Indy Airport Employees Lauded for Another Best Airport Win
Airport honored with its 11th Best Airport in North America title
INDIANAPOLIS (March 6, 2023) – Today marked another top achievement for the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) as it claimed the title again as Best Airport in North America – for 11 years straight. This award recognizes the best airports for customer experience worldwide, as selected by passengers. And airport officials are making it clear it’s their employees who are responsible for that amazing winning streak year over year – and they're looking to recruit from a variety of professional fields to hold that top position among North American airports into the next decade.
“The Indy airport is more than just a place where aircraft take off and land – it’s very much like a city within a city,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “It takes a breadth of dedicated employees from across a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds – even beyond that of aviation – to deliver a world-class customer experience.”
The Best Airport in North America title is determined each year by Airports Council International-North America as part of its Airport Service Quality Awards, which recognizes the best airports for customer experience worldwide. The Best Airport designation is based on survey input from passengers on the day of their travel, giving the most complete picture of the passenger experience. Each airport is rated based on over 30 key performance indicators, such as ease of finding your way, check-in, shopping and dining offerings and cleanliness of overall facilities. The ASQ awards recognize the achievements of airports of different sizes and different regions of the world.
Many and varied roles contribute to the Indy airport’s success
To keep the airport operating in top shape, it takes a full spectrum of professionals and skilled workers beyond aviation specialties. Currently the Indy airport is recruiting for workers in the areas of operations and public safety, terminal services, maintenance, and professional staffing, as well as the summer internship program. The collective efforts and dedication of these employees are at the heart of providing a best-in-class customer experience that have earned IND top honors year after year for more than a decade.
Lindsay Rozzel, for example, is an IND police sergeant and K-9 handler, and part of the public safety team that serves to keep the airport safe and secure around the clock every day at the Indy airport.
“My favorite thing about being a police officer [at IND] with the dog is bridging the gap between myself and a stranger – just because everybody loves dogs,” said Rozzel.
George Kestler, who works as an airport maintenance group leader, has been with the Indy airport for 34 years helping to keep everything looking and running at its best. And Kestler exudes the customer service mentality that is at the heart of the Indy airport culture, along with a commitment to teamwork.
“A job well done is rewarding not only for yourself but for the airport,” said Kestler. “So, it’s easier to go out and do the job right and to do it the most efficient way that you possibly can. People come and go [in the workplace] just like planes, but the culture that we have developed here at Indy is the bedrock of this place. I feel that we’ll still be number one in ten years.”
The Indy airport is also known for its cleanliness; something that gets high marks not only from passengers participating in ASQ surveys, but from all other best-in-class honors in the aviation industry. And that’s because of employees like Maria LaRosa, a terminal services specialist at the Indy airport and a 2019 Visit Indy ROSE Award honoree.
“I clean well because it’s like my house,” said LaRosa. “If my friends come by, I would want it clean and disinfected. We all like to be in a clean area.”
LaRosa and her team create not only the first impression for travelers, but one of the most noticeable and notable of the Indy airport’s attributes.
Hafedh Khemir is a 2016 Visit Indy ROSE Award recipient and a chauffeur for the Indy airport parking team. He greets passengers on the airport electric shuttle buses with a smile and has a warm personality that is a trademark reflection of Hoosier Hospitality.
“I love people, and I like to drive and both of them make like a perfect combination for me,” said Khemir. “Every human has unlimited kindness and it’s free. And just being best airport in North America for once it is a great thing but eleven years in a row? It is fantastic. And sometimes I feel like I did a little bit just -- a little bit -- of that.”
Tracy Guerrero, who serves as a program manager on the airport’s supplier diversity team, said it’s the variety of backgrounds and experiences IND employees bring to the table that make the airport work so well for the more than 8 million people who travel through it each year.
“It’s truly been a really great experience working with a team that values diversity,” said Guerrero. “The culture here intentionally strives to ensure that internally the leadership represents the community it serves, and externally works with vendors and partners that are diverse as well -- while making an economic impact in our community.”
Indianapolis Airport Authority employees are also compensated well for their work, which includes benefits like paid child care reimbursement up to $10,000 per year, paid tuition assistance up to $5,250 annually, free healthcare and a generous medical, dental, vision and prescription drug benefit package, a 5-percent retirement plan matching, and generous paid time – all in addition to the chance to work with an award-winning team where each individual is valued.
Employee dedication earns accolades, repeat international recognition
In addition to earning the top spot for the past 11 years straight among airports that accommodate 5 million to 15 million passengers annually, the Indy airport’s employees have landed the ACI-NA Best Airport in North America title for 12 years overall. That’s a feat that earns accolades from the airport management industry’s top brass.
“Travelers have spoken and recognized the successful efforts of these airport communities in providing outstanding customer experience,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World. “The ASQ program not only measures and benchmarks, but also provides airports of all sizes with an opportunity for continual learning and improvement to reach new heights in customer experience excellence.”
To join the team behind the Indy airport’s award-winning status, visit IND.com/Careers.