Doha’s Hamad International Airport has just been named the best airport in the world, at the Skytrax 2021 World Airport Awards. It’s the first time in eight years that Singapore Changi Airport hasn’t been on top spot.
Singapore Changi drops to number three, with Tokyo Haneda up at number two. Seoul Incheon and Tokyo Narita make up the top five.
The annual Skytrax awards are voted for by customers in a huge global airport satisfaction survey, running from August 2020 to July 2021. Tokyo Haneda also took away the gong for the world’s Cleanest Airport, Istanbul Airport was the Most Improved, and Quito was ranked highest for airports with less than 2 million annual visitors.
Munich, Zurich, London Heathrow, Kansai International (Osaka, Japan) and Hong Kong are the other entries in the top ten. This is the full World Airport Awards top 100 list.
Ranking airports is more difficult for this year’s awards, given the dramatic drop in passenger numbers and also the shift in focus due to Covid. Health and hygeine are now much bigger factors, plus all airports have made changes to their procedures due to Covid.
So Skytrax also introduced the Covid-19 Airport Excellence Awards, recognising but not ranking 39 airports who reached the highest standards in areas like enhanced cleaning, social distancing and customer safety.
Customers rated airports on factors like availability of hand sanitiser, social distancing at check in and security, information signposting, and washroom cleanliness.
Among the 39 are Alicante, Baku, Bogota, Houston, Jakarta, Malta, Oslo, Rome Fiumicino, Sydney and Vancouver. All 39 winners are listed alphabetically here, along with more information about the methodology.
By ranking and awarding so many airports, the awards also highlighted the best in class, both by annual passengers numbers and continent.
Cape Town was best airport in Africa 2021, Melbourne took away the prize for Australia/Pacific, Delhi won Central Asia and India, Guangzhou won China, Vancouver was number one in North America and Quito in South America.
Skytrax only publishes lists of the top recognised airports, so they don’t show a ranking system going all the way down to the worst airport in the world. And worst airport in the world is such a subjective thing – everybody has their own choice. What’s good to see is how airports are adapting to a new normal and being celebrated for their improvements.