Customer Service and Satisfaction in the three main Airports of the United Arab Emirates
British University in Dubai
The United Arab Emirates is considered a relatively young country; nevertheless, both its aviation and tourism industries are rapidly growing to an extent that it can fairly be compared to more developed countries. The ultimate aim of the paper is to study the customer satisfaction in the aviation industry within the United Arab Emirates, but to properly do that both UAE's airlines and UAE's airports need to be studied. While this paper only focuses on studying the customer service at UAE’s 3 main Airports (Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport) the same model created can be tailored and actually serve to study the airlines in future studies. Moutinho (2001) indicates that air travel has become even more accessible to all classes of people like never before. The middle class can take its pick from the competitive rates of hundreds of airlines. Besides, no-frill airlines are making a big debut in the aviation industry. Targeting the wealthier, top airlines are being over backwards to come up with new and exotic incentives to attract a larger customer base. First Class, business class and premium economy are some of the classifications available in the seating arena on airlines today. Moutinho (2001). This indicates that Airport travelers are only going to increase going forward. To begin with, the UAE's environment is studied to test the main needs, demands and necessities of the country's aviation industry. Based on that, 5 main criteria were set that had to be met and continuously achieved by the aviation industry in the UAE. Having set the criteria needed for UAE’s airport customer service, a thorough literature review is conducted to learn more about what customer service and customer satisfaction models are available by scholars through papers, articles, studies… etc. and which will best suit the UAE and the criteria set. This paper will develop a new model, which is actually an amalgamation of parts of three other models discovered and discussed within the literature review. The new model will serve all set criteria and will act as a benchmark against which UAE's airports will be tested, and should prove better. The study was made based on surveys, distributed on a sample of various passengers through the airports under study, coming from different backgrounds to obtain the results. One main question was assigned to each of the 5 criteria, and then another 15 questions were asked to follow up and explore the reasoning behind the results achieved. A hypothesis is assigned to every criterion, and all null hypotheses proved to be negative when tested using the T-Test. For further analysis, the results were run through a Chi-Square statistical test, using a program called 'Statistical Program for Social Sciences' to prove that there actually exists some differences between the results achieved from the main Airports in the UAE, namely Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport. These differences are further explored through the feedback of follow interview session, to explain why and where the differences occurred, and detailed examples of them. The study proved that the three main Airports in the UAE comply with the 5 criteria set in this paper. The statistical analysis also proved that Dubai International Airport is doing significantly better than the other 2 airports in 3 of the criteria set, while there was no clear difference between the three airports on the remaining 2 criteria. Finally the paper sets some recommendations which are basically further emphasis on the criteria set within the paper and the model developed to serve UAE's aviation sector. The main recommendation was to apply the same model and tailoring the survey questions to the three main Airlines which are UAE based, namely Etihad Air, Emirates, and Air Arabia. In conclusion, the airports in the UAE happen to have more of a positive nature. They all comply with the five criteria set. However, there is quite some room for improvement and betterment of customer satisfaction within the aviation industry in the United Arab Emirates, specifically in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Airports.
Customer Service, Cistomer Satisfaction, United Arab Emirates (UAE), aviation industry