As airlines take care of their passengers, airports must also focus on taking care of the travelers’ experience. Therefore, today I want to share with you five passenger-oriented KPIs that airports should take into account to guarantee the clients’ satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that operational KPIs for airports are not relevant, and that’s why you should also read our post related to airport dashboards KPIs.

Now we can say there’s a thin line within airport KPIs and airline KPIs in terms of ground operations, especially for events such as check-in or baggage. In some cases, the airports provide the service to the airlines as a third party. Therefore, for this specific case, we will use the assumption that all services are provided directly by the airport.

Baggage Handling is crucial for airport and airport’s KPIs

Baggage Mishandling

I want to begin with one of the most important KPIs, Baggage Mishandling. For travelers, one of their biggest fears is to have issues with their luggage, lost, damaged, or delays are one of the pain points for travelers for many years. Therefore, airports must track daily the amount of mishandled baggage in operation.

The KPI works best with a target reflecting a reference point. The target is used to understand if the KPI is performing as expected, better, or it requires improvement measurements. For this KPI, it is necessary to count with real-time data as well as with historical data. Especially the historical data is essential to understand the evolution of the issue a long time.

A tracking monthly is reasonable here. This helps to determine if there are specific days/time where critical situations happens recurrently. On the other hand, it can also be compared month-to-month to determine if there are specific months during the year that are more critical than others or to identify if there is a stable situation.

Baggage Claim Waiting Time

From my personal experience, there’s nothing better for a travel experience than arriving at the baggage belt and see the luggage already being delivered.

According to the article You’ve Reached Baggage Claim, but Why Hasn’t Your Luggage? from The New York Times, the average waiting time for luggage depending on airport infrastructure, size, and modernization lies between 15 to 45 minutes; therefore, if the average time surpasses the 45 minutes, the situation could be critical.

On research performed in the UK, airports such as London Heathrow (average 29 minutes, 29 seconds), London Gatwick Airport – 33 minutes 21 seconds, and Edinburgh Airport – 31 minutes 47 second, considered the longest waiting times in the baggage claim of the region.

Therefore, it is necessary to measure, compare, and evaluate where the pain point’s root cause to implement corrective measures.

Airport KPI Dashboard
Example: Airport KPI Dashboard

Long Waiting-Times can affect travelers’ experience negatively.

Security Control Waiting Times

The queues for security control in some airports must be very efficient, organized to guarantee that passengers arrive on time to their respective gates. In some cases, the security controls are bottlenecks as some travelers are not familiar with the airport’s procedures, and therefore, they require longer times for the check. For this, it is necessary to provide the essential elements to guarantee a reduction in security control times.

Passport Control Waiting Time

The security control times depend as well on the size and amount of security stations the airport count with. Passport Control can also be a bottleneck in airports with high international traffic. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the waiting times.

For the two KPIs mentioned above, it is possible to derivate an additional KPI, on the number of incidents at security checkpoints or passport controls.

Low Incidents doesn’t mean everything is on the right track

Number of incidents at security or passport control

I personally consider this KPI slightly tricky. The fact of having a permanent low number of incidents in security points or passport control does not necessarily imply that things are properly working, but this can also mean that there are inefficiencies or low quality in the security processes. On the other hand, a high number of incidents also imply a lack of organization and steering of the process. Therefore, it is necessary always to set reachable targets and work with historical data to evaluate the behavior and attack the identified weak spots.

Summarized — Why are these airport KPIs are that important?

If these KPIs are not tracked, and passengers tend to have bad experiences with the airports, whenever they require to make transfer trips, there’s a high chance they will avoid, slow, and complicated airports. Therefore, it is also necessary that not only aircraft operations, but staff operations work properly in pro of the customers. In case you have some additional Passenger-oriented KPIs that are highly relevant for airports, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and opinions with us.


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Camila is passionate about aviation, data analytics, and a travel addict. With more than 7 years of experience in the aviation industry, she’s constantly providing solutions to different airlines in Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia and has experience in several countries in South America. Her main focus consists on KPIs implementation, visualization, and data analysis, with the objective to increase airlines’ operational awareness through the use of real-time data.