The 2011 World Airport Awards were recently announced by Skytrax, the world's largest airline and airport review site. The awards were based on a customer survey that attracted more than 11.38 million participants. Here are the ten best airports in the world along with a great story for each destination:
1. Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is located less than five flying hours from half of the world's population and is the third busiest international passenger airport in the world. In 2010, some 50.9 million passengers came through, connecting to approximately 160 destinations on about 900 daily flights by over 95 airlines.
2. Singapore Changi Airport
Serving more than 100 international airlines flying to some 200 cities in 60 countries, Changi Airport handles about 5,400 arrivals and departures every week and over 42 million passengers a year (that's more than seven times the size of Singapore's population). With over 130,000 square feet of commercial space, Changi Airport is also one of Singapore's largest shopping locations.
3. Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport in Seoul is the largest airport in South Korea. The airport has a golf course, a spa, private sleeping rooms, an ice skating rink, a casino, indoor gardens, and a Museum of Korean Culture. The main passenger terminal (1.6 million square feet) is the ninth largest passenger terminal in the world.
4. Munich Airport
With around 34.7 million passengers in 2010, Munich is the second-busiest passenger airport in Germany. The airport has its own visitors’ center and is home to the Munich Airport Centre, which is a shopping, business, and recreation facility located between its two terminals.
5. Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Capital International Airport is located 20 miles northeast of Beijing's city center. Terminal 3 building is the second largest airport terminal in the world, and the third largest building in the world by area. Beijing Capital has rapidly climbed the ranks of the world's busiest airports—by 2009 it had become the busiest in Asia and it is now the second busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic.
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6. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe's fifth largest. Schiphol has large shopping areas both landside and airside. The Schiphol Plaza shopping center, located before customs, is popular with both air passengers and non-travelling visitors.
7. Zurich Airport
Zurich Airport is located about seven miles from downtown Zurich. The airport is served by approximately 60 airlines and charter services flying all over the globe. Zurich Airport offers a large selection of shops, restaurants, and services, with over 180 companies employing more than 20,000 people at the airport. The train system at Zurich Airport connects passengers to destinations all over Switzerland, making it one of the most convenient airports for travel within central Europe.
8. Auckland International Airport
Auckland Airport is the major connection between the world and New Zealand. Over 70 percent of visitors enter or leave New Zealand via Auckland Airport, which handles over 13 million passengers a year. More than 20 international airlines serve the airport, which is the Australia/Pacific region's second busiest International airport.
9. Kuala Lumpur International Airport
One of Asia's major aviation hubs and a destination in itself, this airport is located approximately 30 miles from the capital city. The main terminal building was designed using the concept of "airport in the forest, forest in the airport," and is surrounded by green space. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is capable of handling 35 million passengers, and is one of the first Asia Pacific airports to become 100 percent bar-coded boarding pass capable.
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10. Copenhagen Airport
Only 12 minutes from the heart of Copenhagen, the distance from the train platform to the check-in counters is about 300 feet. Airside, passengers have access to 50 shops, 15 restaurants and bars, conference facilities, a hotel area, and a sauna.