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As the world’s largest airports battle to claim the “world’s busiest” title it’s often smaller airports serving fewer than 20 million annual passengers that are better positioned to provide superior service to travelers.

Smaller airports took many of the top spots on Airports Council International’s list of airports providing the best service to passengers in terms of quality and speed of access, check-in, security, facilities, food and beverage, and retail — although some busy airports defied this stereotype and earned high marks.

The association’s survey of passengers, used to determine awards, determined that Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland offers the best service for a European airport and Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana is North America’s overall best airport for service quality.

Bjorn Oli Hauksson, Managing Director of Isavia, Keflavik’s management company, said “It is particularly pleasing to see that we have been able to maintain such high standards despite the pressures of the busiest year in the history of the Airport.”

In the Middle East, passengers chose Amman, Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport, and in Africa Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Port Louis, Mauritius was chosen. For the Latin America-Caribbean region Ecuador’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil won for best service. These five airports serve less than 10 million passengers per year but one of the world’s busiest airports, Seoul-Incheon International, garnered an award as well.

Serving more than 40 million passengers per year, Seoul-Incheon was not only voted the Asia-Pacific region’s best overall airport for service quality, it was also voted the best airport for service quality for airports serving more than 40 million passengers per year. Larger airports such as Dubai International, Beijing Capital International, Singapore Changi, and Moscow Sheremetyevo International also won awards for their service to passengers.

The category for airports making the most improvement to service saw airports with less than 20 million annual passengers rank the highest. San Antonio International Airport for North America, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India for Asia-Pacific and Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for Latin America-Caribbean took top honors.

Best Airports for Service Quality by Region (First Place)

Region Airport Location
Africa Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport Port Louis, Mauritius
Asia-Pacific Seoul-Incheon International Airport Seoul, South Korea
Europe Keflavik International Airport Reykjavik, Iceland
Latin America-Caribbean José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport Guayaquil, Ecuador
Middle East Queen Alia International Airport Amman, Jordan
North America Indianapolis International Airport Indianapolis, Indiana

Best Airports for Service Quality by Size (First Place)

Number of Passengers Airport Location
2 to 5 Million José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport Guayaquil, Ecuador
5 to 15 Million Haikou Meilan International Airport Haikou, Hainan Province, China
15 to 25 Million Seoul Gimpo International Airport Seoul, South Korea
25 to 40 Million Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi, India
More than 40 Million Seoul-Incheon International Airport Seoul, South Korea

Best Airports for Service Quality for Improvement by Region (First Place)

Region Airport Location
Africa Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport Port Louis, Mauritius
Asia-Pacific Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Kolkata, India
Europe Pulkovo International Airport St. Petersburg, Russia
Latin America-Caribbean Las Américas International Airport Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Middle East Queen Alia International Airport Amman, Jordan
North America San Antonio International Airport San Antonio, Texas

Source: Airports Council International

Photo Credit: Travel experts touring Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland. Skift