There are approximately 44,000 airports around the world serving millions of travelers each day. While many are built with eye-candy architecture, only a few truly stand out and make waiting for your flight a slightly more bearable experience. This guide to the world’s best airports is based on the 2010 Skytrax World Airport Awards, based on millions of completed survey interviews. It’s interesting to note that no U.S. airports made the top 10 list last year.
10. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
A newcomer in the top 10, Suvarnabhumi Airport is an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand which opened September of 2006. Its name “Suvarnabhumi” was chosen by King Bhumibol Adulyadej which means “the golden kingdom”. In 2009, the airport catered to 40.5 million passengers making it the fifth busiest airport in Asia.
Fun fact: Suvarnabhumi Airport currently has the world’s tallest control tower standing at 434 feet.
9. Auckland International Airport, Mangere, New Zealand
Locally known as Mangere Airport, the Auckland International Airport ranked as the ninth best airport, a step higher from 2009’s results. Over 13 million passengers frequent the airport each year for both domestic and international flights. This number is expected to double by 2025.
Fun fact: The airport has a capacity of approximately 45 flight movements per hour.
8. Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, China
Another entry from Asia, the Beijing Capital International Airport leaped from the 17th spot in 2009 to 8th in 2010. The airport was originally constructed in 1958 with one small terminal building which continues to stand today. Its most recent renovation in 2008 added Terminal 3 which is the second largest airport terminal in the world.
Fun fact: Beijing Capital’s Terminal 3 is also the third largest building in the world by area.
7. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
Seventh on the list is Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport. Officially known as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, this international airport is Europe’s fourth largest airport in terms of total passenger traffic with 45.3 million passengers in 2010. Schiphol has large shopping areas and even has its own mortuary.
Fun fact: Schiphol has also hosted weddings since 2006.
6. Zurich Airport, Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich Airport came in sixth on the list for 2010, dropping 2 spots from the prior year. A total of 22.1 million passengers travelled through this airport in 2008.
Fun fact: Zurich Airport has been consistently included in best airport lists and has been a recipient of numerous awards in recent years.
5. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Selangor, West Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of Southeast Asia’s largest airports capable of handling 35 million passengers each year. The airport site itself spans 100 square kilometers, making it one of the largest sites in the world as well.
Fun fact: Kuala Lumpur International Airport cost RM8.5 billion or US$3.5 billion to build .
4. Munich Airport, Munich, Germany
Earning the fourth spot on the list is Munich Airport, formally known as Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport. In1995,the airport served approximately 15 million passengers a year. Thisnumber grew to more than 30 million in 2006. Despite these figures, Munich airport is only the second busiest airport in Germany in terms of passenger traffic;Frankfurt Airport is the busiest.
Fun fact: The airport has a “Visitors Park” for sight-seers.
3. Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
Sliding down a spot, but still in the top 3, Hong Kong International Airport opened in 1998, succeeding the closed Kai Tak airport. In its 12 years of operation, the airport has won seven Skytrax World Airport Awards for customer satisfaction.
Fun fact: In 2009, Hong Kong International Airport became the second busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo traffic, handling 3,384,765 tons of cargo.
2. Incheon International Airport, Incheon, South Korea
Awarded as the world’s best airport in 2009, Incheon International Airport (IIA) is the largest airport in South Korea. IIA has also received numerous awards including Airports Council International’s best airport in the world, winning consecutively since 2005 and has received a full 5-star rating from Skytrax. Amenities include a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, a casino, indoor gardens and a Museum of Korean Culture.
Fun fact: Only IIA, Hong Kong International Airport, and Singapore Changi Airport enjoy a 5-star rating from Skytrax.
1. Singapore Changi Airport, Changi, Singapore
Earning the title as world’s best airport for 2010, Changi Airport handled over 42 million passengers for the year making it the 5th busiest airport in Asia and 21st in the world in terms of passenger traffic. The airport currently serves 96 airlines with flights to 60 countries and territories worldwide.
Fun fact: Changi Airport has been known as one of the world’s best since its opening in 1981 and in 2009 alone, the airport has received 27 “Best” awards.
All images courtesy of Wikipedia.
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