By Anton Constantinou
Business travellers are all too familiar with the concept of a good airport – regular flying brings with it exposure to some of the finest in the world. But what defines a top airport, exactly? Does the answer lie in first class facilities, passenger traffic, or a combination of the two?
UK consultancy, Skytrax, is a voice of authority when it comes to aviation benchmarking, and at this year’s World Airport Awards, presented a list that we just had to get our teeth into. Hold on to your hats and prepare for take-off as we countdown the greatest airports right now:
- Frankfurt Airport (Germany)
Bagging the number ten spot is Germany’s busiest airport by international destinations served. Free Wi-Fi features throughout, and passengers also enjoy access to yoga rooms and a hairdresser and shower facilities.
- London Heathrow Airport
For an airport that continues to attract controversy over its runway expansion plans, Heathrow still reigns supreme when it comes to shopping. You need only look to Terminal 5 for the proof, which, with over 35 shops to its name, has been ranked the second best airport individual terminal on the planet.
- Zurich Airport (Switzerland)
Now ranked the greatest country in the world, Switzerland’s largest international airport is the main base for Swiss International Air Lines, celebrated for its luxury VIP lounges. As well as being number one for airport security, Zurich boasts more than 80 shops, and sees an average of 20 to 30 million passengers a year.
- Chubu Centrair Nagoya (Japan)
As central Japan’s main international gateway, Centrair Nagoya earned a flawless 5 star rating in this year’s Skytrax Awards and, after Haneda, is the world’s cleanest airport. It’s also a high performer in terms of baggage delivery.
- Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)
It might be one of the newest airports, but that hasn’t stopped it racing ahead in terms of luxury. Having leaped up four spots in the rankings since 2016, Hamad has come a long way in a short space of time. In addition to its eight premium lounges, it provides children’s entertainment zones, quiet rooms and artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst and Urs Fischer.
- Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong is notable for its exquisite cuisine, and that’s reflected in the world-class dining on offer at its main airport. Also in Hong Kong International are nap rooms, an IMAX theatre and premium class lounges. In as little as twenty 24 minutes, guests can reach central Hong Kong on the Airport Express train.
- Munich Airport (Germany)
In yet another honorary mention for Germany, the title of ‘best airport in Europe’ goes to Munich Airport, renowned for its VIP terminal and alpine themed restaurant, Sportalm. It also lays claim to having the world’s greatest airport hotel, Hilton Munich Airport.
- Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea)
Incheon International may have dropped down a place since last year, but it’s still undergoing significant expansion, with plans for a second passenger terminal by 2020. Visitors can partake in indoor ice skating, or while away the time with a special concert from the airport’s Cultural Street -located on the fourth floor.
- Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
Briefly touched on earlier in the list, Haneda is officially the world’s cleanest airport, and in 2016 saw a colossal 80.1 million passengers pass through its doors. As one of two airports serving the Greater Tokyo area, it also excels in terms of efficiency, service and shopping.
- Singapore Changi Airport
Having topped the Skytrax leader board for the last five years, Singapore’s Changi airport is impossible to beat, it seems. Why? Well, maybe because it has eight gardens, two 24-hour movie theatres showing films for free and a rooftop swimming pool. Already with three terminals to its name, the airport is slated for a fourth this year.