Asia home to many of the world's best airports as voted by passengers

29 October 2018 4 min. read

Asia Pacific airline bosses have raised the need for continued airport infrastructure investments to meet rising passenger demand, yet according to global surveys Asian airports continue to perform strongly in the eyes of customers.

Held in Seoul last week, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Assembly of Presidents (AAPA) annual gathering of the region’s top airline bosses has concluded with a resolution declaring the need for the expansion of airport infrastructure to meet the expected growth in traffic over the coming 20 years and avoid increasing congestion and flight delays.

Yet, according to commercial aviation research consultancy Skytrax’ international airport survey rankings for 2018, Asia continues to perform strongly in regard to customer satisfaction, with Changi crowned in first place for the sixth year running and local airports claiming five of the top ten spots – a trend that looks set to continue with a growing pipeline of significant infrastructure upgrades for airport in the region.

Taking in the views of 14 million passengers from more than 100 countries across the globe, with international airports assessed on nearly 40 criteria, the Skytrax World Airport Awards have since their inception in 1999 become a global industry benchmark – measuring the quality of up to 500 airports worldwide on everything from process efficiency, terminal comfort, passenger facilities, and staff service.Asia home to many of the world's best airports as voted by passengersSoon to get even grander with its T5 expansion already underway (with the help of Singaporean engineering consultancy Surbana Jurong along with Arup and Mott MacDonald), Singapore’s Changi Airport has once again been awarded the top place for 2018, its sixth consecutive crown and eighth since the launch of the survey – with the airport featuring in the top three worldwide since the award’s inception. According to Skytrax, Changi was especially noted for its efficient operations, amenities and architecture.

With the first placing backed by a number one result in international travel magazine Conde Nest Traveller’s recently released 2018 Readers' Choice Awards, the ongoing accolades for Changi are even more impressive when considering the airport is among the top twenty busiest in the world, catering to more than 60 million passenger movements last year. And that capacity is set to more than double by 2030 on the completion of T5.

Indeed, with the Asia Pacific already receiving nearly a quarter of all international tourist arrivals – with numbers rising at above 6 percent last year – and the management consultancy Oliver Wyman projecting a spike in global travel on the back of growing Asian demand, airports across the region have already been scrambling to add capacity and upgrade facilities, including projects in in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China.

Top airports

Still, existing Asian airports continue to set the global standard for quality, commanding the top four places in the Skytrax rankings and five of the top seven. Following Changi is previous winner Incheon International Airport in Seoul, an annual contender over the past decade which this year reclaimed the second place from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), which in turn dropped back down to third. Completing the top four is Hong Kong International – an eight-time former winner.

Japan also doubles-up in its top-of-the-table representation with Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport, while rounding out the top ten this year are Western European airports Munich, Heathrow, Zurich and Frankfurt, with Qatar’s Doha Hamad International Airport claiming the fifth spot in the minds of passengers around the globe. Altogether, the Asia Pacific is host to 18 of the world’s top 40 rated airports, including Taiwan Taoyuan International, which featured among the world’s most improved.