to say that Tullamarine is one of the best airports in the world? Well, an annual report on airport performance says otherwise. According to the 2013-2014 report, Melbourne Airport is in the same status with Perth Airport in getting the lowest ranking when it comes to customer and airline service quality.

With the increase in the volume of travelers accessing Melbourne Airport as well as the increase in revenue, it is disappointing to note the decline in the quality of customer service. Many passengers are complaining about the long queues, the poor check-in services and aerobridge standards in some terminals. Landside services including pick-up and drop-off facilities also lack the necessary improvements.

All people know that the Melbourne Airport Parking collects sky high airport parking fees, but why scrimp on services. One customer mentioned in a forum that he parked his car in the multi-level car long term parking facility, but found no single trolley in the area for his luggage. Many travellers are choosing instead to use the cheaper privately run off site airport parking options close to the airport.

Despite these concerns, Tullamarine still got a “satisfactory” overall rating for airport services. Chris Woodruff, Chief Executive of Melbourne Airport, acknowledged this but expressed the need for improvements as well. He mentioned that work is underway to expand the airport’s capacity and to better the quality of services.

Tullamarine is a very big airport servicing millions of passengers every year. It’s understandable that lapses in services happen sometimes particularly during peak travel seasons. It is good to know that the airport administration is doing something to improve the experience of guests and travelers. However with the issue of long term parking at the airport itself, we doubt whether the high costs will ever change.