GOLD COAST, Australia — Incheon International Airport was named the best airport in the world by the international airport council for the 11th consecutive year at an awards ceremony in Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday.
The honor comes as Korea’s largest international airport, led by newly appointed CEO Chung Il-young, works on improvements and expansions including a second terminal to be completed next year.
Incheon International Airport won a total of three honors from the Airports Council International. They included top honors in the Asia-Pacific regional category and the over-40 million yearly passenger category, as well as the newly created best airport by size and region category.
The airport has been ranked at the top of ACI’s global rankings since 2005, four years after its opening in 2001. It now services nearly 50 million passengers each year.
The airport service quality rankings are compiled every year by ACI through one-on-one surveys of 550,000 passengers at airports all over the world. The 34 evaluation categories span elements including quality of service, facility maintenance, and efficiency.
“We understand that our airport will undergo some confusion as we prepare to open our second terminal,” Chung told reporters at a luncheon ahead of the awards ceremony. “But we will continue to strive to continue to be the top-ranked airport.”
Chung acknowledged that appropriate management of crises this year would be crucial to Incheon remaining the top global airport. Just in the first three months of 2016, Incheon Airport suffered major freight delays and security breaches that led to a state of emergency management once Chung was appointed in February.
Recently, Incheon was also hit with a backlash due to delays in immigration checks for foreign travelers trying to enter Korea.
“We are doing everything we can to come up with solutions to these problems as soon as possible,” Chung said.
Although Incheon kept its championship title, this year saw a close chase in the rankings by Singapore’s Changi Airport. According to officials from the airport, Changi Airport scored just 0.004 points below Incheon International Airport.
Due to the small difference, Changi was coawarded the best airport by region accolade, the first time this has been done in the ASQ’s history.
Gimpo International Airport, which mainly services domestic flights and short-haul international flights out of Seoul, was also honored Tuesday. It won best airport by size in the 15-25 million annual passengers category for the sixth consecutive year, as well as the best airport by size and region for Asia-Pacific.
Heathrow Airport in the U.K. was named as Incheon’s counterpart in the best airport by size and region category for Europe.
The Airport Service Quality awards took place at the Warner Bros. Movie World in Gold Coast, Australia as part of ACI’s annual Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly.