Top 7 Airports for Shopping

Now we are back to one of our favorites topics: Airports. How many times have you spent in an airports with a lot of time to spend and nothing to do? If you want to do some shopping, I hope you are in one of these airports. Here we have the list for the Top 7 Airports for Shopping:

1. Amsterdam (AMS)

Travelers are hard-pressed to stay bored for long at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS), which claims the first-ever airport library, a full-fledged casino, and a branch of the prestigious Rijksmuseum showcasing Dutch masterpieces. Among the layover offerings are the bank of stores, many of them accessible to everyone via the pre-security Plaza Schiphol (located between all gates) and affordable enough to keep shoppers squarely within their vacation budgets. H&M, showcasing their European line (Arrivals 2), and Mexx (Arrivals 3) supply on-trend, wallet-friendly apparel, while Nike (Arrivals 3) and Crocs (Arrivals 4) give road-weary travelers an excuse to change into a new pair of kicks for the ride home. Amsterdam-based Paolo Salatto supplies upscale dress shoes and heels, leather goods and accessories, and men’s apparel at its three airport locations (Paolo Salatto Luxury Leather Goods in Arrivals 2, and Paolo Salatto Menswear and Paolo Salatto Shoes in Arrivals 3). Appropriately in this city renowned for its vibrant, springtime tulips, Aviflora (Arrivals 2), BLOEM! (Arrivals 4), and Fleurtiek (Plaza Schiphol), each hawk freshly cut blooms, bouquets, and even seeds and bulbs, for souvenirs that last long after the vacation ends. Keep an eye out for seasonal markdowns on big-ticket items like electronics and designer accessories in the See Buy Fly Shop just past security (case in point, the shop slashed prices of Missoni scarves by 40 percent last February).

2. Dubai (DXB)

Dubai Duty Free, or DDF in short, opened its shiny glass doors in Dubai’s International Airport (DXB) in 1983, and is the world’s single largest duty-free operation. The 24-hour tax-free mecca houses over 30 superstores offering a range of quality brands at discounted rates (shoppers can expect to pay anywhere between 10 and 50 percent less here than at city retailers), while its multi-lingual staff and sleek glass-and-steel design have garnered over 70 international awards. The contemporary space is easy to navigate though it spans a whopping 161,000 square feet across three terminals (imagine an additional 58,000 square feet when the airport’s new concourse opens in 2012). Expect the best in designer fashion — Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Cartier — and wine by way of Emporium, a plush lounge and liquor store in Terminal 3, or Le Clos, offering a collection of fine French vintages, also in Terminal 3. Although international fragrances are DDF’s top sellers, local Middle-Eastern perfumes like the woody Amouage, packaged in ornate bottles, are climbing the ranks as hot-ticket items. Gold is also extremely popular with airport shoppers who take advantage of the value pricing for pieces like 20-karat chain necklaces and bracelets. Lucky spenders may also leave with up to $2 million or a pricey sports car, thanks to the airport’s famous monthly drawings and giveaways. The more travelers spend airport shopping, the more raffle tickets they receive (raffle tickets may also be purchased individually). DDF stores accept Euros, United States Dollars, British Pounds, GCC Dinars, and Arab Emirates Dirhams.

3. Frankfurt (FRA)

Frankfurt International Airport is the largest airport in continental Europe and with 250 businesses and 60 different stores (many with multiple airport locations) boasts the shopping to match. Most flights from the U.S. arrive at the airport’s larger Terminal 1, which is where you’ll find the broadest selection of stores, from luxury brands like Etro and Hermès to American favorites like Levi’s and Timberland. Look out for SØR, a Germany-based high-end chain stocking brands like Lacoste and Gant; Pfüller Kidskonzept, for upscale clothes and toys for kids; and Porsche Design, a subsidiary of the car company that offers design-centric briefcases, watches, and even cell phones. Once past security, take advantage of duty-free shopping on the likes of Burberry, Ferragamo, and Swarovski. And if your layover in Frankfurt doesn’t leave sufficient time for retail therapy, you can purchase any item from duty-free online up to 12 hours before your flight then pick it up at the airport.

4. Hong Kong (HKG)

Consistently ranked among the world’s best airports overall, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) gets high marks for design, passenger flow, accessibility, and its superlative offerings for dining, entertainment (3-D theater or round of golf, anyone?), and, best of all, shopping. Given Hong Kong proper’s standing as a standout shopping destination, it’s only fitting that its transit hub would cater to commerce for the more than 50 million passengers who circulate here annually. Airport shoppers flock mainly to the some 160 shops and 40 restaurants of Terminal 1’s (T1’s) Skymart, considered one of the best shopping malls in the city, and a destination in its own right. Predictably, the requisite duty-free shops are on offer, as are plenty of electronics and gadgets stores, but most appealing are the big-name designer boutiques like Burberry, Chanel, Coach, and Versace that turn over in the halls of T1 like the boutiques on Fifth Avenue. In fact, the pioneering airport was the first to debut the likes of Prada and Tiffany and beauty outlets like Giorgio Armani Cosmetics and Kiehl’s. What’s more, airport shoppers can enjoy the peace of mind of a “downtown pricing guarantee,” which ensures that airport pricing remains in line with downtown Hong Kong pricing. Download the nifty iPhone app from the airport’s website to help navigate all of the airport’s shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

5. Johannesburg (ORTIA)

Shopping in South Africa is a treat for craft lovers, objet d’art collectors, bargain shoppers, and souvenir junkies — and thankfully Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) has it all, with a microcosmic collection of the country’s best swag. Editors recently flying out of Jo’burg were pleasantly surprised that the airport merchandise was by and large the same quality crafts found at shops and markets throughout South Africa, and that prices were also comparable (minus the added discounts one can score by bargaining elsewhere in the country). The best airport shops for artsy hand-made goods and home décor — think wooden animal figurines, hand-tooled leather accessories, painted ceramics, and animal-skin rugs — are Indaba and Out of Africa (Terminal A, Duty Free Mall), while Big Five Duty Free (Terminal A) busts with fine jewelry, cosmetics, tobacco, and booze. Be sure to pick up a bottle of South African wine or creamy Amarula liqueur, made from South Africa’s own Marula tree fruit. Plus, ORTIA just underwent a major expansion to prepare for the 2010 FIFA World Cup so travelers can expect a gleaming new international pier with an expanded duty-free mall and new mezzanine lounges. Get the scoop on special sales and promotions before you go by checking out Airport Shopping Safari South Africa ( and get a head start on duty-free shopping via the online store (

6. London (LHR)

Take 84 plus stores, from the ritzy (Gucci, Escada, Dior, Cartier) to the essential (Harrods, Dixons Travel, World Duty Free) and 67 million passing travelers annually, and what do you get? Over a billion in shopping sales per year. Well, at least that’s the formula at London’s Heathrow International Airport (LHR), the third busiest international airport in the world. Even UK knitwear shop Pringle of Scotland has twice the amount of sales per square foot at its small store in Terminal 3 than at its boutiques in central London. In 2008, Heathrow welcomed iconic British department store Harrods in all five terminals — the largest is the two-floor superstore in Terminal 5. Most airport shops are located after security and big-name brands like Burberry and Montblanc have locations in several terminals so no matter where you’re flying, you’re bound to hit at least a few favorites (speaking of favorites, there’s a Jimmy Choo store in Terminal 4). Look out for British designer shops like Kurt Geiger (Terminals 3 and 5), L.K. Bennet (Terminals 1 and 4), and Mulberry (Terminals 1, 3, 4, and 5). Weary travelers can fit in some R&R between shopping sprees in Terminal 5. There’s spa Be Relax, Bar 5, a chic cocktail lounge with some 300 colorful fiber-optic tubes suspended from the ceiling, and gourmet eatery Gordon Ramsay Plane Food.

7. Portland (PDX)

In many ways Portland International Airport is a reflection of the quirky city in which it is found. PDX eschews the rows of luxury boutiques and banal duty-free outlets in favor of local and regional retailers. Be sure to check out the outposts for the famous Portland-based Powell’s Books (Oregon Market, pre-security; Concourse C and D, post-security) and regional women’s-wear retailer cc McKenzie Shoes & Apparel (Oregon Market and Concourse C, pre- and post-security), as well as stores for hometown brands Nike and Columbia Sportswear (Oregon Market). A great souvenir to bring home is a bottle of beer from one of the city’s 36 breweries — pick one up at the Made in Oregon store (Oregon Market; Concourse C and D), along with regional wines and other local products. A double boon for airport shoppers: PDX guarantees prices are no higher than what you’d find at downtown stores, and the state has no sales tax. If you need to grab a quick bite before your flight, try Portland favorites like Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery (Concourse D), Laurelwood Brewing Co. (Concourse A and E), or the Flying Elephants Deli, featuring local Stumptown Coffee (Oregon Market). Unwind prior to takeoff at the new Dragontree Day Spa (Concourse C and D), a local full-service spa which opened in 2010. And if you plan on biking around town like a resident, stop by the airport bike assembly and repair station (lower terminal roadway), also opened in 2010, to speedily assemble and disassemble your wheels before and after your flight.

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Top 7 Worst Airports to Land

It’s been a while since I don’t publish anything about one of my favorite themes, airports. Since we always balanced the information we post between what is good and what is not so good, I believe it now time to publish one of the topics that made me curious for a while now: The Top 7 Worst Airports to Land. Enjoy…

1. Princess Juliana International Airport

Location: Saint Martin, Caribbean

Princess Juliana International Airport serves Saint Maarten, the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin. It is the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean. The airport is famous for its short landing strip — only 2 180 metres/7 152 ft, which is barely enough for heavy jets. Because of this, the planes approach the island flying extremely low, right over Maho Beach. Countless photos of large jets flying at 10-20 m/30-60 ft over relaxing tourists at the beach have been dismissed as fakes many times, but are nevertheless real. For this reason as well it has become a favourite for planespotters. Despite the difficulties in approach, there has been no records of major aviation incidents at the airport.

2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport

Location: Saba, Netherlands Antilles

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is the only airport on the Caribbean island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. It is well known among experienced fliers for the way in which airplanes must approach or take off from the airport.

Yrausquin Airport covers a relatively large portion of the small island of Saba. Some aviation experts are of the general opinion that the airport is one of the most dangerous in the world, despite the fact that no major tragedies have happened at the facility. The airport’s sole runway is marked with an X at each end, to indicate to commercial pilots that the airport is closed for commercial aviation. The danger arises from the airport’s physical position. It is flanked on one side by high hills, and on the other side and at both ends of the runway by cliffs dropping into the sea. This creates the possibility that an airplane might overshoot the runway during landing or takeoff and end up in the sea or on the cliffs.

3. Courchevel

Location: France

Courchevel is the name of a ski area located in the French Alps, the largest linked ski area in the world. It’s airport has a certain degree of infamy in the aviation industry as home to a relatively short runway, with a length of 525 m (1 722 ft) and a gradient of 18.5%. It’s so short that you have to land on an inclined strip to slow down and take off on a decline to pick up enough speed.

Who gets to land here? Well, Pierce Brosnan made the short list. This was the airport used in the opening seen of Tomorrow Never Dies. For the rest of us, private plane, helicopter, or charter are the only ways to go, and your pilot is going to need some serious training before he or she is allowed to land at CVF.

4. Gustaf III Airport

Location: St. Bart, Caribbean

Gustaf III Airport also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport is a public use airport located in the village of St. Jean on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy. Both the airport and the island’s main town of Gustavia are named for King Gustav III of Sweden, under whom Sweden obtained the island from France in 1785 (it was sold back to France in 1878). The airport is served by small regional commercial aircraft and charters. Most visiting aircraft carry fewer than twenty passengers, such as the Twin Otter, a common sight around Saint Barth and throughout the northern West Indies. The short airstrip is at the base of a gentle slope ending directly on the beach. The arrival descent is extremely steep over the hilltop traffic circle and departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers (although small signs advise sunbathers not to lie directly at the end of the runway).

5. Barra International Airport

Location: Barra, Scotland

Barra Airport is the only airport in the world where planes land on the beach. BRR is situated in on the wide beach of Traigh Mhor, on Barra island, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. If you want to fly here commercially you will want to book with British Airways, which flies to Barra from Glasgow and Benbecula.

The airport is literally washed away by the tide once a day, and if you arrive on a late afternoon flight, you may notice a couple of cars in the parking lot with their lights on, which provides pilots some added visibility, since the airport is naturally lit. Needless to say you probably don’t want to hang out at Barra Airport beach, unless you are a aviation junkie, in which case Barra Airport has a fool proof system, as sign that reads: “Keep off the beach. When the windsock is flying and the airport is active.”

6. Madeira Airport

Location: Madeira Island, Portugal

Madeira Airport also known as Funchal Airport and Santa Catarina Airport, is an international airport located near Funchal, Madeira. The airport controls national and international air traffic of the island of Madeira.

The airport was once infamous for its short runway which, surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, made it a tricky landing for even the most experienced of pilots. The original runway was only 1 400 metres in length, but was extended by 400 metres after the TAP Air Portugal Flight 425 incident of 1977 and subsequently rebuilt in 2003, almost doubling the size of the runway, building it out over the ocean. Instead of using landfill, the extension was built on a series of 180 columns, each being about 70m tall.

For the enlargement of the new runway the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award, given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The Outstanding Structures Award is considered to be the “Oscar” for engineering structures in Portugal.

7. Lukla Airport

Location: Nepal

A huge mountain on one end, a thousand meter drop on the other. And it’s at 2 900 meters elevation, so you don’t exactly have full power.

Lukla Airport is a small airport in the Town of Lukla in eastern Nepal. In January 2008, the government of Nepal announced that the airport would be renamed in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, who passed away on January 11, 2008. The airport is quite popular as Lukla is the place where most people start their trek to climb Mount Everest.


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Top 7 Most Delayed Airports

We already published two articles about busy airports: Top 7 Busiest Airports in 2010 and Top 7 Busiest Passenger Air Routes. Because of the traffic and the amount of people that pass in the places, you may think that  any of the airports listed in these two post would easily enter in any list of the most delayed airports, but they are so well organized that they don’t belong to the Top 7 Most Delayed Airports. for our list we included only airports which has the most detailed information. That means that some airports, particularly large hubs in South America, weren’t considered for our list:

1. Indira Gandhi International Airport

Airport code: DEL

Location: New Delhi, India

On-time arrivals: 44.5%

: 12 500 ft

: 776 ft

: 77° 7’ 5” E

: 28° 34’ 10” N

: 733

: +5.5

: Unknown

: Unknown

: Unknown


For the third year in a row, Indira Gandhi International in Delhi, India, appears on our “most delayed” airport list. This year, it appears in both the “worst arrival” and “worst departure” categories. In 2009, 20% of published, scheduled passenger flights at the airport arrived at least 45 minutes late, according to FlightStats’ sampling of flights.

2. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

Airport code: BOM

Location: Mumbai, India

On-time arrivals: 55.9%

: 11 302 ft

: 36 ft

Longitude : 72° 52’ 5” E

Latitude : 19° 5’ 19” N

World Area Code : 733

GMT Offset : +5.5

Telephone : Domestic Terminal (1A/1B) – +91 22 26264000, International Terminal (2A/2C) – +91 22 26813000

Fax : Unknown

Email :

Website :

By 2015, this airport in Mumbai is expected to undergo an infrastructure upgrade that will enable it to handle 40 million passengers annually. It’s India’s busiest, handling 24.3 million passengers in 2008, according to Airports Council International. FlightStats’ data show 15% of sampled flights at the airport in 2009 were at least 45 minutes late.

3. Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (Meenambakkam)

Airport code: IST

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

On-time arrivals: 60.7%

: 9 842 ft

: 157 ft

Longitude : 28° 49’ 16” E

Latitude : 40° 58’ 37” N

World Area Code : 679

GMT Offset : +2.0

Telephone : +90 212 465 55 55

Fax : + 90 212 465 50 50

Email :

Website :

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul’s airport saw nearly 29 million passengers in 2008, according to Airports Council International. But last year, most arrivals didn’t get there on time. According to FlightStats, 17% of all sampled passenger flights here arrived between 15 and 29 minutes late. More than 11% were late by at least 45 minutes.

4. Madras International Airport

Airport code: MAA

Location: Chennai / Madras, India

On-time arrivals: 63.9%

: 12 001 ft

: 52 ft

: 80° 10’ 50” E

: 12° 59’ 40” N

: 733

: +5.5

: 044-2340551

: Unknown

: Unknown


Formerly known as Madras International Airport, Chennai is the third-busiest airport in India, with 10.1 million passengers in 2008, according to Airports Council International. It’s also the country’s third-worst in terms of arrivals. According to FlightStats, nearly 18% of sampled flights at Chennai arrived between 15 and 29 minutes late in 2009. About 10% were more than 45 minutes late.

5. Ontario International Airport

Airport code: ONT

Location: Ontario, California

On-time arrivals: 65.1%

: 12 198 ft

: 944 ft

: 117° 36’ 4” W

: 34° 3’ 22” N

: 67

: -8.0

: Unknown

: Unknown

: Unknown


Ontario, Calif., touts its airport as an efficient alternative to the traffic congestion at nearby Los Angeles International Airport. But at LAX, 81% of all scheduled passenger flights arrived on time in 2009, according to FlightStats. At LA-Ontario, this figure was 65%.

6. Newark Liberty International Airport

Airport code: EWR

Location: Newark, New Jersey

On-time arrivals: 65.4%

: 11 000 ft

: 18 ft

Longitude : 74° 10’ 7” W

Latitude : 40° 41’ 33” N

World Area Code : 21

GMT Offset : -5.0

Telephone : +1 973 961 6000

Fax : Unknown

Email : Unknown

Website :

Inclement weather and crowded airspace are the biggest challenges for airports near and in the Big Apple. According to FlightStats, 18% of the airport’s scheduled passenger flights were at least 45 minutes late in 2009. Not good news for customers of Continental Airlines, which accounts for 50% of Newark’s domestic commercial traffic, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

7. Sharm El Sheikh International Airport

Airport code: SSH

Location: Ras Nasrani, Egypt

On-time arrivals: 66%

: 10 108 ft

: 143 ft

: 34° 23’ 42” E

: 27° 58’ 38” N

: 591

: +2.0

: Unknown

: Unknown

: Unknown

: Unknown

Located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el-Sheik airport’s passenger traffic increased 21% to 7.7 million passengers, according to Airports Council International, from 2007 to 2008. However, if 2009 is any indication, on-time arrivals haven’t kept pace with this growth. Nearly 13% of the commercial passenger flights at Sharm el-Sheikh were at least 45 minutes late, according to FlightStats’ sampling of flights.

Source: Forbes,,
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Top 7 Busiest Passenger Air Routes

Now that we finally started a new topic with some information about airports and airlines (Top 7 Busiest Airports in 2010, Top 7 Best Airports in 2010 and Top 7 World Largest Airlines in 2010), it is now time to check which are the Top 7 Busiest Passenger Air Routes by number of seats flown per month. It is interesting to see that all the routes included in this Top 7 List (considering Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China), are domestic. Other interesting fact about this post is that there is one airport that is common to three routes:

1. Japan

Airport 1: Tokyo International Airport (pictured)

Airport 2: Sapporo-New Chitose Airport

Seats: 1 253 220

Airlines serving: Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air Do

2. South Korea

Airport 1: Seoul-Gimpo Airport (pictured)

Airport 2: Jeju International Airport

Seats: 848 151

Airlines serving: Asiana Airlines, Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Korean Air

3. Japan

Airport 1: Tokyo International Airport

Airport 2: Fukuoka Airport (pictured)

Seats: 811 521

Airlines serving: All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Skymark Airlines

4. Australia

Airport 1: Sidney Airport (pictured)

Airport 2: Melbourne Airport

Seats: 780 932

Airlines serving: Jetstar Airways, Qantas, Tiger Airways Australia, Virgin Blue

5. China

Airport 1: Beijing Capital International Airport (pictured)

Airport 2: Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport

Seats: 689 287

Airlines serving: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines

6. China

Airport 1: Hong Kong International Airport (pictured)

Airport 2: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Seats: 680 915

Airlines serving: Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Dragonair, EVA Air, Hong Kong Airlines

7. Japan

Airport 1: Tokyo International Airport

Airport 2: Naha Airport (pictured)

Seats: 659 166

Airlines serving: All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Japan Transocean Air

Source: Wikipedia

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Top 7 World Largest Airlines in 2010

Following the line of the airports we’ve posted (Top 7 Busiest Airports in 2010 and Top 7 Best Airports in 2010), we should ask ourselves: what is an airport without an airplane? This brings us an opportunity to talk about airplanes and airlines, and for sure the best way to start talking about this subject is to check the Top 7 Largest Airlines.

You might be tempted to think of the biggest airline as the one with the most aircraft, but capacity differences make this reasoning specious. American Eagle, for instance, has more planes than JAL, Qantas or All Nippon, but is nowhere close when it comes to passengers or RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometer), which will be the metric we will use in our list. To explain this better, check this example: one passenger traveling one kilometer equals one RPK. In other words, flying a hundred people from Cape Town to London outscores flying them from Dallas to Phoenix. Except, running Dallas to Phoenix 12 times a day can make up the difference. Thus RPKs account for customer volume, frequency of flights and distances flown:

1. Delta Air Lines

Amount of Passengers: 162 614 714

Main Hub: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (#1 in our Top7 Busiest Airports in 2010)

Headquarter: Atlanta, USA

Fleet size: 726

Ranking by fleet size: 1

Number of destinations: 358

Ranking by number of destinations: 1

2. United Airlines

Amount of Passengers: 145 550 000

Main Hub: O’Hare International Airport

Headquarter: Chicago, USA

Fleet size: 710

Ranking by fleet size: 3

Number of destinations: 230

Ranking by number of destinations: 5

3. Southwest Airlines

Amount of Passengers: 130 948 747

Main Hub: point-to-point transit

Headquarter: Dallas, USA

Fleet size: 550

Ranking by fleet size: 6

Number of destinations: 72

Ranking by number of destinations: no rank (*)

4. American Airlines

Amount of Passengers: 105 163 576

Main Hub: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Headquarter: Dallas – Forth Worth, USA

Fleet size: 625

Ranking by fleet size: 4

Number of destinations: 250

Ranking by number of destinations: 3

5. Lufthansa

Amount of Passengers: 90 173 000

Main Hub: Flughafen Frankfurt am Main

Headquarter: Frankfurt, Germany

Fleet size: 722

Ranking by fleet size: 2

Number of destinations: 202

Ranking by number of destinations: 6

6. China Southern Airlines

Amount of Passengers: 76 500 000

Main Hub: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Headquarter: Guangzhou, China

Fleet size: 340

Ranking by fleet size: 8

Number of destinations: 121

Ranking by number of destinations: 20

7. Ryanair

Amount of Passengers: 72 719 666

Main Hub: Dublin Airport

Headquarter: Dublin, Ireland

Fleet size: 251

Ranking by fleet size: 14

Number of destinations: 153

Ranking by number of destinations: 14

(*) Ranking available only for airlines with 100 or more destinations

Source: Wikipedia,,,
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Top 7 Best Airports in 2010

Last month we published the Top 7 Busiest Airports in 2010. This brought me the opportunity to dig a little bit more about the airport world, making me curious about which are the best airports. After investigating from different sources, we came with the list for the Top 7 Best Airports in 2010:

1. Singapore Changi Airport

Yearly passengers: 37 203 978

Last year’s rank: 3

Special awards: Best Airport Leisure Amenities (#1), Best Airport Immigration Service (#3), Best Airport Shopping (#3), Best International Transit Airport (#2), and Best Airport Dining (#2)

Why it’s awesome: Changi takes passengers to over 200 destinations on more than 90 international airlines and handles about 5 000 arrivals and departures each week. The airport is also home to a nature trail, fitness center, swimming pool, and Singapore’s tallest slide.

With over 40 000 square meters of commercial space, Changi Airport also has Singapore’s largest shopping location.

2. Incheon International Airport

Yearly passengers: 18 767 419

Last year’s rank: 1

Other awards: Best International Transit Airport (#1), Asia Airport Staff Excellence (#1), Best Airport Leisure Amenities (#2), Best Airport Security Processing (#2), Best Airport Cleanliness (#2), and Best Airport Washrooms (#2)

Why it’s awesome: Incheon is the largest airport in South Korea serving passengers with over 70 airlines. The airport features a museum showcasing Korean culture and a center for traditional Korean culture where travelers can enjoy performances while they wait for their connecting flight.

The Incheon International Airport at Seoul airport has unique luxury features such as a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, a casino, and indoor gardens.

Incheon is the main hub for Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Polar Air Cargo. It is connected to the mainland by Incheon International Airport Expressway (Expressway 130), a part of which is Yeongjong Bridge.

The airport is served by frequent bus service from all parts of South Korea as well as by traditional ferry service between Yeongjong pier and Incheon.

Airport limousines operate around the clock from Seoul to Incheon, and several backup highway buses escort people from places within and outside Seoul.

The airport opened for business in early 2001, replacing the older Gimpo International Airport, which now serves only domestic destinations.

3. Hong Kong International Airport

Yearly passengers: 45 558 807

Last year’s rank: 2

Other awards: Best Airport Washrooms (#1) and Best Airport Dining (#1)

Why it’s awesome: Located less than five flying hours from half of the world’s population, Hong Kong’s airport is one of the busiest in the world. The airport also features a nine-hole golf course to pass the time during long layovers.

The Hong Kong International Airport has about 90 airlines operating flights to around 150 destinations worldwide. HKIA also operates one of the world’s largest passenger terminal buildings.

Direct ferry services are available from the airport to various destinations throughout the Pearl River Delta.

The airport saw a passenger movement of 46.1 million in 2009. The airport offers a great shopping and dining experience.

4. Munich Airport

Yearly passengers: 32 681 067

Last year’s rank: 5

Special awards: Best Airport Leisure Amenities (#3), Best International Transit Airport (#3), Best Airport Dining (#3), and Europe Staff Service Excellence (#2)

Why it’s awesome: Munich is Germany’s second busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic (34.73 million in 2008), behind Frankfurt Airport. Passengers enjoy aesthetically pleasing terminals on the walk to the gate. The airport was built in terms of an “airport in the form of an urban landscape.” Many of the walls and ceilings are made of glass, making the airport feel large and open. Most of the airport’s facilities are located in the area between the two runways.

The approach road and railway divide the west part into a southern half, which contains cargo and maintenance facilities and a northern half, which contains mostly administrative buildings, a holiday long-term parking lot and the visitors’ centre.

The Munich Airport Centre is a shopping, business and recreation area that connects the two terminals.

Airport authorities cater to visitors and sight-seers by creating a ‘Visitors Park’ that includes a ‘Visitors Hill’ from which a good view can be obtained of the westerly aircraft apron and Terminal 1.

5. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Yearly passengers: 29 700 000

Last year’s rank: 7

Other awards: Best Airport Immigration Service (#1) and Airport Staff Excellence South East Asia (#1)

Why it’s awesome: Kuala Lumpur is located in the southern corridor of Malaysia and one of Asia’s busiest airports. The main terminal keeps green in mind, an entire section of the rain forest was placed inside the main terminal with the “Airport in the forest, forest in the airport,” idea.

The airport is designed to handle up to 100 million passengers per year.

The runways and buildings cover an area of 100 square kilometers. With its 75 ramp stands, it is capable of handling 120 aircraft movements at a time. There are 216 check-in counters at the airport.

6. Zurich Airport

Yearly passengers: 12 346 361

Last year’s rank: 4

Other awards: Best Baggage Delivery (#1), Best Terminal Cleanliness (#1), and Europe Staff Service Excellence (#3)

Why it’s awesome: The Zurich Airport is Switzerland’s largest international flight gateway and the hub for Swiss airlines. Is located 7 miles north of the Zurich city center. The airport features a porter service where travelers pay a fee and a porter picks up your bag from anywhere in the airport and delivers it to your final destination.

The airport lost a lot of traffic when Swissair shut down its operations. Since Lufthansa took over its successor, Swiss International Air Lines, traffic has started growing again.

Zurich Airport handled 22.1 million passengers in 2008. Skyguide is responsible for all air traffic control at the Zurich airport.

7. Amsterdam Schiphol

Yearly passengers: 43 570 370

Last year’s rank: 8

Special awards: Best Airport Shopping (#2)

Why it’s awesome: Amsterdam airport, Schiphol, is the Netherlands’ main international airport. Opened in 1916 as a military airfield and has now transformed into one of the busiest airports in the world. While travelers wait for their flight departures, they can enjoy a massage or play a game of poker at the casino. It has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attraction for passengers.

Schiphol Plaza is the shopping centre before customs, hence it is used by air travelers and non-traveling visitors.

The Rijksmuseum operates an annex at the airport, offering a small overview of both classical and contemporary art. Admission to the exhibits is free.

Schiphol has its own mortuary, where the dead can be handled and kept before departure or after arrival. Since October 2006, people can also get married at Schiphol.

For aviation enthusiasts, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a large rooftop viewing area, called the Panoramaterras.

Source: Business Rediff, Business Insider

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