The subject of which airport is the best in the world is one that often comes up in traveller circles, and much like football can elicit a number of different responses from self-appointed experts. But much like football there is a way to put said experts into their places through genuine competition. In this case it’s the World Cup of airports – the Skytrax Awards.
So, who are Skytrax, and what makes them the experts on all things airport?
Skytrax, who formerly had the catchy roll-off-your-tongue name of “Inflight Research Services”, are a UK-based consultancy that pretty much run an airline and airport ranking service. They take reviews, run forums and chat to people. They were the first to do this, and so declared themselves the masters of the universe and arbiters of who gets to win the Airport World Cup every year.
When did the Skytrax Awards Start?
Despite Al Gore inventing the internet in 1993, it took almost 6 years for Skytrax to come up with the award, which they did in 1999. The inaugural winners of the award? Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which to date has been its only championship.
Could you please give us a condensed history of Airport World Cup still using football analogies?
It would be my pleasure. The initial victory of Amsterdam was to be not only the last European triumph, but the beginning of the awards being dominated by only 3 airports. In 2000 Singapore Changi won its first gold, before HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport) and their golden team of the noughties won 7 out of the next 8 years, including a mammoth 5 year uninterrupted streak. A new player entered the arena in 2009, with Incheon International Airport winning their first award. From 2010 to 2012 all three Asian heavyweights shared one title each, before the current state of dominance by Changi which has won for an unprecedented 6 years in a row now.
What are the current standings?
Hong Kong International Airport 8
Singapore Changi Airport 8
Incheon International Airport 2
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol 1
When is the Skytrax championship held and can I visit?
The annual awards are held every March, with the 2018 World Airport Awards having taken place in Stockholm?
Are you being serious?
Hong Kong is my home airport, and I am very proud that we are the joint most successful airport in the history of the World Cup. Having pissed away my summer thinking England might win the football World Cup, at least the Skytrax awards are something my team can realistically win.
Can I get involved?
Sure you can champ! Here’s the Skytrax website, and their 100 best airports in the world. Next stop the 2019 Championship – can Changi make it 7 in a row?