Airports are like mini cities and it is hard to comprehend the numbers of travellers that the top airports deal with each day, never mind the volume of people, luggage and cargo dealt with annually. And it looks set to be a continuing trend with the Airports Council International releasing in its World Airport Traffic Report that the number of passengers worldwide has grown by 6.6 percent to 5.04 billion.
With regard to the busiest airports these come as no surprise with Atlanta, Beijing and London coming top three in relation to passenger traffic.
Atlanta remains the busiest airport in the world dealing with in excess of 92 million passengers. For the purposes of the report a passenger is counted as an individual who arrives in, departs from, or transfers through the airport on a particular day.
Listed below are World's top ten busiest airports:
These figures continue to demonstrate that air travel regardless of the economy, or reason for travelling remains a high priority for the world population, with more routes being added by many Airlines and places that may previously have been inaccessible are now easier to reach.
Listed below are the top 10 fastest growing airports, where numbers in excess of 5 million passengers a year are being handled. This list is perhaps a little more surprising.
At the recent World Airport Awards in Copenhagen, they announced the top 10 airports in the world. The results were complied from a nine month customer survey that involved in excess of 11.38 million participants, from more than 100 different nationalities and took into account over 240 airports worldwide. The survey has been operational since 1999, and is held in high regard for its stringent rules and total independence.
Here are the results of that report.
In total 39 different airport and factor services were taken into account in the survey, including, security and immigration processing, ease of access through the airport and onward transport links from the airport, the design and ambience of the airport terminal, the speed of baggage delivery, check in facilities, shopping and dining facilities, cleanliness and of course level of customer care. This demonstrates that as a passenger we have high expectations of what we expect when travelling and it is encouraging to see many airports continuing to strive to improve their facilities through major refurbishment programs.
As a traveller we expect more from airports when it comes to dining and shopping options, no longer are we happy to just accept fast food on the go. The experience of flying is not just restricted to the actual flight but the overall airport experience with, companies being increasingly aware of this, in Singapore alone airport sales last year were a record high of S$1.5 billion, reflecting a 17% growth. We are a captive audience whilst in the confines of the terminal building. We are now looking for as much from the restaurants and shops found in airports as we would from restaurants to be found in the worlds top cities, and designer shops. Airports also compete for the annual “Best Airport Dining Award”, that was unsurprisingly won by Hong Kong International Airport.
Changi is placed at the top of the worlds airports in relation to annual sales with, Dubai International Airport, London's Heathrow Airport and South Korea's Incheon International Airport all ranking in the top four.
Some airports take the facilities available to a whole other level, surpassing the normal, shopping, dining and leisure facilities available to passengers. At Incheon International Airport, some of the more unusual leisure facilities on offer to its passengers are a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, ice skating rink, a casino, internal gardens together, with a Museum of Korean Culture.
When it comes to scale some of the airport terminals are astounding, the new Terminal 3 building at Beijing Capital International Airport is the 2nd biggest airport terminal in the world, in addition to being the 3rd biggest building in the world in terms of area. The largest single terminal building in the world is Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport. Beijing has become the busiest airport in Asia and is the 2nd busiest airport in the world in relation of the number of passengers. It handles a staggering 73,891,801 passengers annually.
A large number of airport terminals can be bland in design with many having being built in the 1930 – 1940's and demonstrating the favoured art deco style architecture. However, when it comes to certain airports these are in a league of their own and revel in displaying modern and state of the art designs, that may be impressive in prominence, like Baghdad International Airport, whilst others are deemed to be architectural masterpieces, like Terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle (Paris), or Terminal 5 at New York's JFK Airport. Others aspire to emulate the culture of a certain area, for example the terminal at Albuquerque International Support in New Mexico his has been fashioned in the Pueblo Revival manner endorsed by architect John Gaw Meem, in addition to the terminal at Bahias de Huatulco International Airport in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico that incorporates some palapas that are interwoven to construct the airport terminal.
There is no denying that that air travel has evolved a long way since its humble beginnings and we certainly look forward to what the future my hold. Who knows how be may be getting around the world in the coming years.