Hong Kong International Airport was voted the world's best for the seventh year in a annual survey of passengers, with Asian airports dominating the top positions in the list.
The annual survey conducted by Skytrax, a UK-based consultancy, judges airports on more than 40 categories, ranking them after collecting 8.2 million questionnaires completed by passengers over a 10-month time period from 2007 to 2008.
The passengers judged 190 airports on factors like shopping, dining, staff courtesy, baggage delivery and wait-times at security.
Overall, airports in Asia did well. Hong Kong, with its reputation for efficiency and comfort, beat Singapore's Changi Airport and Seoul's Incheon Airport in South Korea, which were ranked second and third respectively.
Hong Kong has held the title of best airport seven times. Only once, in 2006, it was knocked from the No. 1 slot by Singapore's Changi Airport. "In recent years, the whole air travel experience has become much more focused on the time customers spend in the airport environment, and Hong Kong has established itself as a clear passenger favorite in this respect," said Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted in a statement.
Also in the top 10 were airports in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Kansai in Japan.
Munich in Germany was voted the top European airport, ranked fifth in the world, while Copenhagen in Denmark, Zurich, Switzerland, and Helsinki, Finland also made the top 10. Cape Town, South Africa rounded out the list at No. 10.
There were no North American airports in the top 10 list. San Francisco did best, ranked 11th, followed by Vancouver in Canada and Dallas/Forth Worth.
In the Middle East, passengers ranked the best airport for the region as Tel Aviv, followed by Bahrain.
Plaisted said waiting times at security checkpoints was a major cause of passenger discontent.
"Easy transportation, quick check-in, good shopping and dining facilities, clean terminal areas - all the positives can easily be undone when confronted by a 20 minutes security queue, especially if one also finds that only half the security facilities are operational," he said.
Plaisted said total customer satisfaction for many airports had improved in the past year but the financial crisis ahead would impact the airline industry and bring on a rash of operational difficulties, cancelled and consolidated flights and more airlines going under.
"In turn, this will put pressure on airports being able to react to and cope with the pressure points as they arise," he said.