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Melbourne named best Australian airport at Skytrax awards

written by Jake Nelson | March 16, 2023

Melbourne Airport has been named Skytrax’s best airport in the Australia and Pacific regions, as Singapore Changi dethrones Doha Hamad after two years in the number one spot worldwide.

Melbourne placed 19th on the overall global rankings, up seven places from last year, as well as taking best airport staff in the region. Last year’s regional winner of both categories, Brisbane, slipped one place to 23rd.

According to Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus, the awards are recognition of the airport’s “significant investment” in airfield infrastructure, terminal facilities and staff training.

“Customer service is at the heart of what we do, and we’re incredibly proud of the work our team puts in to give our passengers the best experience they can,” she said.


“Currently much of our focus is on Terminal 1, which we believe will be Australia’s best domestic terminal when upgrade works are completed later this year. Our aim is to be Australia’s favourite airport destination, and these awards suggest we are heading in the right direction.”

Gold Coast Airport – up almost 30 spots to 54th in the rankings – won Best Regional Airport in Australia & Pacific, an award last year taken by Adelaide.

“The recognition that comes with awards at this level not only puts Gold Coast Airport in the spotlight, but it places the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales communities on the world stage,” said Queensland Airports Limited CEO Amelia Evans.

“This has come at a particularly exciting time for Gold Coast Airport, with our new international terminal now open and new global connections on the horizon.”

Australian airports generally put up a mediocre showing in this year’s standings, with Sydney sliding eight places to 49th, Perth down three to 58th, and Adelaide up two to 73rd.

Singapore Changi reclaimed its crown as the world’s best airport after placing second to Qatar’s Doha Hamad International Airport two years running, and was congratulated by Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.

“After being severely hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is pleasing to note that passenger numbers at Changi Airport are now at about 80 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels, and expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024,” he said.

The selection of Doha Hamad in 2021 and 2022 was mired in controversy, with Human Rights Watch slamming Skytrax for awarding the airport “world’s best” after an incident in which airport staff pulled women off planes for invasive genital exams, supposedly to find the mother of an abandoned baby.

Speaking in 2021, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch Rothna Begum said the award signalled a disregard for the “safety and dignity” of women at airports.

“It seems ridiculous that Doha airport could be granted World’s Best Airport, given that in October 2020, the authorities had removed women off planes and forced a number of them to undergo gynecological exams which can amount to sexual assault,” she said.

“While the Qatari authorities issued an apology for the incident and said that they will investigate, there has been no mention of the completion of any such investigation, whether anyone was held to account, or any redress provided to the women concerned.”

Skytrax at the time defended the award as “the customers’ choice”.

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