World's best airport named in annual Skytrax awards

For the second year running Changi Airport in Singapore has been voted World's Best Airport by air travellers. 

The top gong was announced at the 2014 World Airport Awards, held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Barcelona, Spain, Seoul's Incheon International Airport was voted No. 2 and Germany's Munich Airport No. 3.   

Auckland International Airport was named the best airport in the Australia-Pacific region, beating Sydney (2), Brisbane (3) and Melbourne (4).

Skytrax Chief Executive Edward Plaisted says the airport was showing itself to be more than just that. 

"Changi Airport demonstrates how to make the airport experience an enjoyable part of the journey that is so important in today's fast-moving world," Plaisted says in a statement. 

The independent awards, based on 12.85 million customer votes across 110 nationalities of air travellers and 410 airports worldwide evaluates satisfaction including airport service - from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration, through to departure at the gate. 

Changi Airport also took top prize in the category of  Best Airport for Leisure Amenities. 

Highlights at the airport include movie theatres (Terminals 2 and 3), an orchid garden (Terminal 2) and hotel with pools and gym (Terminal 1). 

"This recognition is great motivation for us and spurs us to continue to aim higher," says Changi Airport's chief executive Lee Seow Hiang. 

Singapore's government announced last year that a new terminal would be built that would double the capacity of the airport as it faces increasing competition as a regional hub. The planned Terminal 5 would be as big as the today's airport, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the time.

Changi Airport currently has three terminals with a total capacity of 66 million passengers a year.

In February last year it began demolishing its terminal for budget airlines to replace it with a larger facility.

The replacement facility, Terminal 4, will have the capacity to handle 16 million passengers a year when it opens in 2017.

The airport faces increasing competition from the likes of Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport as a regional hub.

On the 'kangaroo route' from Australia to Europe Changi has been challenged by Dubai's international airport, with Qantas now bypassing Changi for London flights in favour of Dubai as part of the airline's alliance with Emirates.

THE WORLD'S BEST AIRPORTS IN 2014

1. Singapore Changi Airport

2. Incheon International Airport

3. Munich Airport

4. Hong Kong International Airport

5. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

6. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)

7. Beijing Capital International Airport

8. Zurich Airport

9. Vancouver International Airport

10. London Heathrow Airport

with AFP

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