Africa’s best airport: And the winner is…

South African airports trumped other airports on the continent in the Skytrax 2011 World Airport Awards.

OR Tambo International Airport

OR Tambo International Airport

Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International was named the best airport in Africa, followed by Cape Town International and Durban’s new King Shaka International. OR Tambo also came second globally in the Most Improved Airport category.

OR Tambo caters for more than 17 million passengers each year and is the air transport hub of Southern Africa. The airport plays a vital role in the city’s and Gauteng province’s economy, and boasts an impressive infrastructure that has expanded by thousands of square metres from its modest origins.

The World Airport Awards is based on 11.38 million survey questionnaires completed by over 100 different nationalities of airline passengers in 2010/2011, covering more than 240 airports worldwide. The survey evaluates traveller experiences across 39 different airport service and product factors – from check-in, arrivals, transfer through to departure at the gate.

Cape Town took the first place in the Staff Service Excellence Award for the Africa region, followed by OR Tambo and King Shaka, in second and third positions respectively.

Two North African airports featured in the continent’s Best Regional Airport department, a new category for 2011 that recognises smaller airports that are delivering the highest levels of service and customer satisfaction. Although King Shaka airport took the top honours, Marrakech Menara airport in Morroco and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, snapped up the second and third places respectively. The definition of a regional airport varies around the world, but for the sake of the survey it was defined as a major airport that does not serve a capital city and is not a major hub serving long haul intercontinental routes.

Mozambique makes a surprise appearance in the category that recognises Africa’s best airport hotel, with the Southern Sun Maputo featuring in fourth place. OR Tambo’s InterContinental and Garden Court hotels secured the first and second places respectively. Cairo’s Novotel is in third position, while the Iberotel Cairo Airport Hotel came in fifth. Guests were asked to nominate their favourite airport hotel based on a wide ranging criteria that included comfort and cleanliness of rooms, standard of food and beverage outlets and most importantly, the quality of staff service.

Overall Hong Kong International Airport was named as the world’s best airport by air travellers across the globe.