Airlines have given Perth Airport the thumbs down and rated it the worst for quality of service of the five major capital city airports in Australia, according to the consumer watchdog.
While acknowledging major improvements are now under way, and were started after the survey period, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned in its Airport Monitoring Report 2010-11 that Perth Airport's "quality of service ratings by airlines . . . remain a concern".
However, the travelling public was more upbeat, rating the airport's overall standards as "good" and ahead of Sydney, which came last in the overall rating category.
The best airport, with 3.82 out of five, was Brisbane with Perth scoring just 2.61.
Perth Airport is spending $750 million on a new regional terminal, a major expansion of the international terminal and a new domestic pier for Virgin Australia.
The projects will be completed by 2014.
It claims that new facilities will turn the airport "into the best in Australia".
According to the ACCC's report, airlines rated the quality of service at Perth as less than satisfactory for the second year in a row, despite the fact the airport has invested in new infrastructure and increases in prices and profits have been relatively low.
Areas of concerns were the availability of check-in counters, aerobridges and facilities in the customs and immigration hall.
The biggest area of concern was the availability of inbound immigration facilities as rated by border agencies, including the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.
According to the report, the agencies said facilities were not adequate during peak periods, which resulted in passenger congestion.
"In particular, border agencies commented that the airport's infrastructure - a small lift, narrow staircase and single escalator - is insufficient to handle the flow of passengers from the arrivals concourse to the immigrations area."
However, Perth Airport said the processing of passengers and queues created in the area was affected by staffing levels on the inbound immigration desks, which was the responsibility of the border agencies, and that not all available desks were used.While the border agencies gave the airport the thumbs down, passengers were happy, according to the ACCC, giving the airport a satisfactory rating for inbound customs clearance and good to excellent for the outbound process.
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