Where Are Australia’s Best Airports?

Where Are Australia’s Best Airports?

Skytrax has announced the winners of the 2013 World Airport Awards, which rate all aspects of an airport from check-in to departure. Find out how Australia fared compared to the rest of the world and which of our airports came out on top.

Airport picture from Tupungato/Shutterstock

The World Airport Awards are conducted annually by the aviation research organisation Skytrax. The results are based on 12.1 million survey questionnaires completed by 108 different nationalities of airline customers spread across 395 airports worldwide. Each airport is assessed across 39 different categories, covering everything from check-in procedure to shopping and security.

This year, Australia failed to place in the Top Ten, with Singapore’s Changi Airport topping the list. Here are the Top Ten airports in full (you can also view the Top 100 here).

The World’s Best Airports:

1. Singapore Changi Airport
2. Incheon International Airport
3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
4. Hong Kong International Airport
5. Beijing Capital International Airport
6. Munich Airport
7. Zurich Airport
8. Vancouver International Airport
9. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
10. London Heathrow Airport

The awards also break down the world’s best airports by region. For Australia/Pacific, New Zealand’s Auckland International Airport pipped Australia to the top post, with Brisbane Airport slotting into second position. Melbourne, Sydney and Gold Coast took out third, fourth and fifth position, respectively. Here’s the full list of best airports in our region.

Best Airports in Australia/Pacific:

1. Auckland International Airport
2. Brisbane Airport
3. Melbourne Airport
4. Sydney Airport
5. Gold Coast Airport
6. Christchurch International Airport
7. Adelaide Airport
8. Perth Airport
9. Honolulu International Airport
10. Wellington International Airport

Naturally, any ‘Best Of’ list is going to be a bit subjective, even when it involves millions of respondents. For instance, some people really enjoy the awe-inspiring opulence of Dubai International Airport, while others highly prefer something smaller and more relaxed. There’s also no indication of how many international airports each respondent has actually visited. Personally, we would have rated Melbourne higher purely for the ease of international/domestic transfers.

In your experience, which Australian airport provides the best service and how does it compare to airports worldwide? Conversely, which airport have you found to be the absolute worst? Let us know in the comments section below.


  • Sydney Airport is a lot better designed than Melbourne Airport. The terminals are more uniformly laid out and easier to navigate, and the rail link provides easy direct access to the CBD.

    • It still has a major drawback in that the domestic and international terminals are so far apart. Parking is pretty bad the the domestic terminal as well, although parking at the international terminal is much better now (if you’re prepared to pay their exorbitant prices).

      • The terminals being far apart is a down side, I agree. Parking has never been too bad at domestic when my colleague and I have driven in, but usually I just catch the train these days.

    • Inside the airport, it’s wonderful, I agree. But the problem comes as soon as you step on to the curb: there’s no cheap, logical way to get to the city.

  • I’ve been to all of them except Honolulu , Wellington and Auckland. Aside from the Gold Coast and Perth, there’s really not much separating them in my opinion.

    Adelaide being one of the newer terminals mentioned there always seems to be pretty quick and easy to get through, though that may be as much due to its size as much as it’s newness.

    Gold Coast airport is too small and always packed every time I seem to be there. Not sure how it rates so highly. Both Christchurch and Adelaide airports are much better.

    Perth definitely deserves to be down the bottom there.

  • putting my hat into the ring for Adelaide airport being higher than at least Sydney. It isn’t huge (you dont have to walk far to the gate when compared to Syd or Bne), domestic and international are in the same terminal so easy transfers, free wifi is great etc. I think Melbourne is needing to be higher than Sydney also. Only bad thing about Adelaide at teh moment is they’re re-doing the carpark/drop off ramps etc, which can make pick up and drop offs slightly congested at the moment.
    I wonder if this data was normalised somehow.

  • Honolulu is kind of cool, with its wikiwiki bus going along the outside of the terminal, between international and domestic. I like it. Even if I’m just changing planes on my way between the US and Australia, it feels like a couple hours of tropical holiday to spend time there. (How many airports can credibly make THAT claim?) Plus, they have a roving pizza hut (pizza hut on a golf cart) if you’re absolutely starving and want something of a known (but not necessarily deluxe) quality level.

    Melbourne has sucky transport options, certainly. But inside the airport, it has decent access to gates with security lines shorter than those I find in Sydney, food options open most hours of the day, and Hotel Krispy Kreme as a cheapskate sleep option for those early flights (just be sure if you use Hotel KK that you purchase something from your full-service mini-bar, aka their takeaway counter, in the morning to ensure continued goodwill toward future guests).

    • I personally am not a big fan of Honolulu, it is very antiquated, the way the gates are laid out is nonsensical, you have to walk through tons of open air areas to get to anywhere (You end up sweating up a storm before you even get on your not shorter than 4 hr long flight) and there is not enough seating inside the gates at times so you have to sit out in the hot and humid in between areas, and if it rains, good luck! I guess it must be ok if you’ve only been there once, but anymore than that and you’ll wish they demolished the whole thing and started again. Also operationally it’s a bit strange since it’s right next to the AirForce Base… whaaaatttt?

      • Each to their own, I suppose. I’ve flown through it 6 or 8 times — not a lot, but not once or twice, either. And I really like its un-airporty (well, at least as close to this as an airport can get), kind of folksy vibe. Proximity-wise, it’s got an interesting layover activity, too — Pearl Harbor is a short cab ride away, and you can go see it on a 4 hour layover, easily.

  • Sydney Airport is the best i’ve been to in Australia. The Free WiFi is very fast, there are a large number of shops and places to eat in every terminal, but the security screening is good for security, inconvenient for the passenger – I have an incident where my bag needs to be opened almost every time i go through it, and not because i’m doing the wrong thing. In one case they thought shaving gel (not foam) was an aerosol, several times they have mistaken my AM/FM travel radio for a laptop computer, and so on.

    Melbourne airport is difficult to navigate and in terms of shopping or eating it’s harder to find what you’re looking for. It needs a smartphone app or a map. It’s also surprising because everything is tiny and miniature in size compared to Adelaide or Sydney. It’s free wifi is the slowest i’ve seen in Australia. Even Maroochydore airport does better.

    Adelaide is a good airport, easy to get around, good but not great free wifi, and easy security screening. It has less choice in terms of eating and shopping, but the Virgin store in there has a very large selection of noise cancelling headphones and noise-isolating plug earphones in all sorts of price ranges, and all at prices only slightly more expensive than ebay (ignoring the fakes on ebay).

  • Shouldn’t one of the factors involved in deciding a good airport be whether planes can actually land at the thing on time? By that scale, Brisbane airport, now operating with a single runway, is a major FAIL. Just take a look at http://www.bne.com.au/arrivals-departures/arrivals-departures to see how many flights are listed as “delayed” or “rescheduled”.

    Oh yeah, and how about a public transport service to the airport that operates when the planes land? Last train leaves the domestic terminal 9:59pm on a weekday. Last plane lands 11:40pm.

  • I have to disagree with both of you about Hobart. I was there earlier in the week and found getting to and from the airport by cab reasonably priced and relatively quick for the distance to cover to the city.
    However, once inside the terminal coming back, it was a good thing I was early; queue out the door for check in (Ok, the area is small) then a snake folding back on itself of people waiting to get through security to a “lounge” with few free seats and less free tables and announcements you had to strain to hear. Even some free WiFi would have sweetened things, but alas, no.
    All adds up to put it bottom of my list.

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