When UK-based Skytrax consultancy SkyTrax released its annual list of the world's top 100 airports, US airports were conspicuously absent.
The highest-ranked U.S. airport, the small Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, could only muster 27th place.
The Economist is also chiming in and the news isn't good. Approximately 67 % of people who fly out of the United States arrive at a better airport. After analyzing data from more than a million flights during 2013, the British magazine concluded U.S. airports to be "awful," beset by "soggy pizza, surly security staff and endless queues."
"There's no question that U.S. airports suffer from an image problem globally, and the main culprit is our nation's lack of dedicated infrastructure investment, particularly in its aviation infrastructure," said Airports Council International North America President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.
“Many of our airports are operating well beyond the capacity for which they were originally intended several decades ago, and this is the reason why air travellers -- international and domestic -- experience crowded terminals and outdated facilities. The other source of harm to our global reputation has been the unacceptably long waiting times to process through customs at U.S. international airports," he added.
Despite this, Burke remains confident about correcting the problems, pointing to a recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement that it will add 2,000 officers, with many assigned to airports. But can U.S. airports realistically improve to match their international counterparts over the next five to ten years? "Yes, but it's going to take an unwavering commitment to upgrade our infrastructure," Burke said.” And in an increasingly global marketplace, the U.S. will require world-leading airports to stay competitive."