Changi Airport tops global survey again

Changi Airport has maintained its top spot for the third year running in an annual global survey which polls travellers.

The Singapore airport beat South Korea's Incheon Airport, which took the silver medal, and Munich Airport in Germany, which walked away with bronze.

More than 13 million travellers participated in the Skytrax survey, which is recognised as the industry's biggest exercise. Travellers awarded points for ease of use, accessibility, ease of transfer, passenger facilities and terminal comfort, among other indicators.

Mr Edward Plaisted, chief executive officer of London-based Skytrax, said at the prize-giving ceremony in Paris on Wednesday that, instead of dwelling on earlier successes, Changi "continues to innovate and concentrate on making the customer experience in the airport environment the most enjoyable".

Changi also bagged the best airport award for leisure amenities, which include its music bar lounges, cinemas, music deck, swimming pool, napping and rest areas, and the transit hotels at the terminals.

The airport's chief executive officer, Mr Lee Seow Hiang, said: "This recognition is particularly pleasing for us, as it comes at a time of transformation... We are undertaking a number of significant development projects, including Terminal 4 and Jewel Changi Airport, with some works taking place amid ongoing airport operations."

Terminal 4, or T4, which is being built where the Budget Terminal used to be, will open in 2017, while Jewel - a passenger services-cum-retail structure - is slated for a 2018 launch.

While awards do not make or break airports, they are nice to have, and for Changi, which wants to grow as a hub for intra-Asian and global flights, traveller recognition is important, experts said.

Associate Professor of marketing Seshan Ramaswami, from the Singapore Management University, said: "Winning awards consistently may influence travellers to stop over at Changi instead of other competing airports in the region."

Public recognition also lifts staff morale and pride, which should spur them to do even better, he said. This is important to ensure that Changi continues to do well amid challenges such as a manpower crunch.

The airport, which handled 54.1 million passengers last year, is expected to grow by 3 per cent to 4 per cent a year over the next two decades. This will put a strain on resources, with Changi's total passenger-handling capacity expected to be fully utilised by the time T5 opens in a decade.

"Certainly, there will be challenges," said airport spokesman Robin Goh, who added that Changi will continue to innovate and transform so that it can serve its passengers and partners well.

This article was first published on March 13, 2015.
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