What qualities are we looking for in the world’s best airport?
High-tech services, friendly atmosphere or a vast network of connections to get you out and on your way?
At the 2019 Skyrax World Airport Awards, the awards panel were not only looking to award airports for outdoing the competition, but on their ability to innovate and improve on previous years.
Which is why when Singapore’s Changi Airport was named the World’s Best Airport for a seventh consecutive year, it was all the more impressive.
The Singapore airport could have easily rested on its laurels from past years’ achievements.
However over the last 12 months, the renovations to terminals 4 and 3, along with ambitious use of indoor gardens and natural lights have altered the airport entirely.
Changi turned heads over Christmas, with its Warner Bros Singapore partnership that transformed the inside of the airport into a Harry Potter–inspired theme park.
Perhaps the biggest development is the Jewel Changi complex. The botanical garden, which has taken $1.84 billion to develop and at 130ft features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall will be opening to the public on April 17.
Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of the Changi Airport Group welcomed the news.
“At Changi, we are fortunate to have a large community of immensely dedicated and passionate airport workers who strive to deliver the best experiences,” he said.
Thanking the airport’s passengers for their “vote of confidence”, Mr Hiang acknowledged the award came at a perfect time for the opening of the Jewel Changi Airport complex.
“We look forward to sharing with passengers and airport visitors the unique Changi Experience in a new way, with an expanded range of world-class facilities, offerings and experiences.”
Best of the rest
While Changi’s seventh award took its winning streak to new heights, there were a number of other honourable mentions.
At number two was Japan’s Tokyo Haneda International airport, up a place from the 2018 awards and ready to welcome the tide of sports fans anticipating the city’s upcoming rugby and athletics tournaments.
Just behind in third was South Korea’s Icheon International.
Japan took three of the top ten places with Central Japan and Narita airports taking sixth and ninth place respectively.
Skytax’s CEO Edward Plaisted said the key factor in the awards was efficiency and increased investment in making security measures more bearable for travellers.
“Basically this year, the last 12 months is about IT, biometrics, processing, how do you speed it up and make it easier for you to get through,” he told CNN.
But, on the whole, airports were improving across the board – guided by customer feedback.
“Airports are now much more savvy about customer complaints and realising the damage that it can do to their reputation,” he said.
Plaisted also congratulated Changi for its achievement of topping the table for yet another year and its “continued popularity with international air travellers.”
2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards
1. Singapore Changi Airport – Singapore
2. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) – Tokyo, Japan
3. Incheon International Airport – Seoul, South Korea
4. Hamad International Airport – Doha, Qatar
5. Hong Kong International Airport – Hong Kong
6. Central Japan International Airport – Bay of Ise, Japan
7. Munich Airport – Munich, Germany
8. London Heathrow Airport – London, UK
9. Narita International Airport – Tokyo, Japan
10. Zurich Airport – Zurich, Switzerland
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