Houston Hobby Airport becomes the first 5-Star Airport in North America
By Peter Miller, Skytrax – London, UK
Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport has been Certified as the first 5-Star Airport in North America by international air transport rating agency Skytrax. The airport has become one of just sixteen 5-Star Airports across the world.
Hobby Airport has been recognised as a 4-Star Airport for several years, and the 2022 rating upgrade is based on the most recent audit carried out in December 2021. The airport embarked on a major journey of quality change and improvement over the last 4 years, and despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, has made further significant upgrades to guest facilities in the past 2 years.
Mr Mario Diaz, Director of Aviation at Houston Airport System, said: “This is a truly remarkable achievement for us, and we have been very intentional in working toward and finally achieving this goal. There are well over 41,000 airports in the world; Hobby Airport is among the sixteen that are recognized as Skytrax 5-star airports. That’s elite and it speaks to the tireless work and dedication of our staff and partners to ensure a world-class, safe customer experience for every single passenger. I couldn’t be more grateful and proud of our Houston Airports team.”
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “This is a truly fabulous achievement for William P Hobby Airport, becoming the first airport in North America to achieve the 5-Star Airport Rating. This rating is a testament to the significant efforts by the airport to improve the guest experience, and this delivers in several core areas such as terminal décor, restrooms, and family facilities, but also on the nice-to-have factors such as the art and music programme, comfortable seating upgrades, and gardens and landscaping. Allied to this is the efficient performance of TSA and CBP processing, for which waiting times are typically below 10 minutes during regular operations, all of which form part of the 5-Star assessment.”
Amongst the recent changes is the terminal flooring replacement on the South Concourse, which includes new terrazzo hard floors in the main walkways and carpeting in the gate hold rooms. This all significantly improves the visual appeal of the terminal. As part of the improvement, contingency work has been carried out to ensure that the airport can continue to roll out charging point facilities in all seating areas.
The airport has made considerable upgrades to family facilities with new nursery rooms and children’s play areas. In addition, the service animal relief area has been redesigned and renovated. Other recent developments include terminal signage and wayfinding changes, upgraded flight information screens, terminal lighting enhancements, and a brand new prayer room.
THE 5-STAR AIRPORT RATING
The 5-Star Airport Rating is our most prestigious and unique mark of Quality Achievement and a global benchmark of Airport Excellence, which is awarded following detailed audit analysis and assessment of each airport’s product and front-line service standards. The World Airport Star Rating was introduced by Skytrax in 1999 and is a premier evaluation system grading airports on their quality standards.
The 5-Star Airport rating recognises those airports that are providing exceptional standards of facilities and staff service to customers across all front-line areas of the airport environment. To achieve the top 5-Star Airport rating, the staff service or product standards must be either meeting or setting global best practice for the item under evaluation.
WILLIAM P. HOBBY AIRPORT HOUSTON
William P. Hobby Airport is Houston’s second largest airport. In 2021 we served more than 11 million passengers and had an economic impact of $5.8 billion. Houston Airports is the City of Houston’s Department of Aviation. Comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH, William P. Hobby Airport, HOU, and Ellington Airport/Houston Spaceport, EFD, Houston Airports served an estimated 44 million passengers in 2021 and nearly 60 million in 2019. Houston Airports forms one of North America’s largest public airport systems and positions Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South Central United States and as a primary gateway to Latin America.
Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989 and is based in London, United Kingdom. The World Airport Rating programme is a leading international Rating system operating since 1999, which classifies airports across the globe by the quality of product and staff service.