Since flyers around the globe can choose where they depart from and arrive at, airports are competing for market share. That’s why the World Airport Awards, the most prestigious annual ranking of the world’s best airports, is a very big deal. While our scanners focus on balancing two of the key performance parameters addressed by the Skytrax survey—passenger safety and convenience—our airport operations friends have many more to manage, including facility comfort, location of bathrooms, and the language skills of their staff.
Ranking results are based on the impressions of nearly 14 million flyers from 105 countries about more than 550 airports.
Spoiler alert: Singapore Changi International Airport earned the #1 spot for the fifth consecutive year. For the sake of suspense, let’s start with #10. Keep scrolling for five honorable mentions.
10. Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Yearly passengers: 61 million
Why it’s awesome: Frankfurt Airport is the fourth-busiest airport in Europe and one of the most important transit hubs in the world. Home base to Lufthansa’s fleet of more than 270 jets, Skytrax reviewers praised FRA for ease of transit between terminals and abundant shopping and dining options. Some, however, have complained of lengthy lines at immigration.
9. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Yearly passengers: 75 million
Why it’s awesome: The world’s third-busiest airport and the largest of the five primary airports serving London, Heathrow is in the midst of a major renovation with the addition of a new Terminal 2 building. It’s eight-year-old Terminal 5 building was named the best airport terminal in the world by Skytrax. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic make Heathrow their main hub.
8. Zurich Airport (ZRH)
Yearly passengers: 27.7 million
Why it’s awesome: Just 8 miles from the heart of Zurich, the airport is home to Swiss International Air Lines and a hub linking Switzerland’s largest city with the rest of the country.
For passengers with an extended layover, Zurich Airport offers bicycle and inline-skate rentals and excursions to the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne.
7. Central Japan International Airport (NGO)
Yearly passengers: 9.8 million
Why it’s awesome: Built on an artificial island in the middle of Ise Bay near the city of Nagoya, Central Japan International (Centrair) is a focus city for Japan Airlines and ANA. Centrair holds the distinction as the best regional airport in the world, featuring 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 you can have a relaxing soak while watching the sunset over the bay.
6. Hamad International Airport (DOH)
Yearly passengers: 30 million
Why it’s awesome: Hamad International opened for business in 2014 and is now home to Qatar Airways. The airport and its 2 terminals sit on 5,400 acres of land and cost $16 billion to construct. Skytrax describes the facility as the “the most architecturally significant terminal complex in the world, as well as being the most luxurious.”
5. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
Yearly passengers: 68.3 million
Why it’s awesome: Built on an artificial island off the coast of Hong Kong, HKG has become one of the most popular facilities in the world since it opened in 1998.
One of the busiest airports in Asia, Hong Kong International serves as the home to Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, and Dragonair.
Be sure to play around at the SkyCity Nine Eagles golf course near Terminal 2.
4. Munich Airport (MUC)
Yearly passengers: 42.3 million
Why it’s awesome: Located northeast of downtown Munich, MUC is one of the busiest airports in Europe and the second-busiest in Germany, after Frankfurt.
Munich serves as a major hub for Air Berlin, Lufthansa, and Condor, and it features airy, glass-heavy architecture. A nearby visitors park features mini golf and a display of historic aircraft.
3. Incheon International Airport (ICN)
Yearly passengers: 49.3 million
Why it’s awesome: Incheon maintains its place as once of the world’s elite airports with a third-place finish. Located on an island just outside of the South Korean capital, Incheon is home base to Korean Air and is the 24th-busiest airport in the world. It opened in 2001.
Incheon’s highly regarded facilities feature an array of shopping and dining options, in addition to a bevy of cultural performances. The airport even has a Korean culture museum.
2. Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)
Yearly passengers: 75.3 million
Why it’s awesome: Haneda is one of two major international airports that serve the Tokyo area. Located a few miles from the heart of the Japanese capital, Haneda has proved to be a popular port of entry for business travelers and tourists.
The world’s fifth-busiest airport, Haneda is known for its service efficiency, cleanliness, and shopping.
1. Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)
Yearly passengers: 55.4 million
Why it’s awesome: For the fifth year in a row, Changi takes the crown as the world’s best airport. Changi serves as home to top airlines Singapore Airlines, Silkair, and Tigerair, and it’s the 16th-busiest airport in the world.
The Singaporean airport has received praise from flyers for its beautiful architecture, efficient operation, luxurious amenities, and dining and shopping options.
Flyers passing through are treated to movie theaters, a multimedia entertainment deck, spas, and a wild corkscrew slide.
11. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)
Yearly passengers: 58.3 million
12. Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Yearly passengers: 25.2 million
Why it’s awesome: Major hub for ANA and Japan Airlines. Skytrax praised Kansai for its modern architecture, clean facilities, and helpful staff. Also the Sky View observation deck affords passengers spectacular views of incoming and outgoing flights.
13. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Yearly passengers: 22.3 million
Why it’s great: Top-ranked airport in North America for the eighth year in a row. Skytrax cited YVR’s friendly staff, high level of organization, and easy access to downtown Vancouver as some of the best things about the airport. Also noteworth are a floatplane terminal and sizable collection of art from the Pacific Northwest.
14. Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)
Yearly passengers: 39.1 million
Why it’s awesome: Located 35 miles outside of Japanese capital, Narita handles most of the international traffic. The airport serves as a major hub for ANA, Japan Airlines, Delta, and United. Skytrax reviewers lauded the airport for its efficient and friendly staff, clean facilities, and abundant dining options.
15. Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
Yearly passengers: 26.6 million
Why it’s awesome: Copenhagen is one of the busiest hubs in northern Europe and is a major base of operations for Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Skytrax reviewers lauded the airport for its clear and well-placed signs and the efficient, though sometimes crowded, facilities.