AIRPORTS ARE gateways—they are often the first and last impression a visitor has of a country. As such, they offer a unique opportunity to both reflect and create the identity of that place. Airports, however, have to ensure that they balance the unique identity with the need to create a safe and reassuring experience for passengers. Consumer-aviation website Skytrax brings out its annual World Airport Awards that track airports and rank them based on the impressions of nearly 14 million fliers from 105 countries. For the latest report, which was released recently, more than 550 airports were included. The survey covered 39 service and performance parameters, including facility comfort, location of bathrooms and the language skills of the airport staff. Here are the top 10, as per the list…
Singapore Changi International Airport
For the fifth consecutive year, Singapore Changi International Airport took home the crown as the world’s best airport. It has received praise from passengers for its beautiful architecture, efficient operation, luxurious amenities, and dining and shopping options. Fliers passing through are treated to such hard-to-beat features as movie theatres, a multimedia entertainment deck, spas and a wild corkscrew slide.
Tokyo International Airport
In second place, Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda Airport or Tokyo Haneda Airport, is the world’s fifth-busiest airport, handling 75.3 million passengers annually, and is renowned for its service efficiency, cleanliness and a wide variety of shopping options. The airport plays a very important role in furthering Japan’s development as a tourism-oriented nation.
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport is the largest in South Korea and one of the busiest in the world. It is a former winner of the ‘Airport of the Year’ title at the World Airport Awards. Bagging the third spot, Incheon International boasts several highly regarded facilities, including an array of shopping and dining options and an assortment of cultural performances.
Munich Airport is the second-busiest airport in Germany and the secondary hub for Lufthansa German Airlines. Munich Airport has connections to destinations all over the world, but there is much more. With over 150 retail stores and some 50 places where you can eat and drink, it’s like a city centre.
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Hong Kong International
In fifth place, Hong Kong International is built on an artificial island off the coast of Hong Kong and has become one of the most popular facilities in the world since it opened in 1998. Special features include the SkyCity Nine Eagles golf course near Terminal 2. The airport serves over 100 airlines, operating flights to about 180 locations worldwide.
Hamad International Airport, Doha
Hamad International Airport is the international airport for Doha, the capital city of Qatar. The existing terminal can accommodate up to 30 million passengers annually, and has been described as the most architecturally significant terminal complex in the world, as well as being the most luxurious. Skytrax described the facility as “the most architecturally significant terminal complex in the world, as well as being the most luxurious.”
Central Japan International Airport
In seventh place, Central Japan International—also known as Centrair—has the distinction of being named the best regional airport in the world. It has a 1,000-foot sky deck, where passengers can watch ships sail into the Port of Nagoya. There’s also a traditional Japanese bathhouse, where passengers can have a relaxing soak, while watching the sunset over the bay. In 2014, 9.8 million passengers travelled through the airport.
Taking the eighth spot, Zurich Airport is known for offering extended layover passengers bicycle and inline-skate rentals and excursions to the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne. The airport is the largest international airport of Switzerland.
London Heathrow Airport
Currently in the midst of a major renovation with the addition of a new Terminal 2 building, London Heathrow’s eight-year-old Terminal 5 building was named the best airport terminal in the world by Skytrax. Heathrow serves as the main hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The airport is the busiest in the UK and the busiest in Europe by passenger traffic.
In the 10th place, Frankfurt Airport is the fourth-busiest airport in Europe and one of the most important transit hubs in the world. Skytrax reviewers praised the airport for the ease of transit between terminals and the abundant shopping and dining options. Serving 98 airlines and 250 destinations in 105 different countries, Frankfurt Airport is the base of Lufthansa. It is the largest airport in Germany and the third-biggest in Europe.