Singapore still loves Changi Airport, even if it’s no longer ‘the world’s best’

A drop-off point at Changi Airport. Photo: Shawn Ang
A drop-off point at Changi Airport. Photo: Shawn Ang

Singaporeans love their Changi and will continue to worship the airport’s achievements, even if it’s no longer officially the world’s best.

After the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, dethroned Changi Airport, breaking its eight-year streak as No. 1 in an annual aviation ranking, Singaporeans reacted today with a shrug.

“Doesn’t matter. Up till now, Changi is the only one that has won 8 times in a row. Not easy to achieve. Should be proud of that,” Kaede Kimura Loh wrote online in reaction to the news.

On Thursday, aviation ranking service Skytrax elevated Doha from No. 3 to the top spot. Defending champion Changi dropped to third place just after Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

“It’s okay Changi Airport. … [Y]ou set a record by far.. one that make us all proud. We will come back.. and we will come back harder,” Gamz Dust wrote.

Changi did, fortunately, rank first for having the World’s Best Airport Staff. This year’s list took into account how airports responded to the pandemic, and Doha proved itself to be “undeterred” by travel disruptions and continued to expand while implementing health and safety protocols.

“The 2021 World Airport Awards recognise the efforts of global airports in adapting and meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Skytrax wrote. “The past 18 months has been the most challenging and financially difficult period ever experienced by the world air transport industry, and airports have invested to provide the safest possible environment for their customers and staff during the global pandemic.” 

Earlier this year, Changi Airport was the source of a COVID-19 outbreak eventually linked to more than 100 cases, leading to its partial closure for one month.  

Other notable airports included that of Istanbul, which was named World’s Most Improved Airport, rising in the ranks from No. 102 to No. 17, while China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport was named Best Airport in China.

Changi Airport had held the top spot from 2013 to 2020. According to reports, the airport saw a 99% drop in passengers following May’s outbreak, and an overall traffic dip from 68.3 million in 2019 to 11.8 million last year.

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