SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - South Korea's Incheon International Airport was voted the best in the world for 2009 in an annual survey dominated by Asian airports.
The survey, by British-based consultancy Skytrax, covered more than 190 airports and is based on the results from 8.6 million passenger questionnaires completed from 2008 to 2009.
Incheon narrowly beat Hong Kong International Airport, last year's number one which came in second, and Singapore's Changi, which fell to third place this year from number 2 in 2008.
Skytrax said in a statement that the final margins between the top three airports were so narrow that at one stage the company thought it would have a three-way tie for first place in the "World Airport Awards."
"Incheon is an airport that has been in the global top 5 ranking for the World Airport Awards during the past 5-6 years, and it is a great achievement for them to secure this premier mark of customer satisfaction," Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said.
The survey evaluates traveler experiences across 39 different airport service and products, ranging from check-in, arrivals, transfer through to departure at the gate.
Switzerland's Zurich airport was the highest ranked European airport, and was also voted the best in the region, coming in at number 4, while Germany's Munich airport was voted in at number 5, the same position it was in last year.
Japan's Kansai and Centrair Nagoya airports were also among the top 10, as was Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport.
New Zealand's Auckland airport, which was also voted the best in the Australia-Pacific region, rounded up the top 10.
In the regional categories, Dallas/Fort Worth was voted the best airport for North America, Peru's Lima the best for South America and Panama's airport the best in Central America.
Tel Aviv aws voted the Middle East's best airport and Cape Town the best in Africa.
(A list of the world's top 10 airports is on www.airlinequality.com/news/090609_Airports.htm)
Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by David Fox