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The best 20 airports in the world for 2020 according to expert reviewers

singapore changi airport indoor waterfall
The Jewel at Singapore Changi Airport.

  • Aviation rating firm Skytrax has released its list of the top 100 airports in the world with European and Asian airports dominating the list.
  • Singapore Changi Airport once again took the top prize for the eight consecutive year.
  • Only one airport in the Americas was in the top 20 with Vancouver International Airport ranking highest in North America and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport highest in the US. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Skytrax has once again named the top 100 airports in the world. 

Now in its 21st year, the air transportation rating firm completed the prestigious list in February, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic took full effect in March and the global aviation system began. Over 550 airports were judged based on 39 categories including terminal comfort, ambience and design; public transport options, efficiency and prices; and friendliness of airport staff.

European and Asian airports earn most of the top spots again this year with airports in North America and Australia earning a mere two spots in the top 20. Asia saw the greatest haul in this year’s list with eight airports across the continent earning spots in the top 10, with airports in Japan alone earning four top 10 spots. 

Airports in the United States failed to crack the top 20, or even the top 30. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport – a hub for United Airlines – ranks 31 followed by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International in the 34 spot and Denver International at 37. Vancouver International was the only airport in the Americas to make the top 20 list.

These airports most likely look different now during the pandemic but are still worth a visit once global travel resumes.

Here’s a closer look at which airports made the cut in the top 20 list. 

20. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Paris’ most well-known international gateway jumped 10 places ahead to earn its spot as the 20th best airport in the world. Air France is the largest carrier at the airport, connecting the world with Paris and also offering connections across European and intercontinental destinations.  

19. Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen Airport fell behind four spots to earn the number 19 spot in this year’s ranking. Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle are the largest carriers at the airport, serving the Danish capital region and the southern edge of Sweden, including nearby Malmo. 

18. Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport

Taiwan Taoyuan Airport
Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport

Taoyuan International Airport fell behind five spots to earn the number 18 spot in this year’s ranking. The northern Taiwan airport serves the country’s capital, Taipei, as the island nation’s primary international gateway and a hub for most of its airlines including China Airlines and EVA Air, Mandarin Airlines, UNI Air, Tigerair Taiwan, and Starlux. 

17. Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport
Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport advanced six positions to gain the number 17 spot in this year’s rankings. One of Australia’s southernmost airports, the airport serves the economic hub of Melbourne and acts a busy international hub for Qantas with Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Regional Express also providing extensive domestic and some international services.

16. Vienna International Airport

Vienna Airport
Vienna International Airport

Vienna International Airport advanced by three spots to earn the number 16 spot in this year’s rankings. Austria’s primary international gateway is a hub for Austrian Airlines and TK.

15. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

Basic Economy
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport gained five places ahead of its 2019 ranking to earn the number 15 spot on this year’s list. Finnair uses the airport as its main hub to connect Finland with the world and also offer intercontinental connections between North America, Europe, and Asia. 

14. Frankfurt Airport

FILE PHOTO: Passengers are seen at Frankfurt Airport as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Frankfurt, Germany, April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
Frankfurt Airport.

Frankfurt Airport fell behind by two places to earn the number 14 spit in this year’s rankings. The primary gateway to the economic hub of Frankfurt, Lufthansa utilizes the airport as one of its two global hubs, the other being Munich Airport in southeastern Germany. 

13. Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver International Airport.

Vancouver International Airport is the only North American airport in the top 20 list, jumping ahead by four spots compared to last year’s ranking to earn the number 13 spot. Air Canada utilizes the airport as a gateway to Asia and Australia thanks to its strategic location on the West Coast with non-stop flights to as far as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hong Kong.  

 

12. London’s Heathrow Airport

London's Heathrow Airport
London’s Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport fell behind four places to earn the number 12 spot in this year’s rankings. As the primary gateway to the economic hub of London, it’s the most desired for foreign carriers and the UK’s top two international carriers, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways, both maintain hubs at the airport.

11. Zurich Airport

Zurich Airport
Zurich Airport.

Zurich Airport fell behind one spot to earn the number 11 spot in this year’s rankings. Swiss International Air Lines utilizes the airport as its main hub, connecting the world with Switzerland and acting as an intercontinental transit point between North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. 

10. Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport.

Kansai International Airport moved up in this year’s ranking by one spot to earn the number 10 spot, making it one of four airports in Japan to make the top 10 list. The two-runway airport is located on a man-made island in Osaka Bay just off the coast of Osaka and acts as a hub for commercial and passenger airlines alike including All Nippon Airways, FedEx Express, Japan Airlines, Peach Aviation, Jetstar Japan, and Nippon Cargo Airlines.

9. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schipol
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol jumped five spots to earn the number nine spot in this year’s ranking. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the airport’s largest airline utilizing it as an intercontinental hub between Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and North America, with low-cost carrier Transavia also calling Schipol home.

8, Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport

Nagoya Airport
Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport.

Chubu Centrair International Airport fell behind two places in this year’s ranking to earn the number eight spot. Another Japanese airport built on a man-made island in Ise Bay just south of Nagoya, the airport is a hub for All Nippon Airways, Jetstar Japan, and AirAsia Japan. 

7. Tokyo’s Narita International Airport

Tokyo Narita Airport
Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

Narita International Airport gained two places in this year’s ranking to earn the number seven spot. One of two international gateways to the Japanese capital of Tokyo, the airport is a hub to numerous airlines including All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Peach Aviation, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Spring Airlines Japan, and ZIPAIR Tokyo.

6. Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport.

The sole airport serving the special autonomous region, passenger airlines call the airport home including Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines, and Hong Kong Express. 

5. Munich Airport

Munich International Airport
Munich Airport.

Munich Airport gained two spots in this year’s ranking to earn the number five spot, Each year, the airport, a hub for Lufthansa, massive forum transforms into a Christmas and winter market with an ice rink, food vendors, and festive programming.

4. Seoul’s Incheon International Airport

Seoul Incheon International Airport
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport.

3. Doha’s Hamad International Airport

Hamad International Airport Doha Qatar
Doha’s Hamad International Airport.

Hamad International Airport gained a pot on the list to earn the number three spot in this year’s ranking. Home to Qatar Airways, the intercontinental hub is the only airport in the Middle East to be featured in the top 20 list and is in the midst of an expansion to accommodate more passengers and operations.

2. Tokyo International Airport

Tokyo Haneda Airport
Tokyo International Airport.

Tokyo International Airport, also known as Haneda International Airport, maintained its number two spot in this year’s ranking. The closest airport to downtown Tokyo, Haneda International Airport is the preferred airport for business travelers and is seeing an influx of new airlines and routes as the Japanese government recently recently relaxed slot rules for the airport that were forcing airlines to use Narita International Airport.

1. Singapore Changi Airport

singapore changi airport indoor waterfall
Singapore Changi Airport.

Singapore Changi Airport once again earned the top prize again this year as the world’s best airport for the eighth consecutive year. The sprawling airport is known for its extravagances including a massive indoor water fountain surrounded by a rainforest, movie theater, and pool, all available for use by passengers. 

As the main gateway to the small island nation of Singapore, it’s home to Singapore Airlines, Jetstar Asia Airways, Scoot, and SilkAir. Changi Airport is also a terminus for the world’s longest flight between Singapore and Newark.  

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