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Top 10 Airports in the World

An airport is a commercial airfield with other facilities. A landing area consists of an aerially accessible open space with at least one operationally active surface, such as a runway for a plane to take off and land or a helipad. It often includes adjacent utility buildings such as control towers, hangars, and terminals, to maintain and monitor aircraft, typically found at airports. Airport aprons, taxiway bridges, air traffic control centers, passenger amenities including restaurants and lounges, and emergency services are available at larger airports.

Airport operations are exceedingly intricate, involving a complex system of aircraft support services, passenger services, and aircraft control services. As a result, airports can be large employers and vital tourism and transportation hubs. Airports have a variety of laws and safety precautions in place to limit dangers because heavy machinery is used. Furthermore, airports have significant local environmental impacts as big sources of air pollution, noise pollution, and other environmental impacts, making them areas where the environmental effects of aviation are felt most strongly.

Airport terminals are among the most complex and enormous buildings globally, accounting for 15 of the top 50 buildings by floor area. A heliport is a small airport that only serves helicopters. A seaplane base is a type of airfield used by seaplanes and amphibious aircraft. A strip of open water for takeoffs and landings and seaplane docks for tying up are common features of such a base. In addition to incorporating all of the above aspects, an international airport has additional facilities for customs and passport control.

Airport security

Baggage searches, metal screenings of individual passengers, and restrictions prohibiting the possession of any material that may be used as a weapon are all standard procedures at airport security. Since the September 11 attacks and the passage of the Real ID Act in 2005, airport security has risen substantially and become more stringent than before.

Product and services

Premium and VIP services could be available at airports. Express and specialized check-in counters may be part of the premium and VIP services. First and business-class passengers, frequent premium flyers, and members of the airline's clubs are typically the only ones who have access to these amenities. Passengers who belong to a different airline's frequent flyer program may occasionally have access to premium amenities. This might be part of a reciprocal agreement, such as when different airlines are members of the same alliance, or it can be a ruse to lure premium customers away from competitors.

When an airline makes a mistake in managing a passenger, such as unjustified delays or mishandling of checked baggage, these premium services are sometimes supplied to a non-premium traveler.

Food is frequently provided for free or at a discounted rate in airline lounges and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Baristas, bartenders, and gourmet chefs work in several airline lounges. Seating, bathrooms, quiet places, televisions, computers, Wi-Fi and Internet access, and power outlets are common features in lounges where travelers can charge their devices.

Airlines may operate multiple lounges within a single airport terminal to provide ultra-premium clientele, such as first-class passengers, with additional services unavailable to other premium passengers. Multiple lounges may also help to avoid overcrowding in the lounges.

Cargo and freight service

Airports transport freight and passengers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cargo airlines frequently have their own on-site and neighboring infrastructure for transferring packages from the ground to the air.

Cargo Terminal Facilities are where international airports must keep export cargo after customs clearance and before loading onto planes. Similarly, offloaded import cargo must be held in bond until the consignee decides to accept delivery. The airport authorities must set specific areas for inspecting export and import cargo. Airlines or freight forwarding ring agencies may be allocated designated sections or sheds.

There is a landside and an airside at every freight facility. The landside is where exporters and importers distribute and collect shipments through their agents or directly, whereas the airside is where loads are transported to and from aircraft. Furthermore, cargo terminals are separated into three areas: export, import, and interline or trans-shipment.


A link between the passenger facilities and the aircraft, such as jet bridges or airstairs, must be provided for both sets of passengers. Baggage must also be transported from the baggage drop-off to leaving planes and arriving airlines to baggage reclaim.

Customs and immigration services are available at airports that serve international aircraft. However, because some nations have agreements that allow them to travel without going through customs and immigration, such facilities aren't strictly necessary for an international airport. Although many countries have adopted the same degree of security for international and domestic travel in recent years, foreign flights frequently require a higher level of physical security.

When international visitors return to their beloved airports, they'll find a nice surprise: many major hubs took advantage of the pandemic's idleness to freshen up their facilities, refurbishing lounges and extending common areas to provide more social amenities.

So, let's get this list started.

1. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

Top 10 Airports in the World

It's no wonder that Changi has reclaimed the top rank among world airports, given that it's home to our readers' favorite airline, Singapore Airlines, and serves as a convenient hub for dozens of destinations throughout the area. With waterfalls and gardens, open-air decks, and a variety of restaurants, the airport is a destination in and of itself. Self-boarding gates and free and fast Wi-Fi are very popular with travelers, and there's even a swimming pool if you have the time.

2. Istanbul Airport (IST)

Top 10 Airports in the World

The new IST received plaudits for its modern design by Grimshaw Architects, which has won honors for its emphasis on efficiency and sustainability. It opened in 2018 amid tremendous fanfare-and audacious goals to become the world's largest airport. The airport is prepared to take off as a major global player, with high-tech flourishes like a fleet of robots to guide passengers through the 818-million-square-foot terminal and runway capacity to move 90 flights per hour.

3. Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)

Top 10 Airports in the World

Tokyo's Narita International Airport is Japan's principal international airport and a major connecting gateway for visitors from North America to Asia, as it is home to both Japan Air Lines and All Nippon Airways. While it is much further out from the city than Haneda, airport express trains assist reduces travel time from the terminal to downtown to around 40 minutes. The three terminals at Narita provide a variety of duty-free shops and a variety of food alternatives for those in the mood for ramen or sushi. Passengers who need a shower or a wink can hire one of the airport's day rooms; there's even a capsule hotel in the terminal, appropriately dubbed "Nine Hours."

4. Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)

Top 10 Airports in the World

On the reclaimed ground in the port city of Incheon, Seoul's primary international airport debuted 20 years ago and has been developing ever since. In 2018, the airport inaugurated a second passenger terminal as part of its goal to double its capacity to 100 million passengers per year. Incheon International, which primarily serves Korea's two major airlines, Korean and Asiana, earns points for its huge VIP lounges and amenities, including an indoor skating rink, a spa, and a "Cultural Street" featuring local cuisine and dance performances.

5. Hamad International Airport (DOH)

Top 10 Airports in the World

The airport in Doha is a significant connecting hub for Qatar Airways (also a Readers' Choice pick). It has received great praise for its premium amenities, including a variety of lounges and quiet rooms and children's entertainment zones for customers of all airline classes. It can feel more like a resort hotel than a bustling transportation hub at times, with amenities including a fitness center, squash courts, and an indoor swimming pool. Longer layovers can stay at an elegant hotel inside the terminal, offering half-and full-day prices.

6. Dubai International Airport (DXB)

Top 10 Airports in the World

Dubai has one of the world's largest duty-free retail centers, which comes as no surprise given that it has one of the world's largest airports. Scores of international airlines serve it. It has long been a popular stopover point for North American visitors traveling to East Asia or the South Pacific. It is the home of flag carrier Emirates, a Readers' Choice selection. Zen gardens and nap pods are among the amenities that assist guests pass the time during their stay.

7. Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK)

Top 10 Airports in the World

The Menara Airport in Marrakech serves as an excellent introduction to Morocco as the gateway to one of North Africa's most famous tourist destinations; it is convenient to its home city, but it also receives praise from passengers for its "beautiful" design. "You realize you've been transported into Northern Africa the moment you land," one Traveller reader said. "The airport is a clear reflection of the culture."

8. Athens International Airport (ATH)

Top 10 Airports in the World

Athens International, Greece's main airport and the home base of Aegean Airlines, has garnered accolades for its contemporary amenities, easy-to-navigate layout, and convenient placement near the capital. Since the Greek government became one of the first to welcome vaccinated Americans this year, the airport has enjoyed direct flights from important U.S. destinations with American, Delta, United, and now Emirates.

9. Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Top 10 Airports in the World

Zurich is Switzerland's largest international airport and the major hub for Swiss Airlines, which runs business-class and first-class lounges-and those lounges are no joke, with champagne and whiskey bars. The choice of restaurants and bars appeals to readers, and if the weather permits, there is an outside observation deck with expansive views of the runway action.

10. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Top 10 Airports in the World

London Heathrow, one of Europe's biggest airports in terms of passenger volume, continues to increase services and amenities for transit travelers; the retail variety is so outstanding that you could ever wish for a delay. Lovers go to Burberry, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason outposts, and the World of Whiskies shop for its famed Scotch tastings. Those with extra funds can also use a "reserve and collect" option or the airport's free personal shopper service, which has helped Heathrow's reputation among fashionable travelers in recent years.

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