Are the World’s Busiest Airports the Best?

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Busy AirportThere are roughly 42,000 airports in the world. Over 13,500 of these are in the US, 3,100 are in the European Union, 507 in China, 161 in Costa Rica, 18 in Bangladesh and 1 in Gibraltar. This should give an idea to the scope of the landscape when drilling down to the world’s busiest airports and the “best”.

Let’s look at which airports serve the most passengers and which serve them in the most satisfactory way, to see if any of the world’s busiest airports are also among the best.

The World’s Busiest Airports
Travel+Leisure shared preliminary data from Airport Council International showing the busiest passenger airports in the world, based on passenger traffic in 2016:

• Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 104 million
• Beijing Capital International Airport: 94 million
• Dubai International Airport: 83 million
• Los Angeles International Airport: 81 million
• Haneda International Airport: 79 million
• Chicago O’Hare International Airport: 78 million
• London Heathrow Airport: 25 million
• Hong Kong International Airport: 70 million
• Shanghai Pudong International Airport: 66 million
• Paris-Charles De Gualle Airport: 65 million

While it’s easy enough to determine the world’s busiest airports — the numbers tell the story—picking the “best” airports is far more subjective.

The World’s Best Airports
Turn to the industry benchmark: the Skytrax World Airport Awards. They recently released their top ten Airports of 2017, and we’ve plugged in some of the reasons why these airports have risen to the top:

1. Singapore Changi Airport
What makes it great?
• Named the World’s Best Airport for the 5th consecutive year
• Connects customers to over 200 worldwide destinations
• Boasts 5,000 weekly arrivals/departures from 80 international airlines
• Special features include a butterfly garden with a waterfall, a cactus garden, movie theater, and a rooftop swimming pool and Jacuzzi

2. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
What makes it great?
• International and domestic terminals
• Voted Skytrax World Airport Awards’ World’s Cleanest Airport
• Employs a cleaning robot (learn more in Helping Hands: Robots in the Travel Industry)

3. Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea)
What makes it great?
• Largest airport in South Korea
• Former winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards
• Offers visitors a truly Korean experience without having to leave airport

4. Munich Airport (Germany)
What makes it great?
• Second busiest airport in Germany
• Features over 150 retail stores and 50 eateries

5. Hong Kong International Airport
What makes it great?
• Serves over 100 airlines
• Former multiple winner of Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards
• Voted Skytrax World Airport Awards’ World’s Best Airport for Dining

6. Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)
What makes it great?
• Terminal accommodates up to 30 million passengers annually
• It’s architecturally significant and offers luxury

7. Chubu Centrair Nagoya (Japan)
What makes it great?
• Located conveniently in central Japan and 30 minutes away from Nagoya station
• Offers passengers free WiFi, same-day baggage delivery service, access to a sky deck and bathhouse.

8. Zurich Airport (Switzerland)
What makes it great?
• Located within minutes of the city centre
• Voted Skytrax World Airport Awards’ 8th World’s Cleanest Airport
• Has an ultra-modern infrastucture

9. London Heathrow Airport
What makes it great?
• Voted Skytrax World Airport Awards’ World’s Best Airport Shopping
• Located 15 miles west of downtown London
• Features premium lounges including the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

10. Frankfurt Airport (Germany)
What makes it great?
• Serves 98 airlines and 250 destinations in 105 different countries
• It’s the third largest airport in Europe
• Has a direct connection to the European high-speed network of German Rail

These rankings are based on a global customer satisfaction survey and results are sliced every which way to give a multifaceted perspective on the worldwide airline industry. Explore all of the categories and award winners here.

The Busiest and The Best?
There are just two airports appearing on both lists: Hong Kong International and London Heathrow. Maybe they can officially be considered the “best of the best”. They’re handling more passengers than tens of thousands of other airports around the globe and they’re adding services that clearly delight their visitors. To get more insights into the steps leading airlines and airports are taking to provide top-tier service, don’t miss:

3 Ways Airlines Upgrade Business Travelers’ Long-Haul Experience
Business Class: Keeping Travelers Connected Onboard
Surveying the Continued Ascent of Economy Air Travel

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