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Eight Busiest Airports in the World

Today, airports are among the most vital pieces of our global infrastructure. They allow vacationers, business people, and armed forces to reach their destination quickly and safely. They’re complex, multi-faceted entities that employ thousands of workers each. They have a governing body that provides strategic direction and oversees day-to-day operations.

1. Singapore Changi Airport

Whether it's for business or leisure, Singapore's Changi Airport is one of the world's most exciting and engaging airports. It's also a wildly popular destination among locals, thanks to its high-class dining and retail offerings, spectacular art installations, and playful attractions like the Social Tree in Terminal 1.

With a little bit of planning, there's no reason not to make your layover at Changi Airport more than just a brief pit stop between flights. There are countless things to do inside and outside the airport, from air-side gardens and artworks to massage parlours, swimming pools and a nature-themed shopping mall called Jewel.

To get around the airport, you can take the Skytrain people-mover system between all four main terminals. There's also a free shuttle bus service between terminals 1 and 3 that departs every 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi or limousine to drive you from the airport.

2. Hong Kong International Airport

Located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is home to dozens of airlines and serves about 75 million passengers per year. It is one of the major regional trans-shipment centres and passenger hubs in the Asia-Pacific region. Its air cargo operations handled over 7.4 million tons of goods in 2020.

Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 have been redeveloped to provide passengers with an exceptional level of convenience and comfort, while the new SkyPlaza is a thriving commercial complex with a variety of shops and restaurants. 

There is also an extensive selection of lounges at the airport including the Centurion Lounge on Level 2, Plaza Premium First and the Hong Kong Airlines and SkyTeam lounges. There are also plenty of other things to do at the airport that might make your layover go by more quickly. You can watch an IMAX film or play a game of ping-pong, for example.

3. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is Thailand's main international airport, serving over 65 million passengers a year. It is home to Thai Airways and its subsidiaries, as well as regional carriers from Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. The long, low-rise structure resembles a series of wave-like forms, and a huge free-standing control tower sits 132 metres above it. It is the world's largest air hub, and serves as a transit point for flights to destinations in Asia, Oceania and Europe.

Getting to and from the airport is easy, especially if you are using the Airport Rail Link. Hualamphong station is a short walk from the terminal building, and you can take any train that runs to Pattaya or Aranyaprathet. Taxis are available at the airport. Standard taxis can carry two adults and one piece of luggage each, while big ones are capable of carrying three or more people and up to five bags. To hail a taxi, walk to the roofed area outside the airport and follow the signs.

4. Tokyo Narita Airport

Located about 60 kilometers east of central Tokyo, Narita Airport is one of two major international airports serving Japan’s capital. It is also a popular airport for those looking to visit the country’s famous Shinkansen (bullet train) network.

Narita is a pleasant place to spend a long layover, and both of its terminals feature Priority Pass lounges and great plane spotting. In addition, the airport has a few shops and restaurants that are worth visiting. The quickest way to get to Tokyo from Narita is by train, and the most popular choice is the Narita Express service. It takes 53 minutes to get to Tokyo Station and is available with a JR Pass.

Another train option is the Keisei Line, which runs between Narita and Ueno and Nippori stations in Tokyo. The Keisei Skyliner airport express will take you to Ueno in 41 minutes. In the past, passengers arriving at Narita would have to take a bus to the train station, but in 1991, direct rail links were installed between the airport and the three terminals. This is a much more convenient and cost-effective way to get to and from the airport.

5. London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is the main international airport serving the city of London. It is one of the six major international airports in the London airport system and is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings. Located about 15 miles west of central London, the airport provides an excellent range of amenities for passengers. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, pay-as-you-go computer desks with internet access, mobile and laptop charging stations and foreign exchange bureaus open from 05:30 until the last flight departs.

There are also a wide variety of restaurants, bars, fast-food outlets and coffee shops in each terminal. There are also plenty of shopping options, including duty-free outlets, electrical shops and newsagents. There are also a number of hotels within and around the airport, offering accommodation for travellers of all budgets. Yotel is a pod-style hotel that mimics the look of a first-class cabin, while Sofitel and Hilton have direct connections to Terminal 5.

6. Tokyo Haneda Airport

You're getting ready for a multicity flight, and you know you have a tight connection to make. You look at the departure board, and you see a blinking red light next to your flight number. Luckily, Haneda is the world's most punctual airport. In fact, it has earned this title for four straight years.

With its efficient check-in area, clean and welcoming terminals, and excellent food and beverage options, Haneda is an attractive choice for any traveler. This airport also has many services to help travelers, including currency exchange and portable Wi-Fi rental.

There are three terminals at Haneda, and each one is well-equipped for domestic and international flights. In addition, there are a variety of shops and restaurants for those on a layover. There's even a TIAT Sky Road corridor that showcases detailed model planes and informative panels.

7. Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport is the main international gateway to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. With 88 million passengers passing through the airport last year, it is also one of the busiest airports in the world.

The airport operates three terminals, all catering for different airlines and with its own unique attributes to meet your needs - each with a range of facilities that will make you feel relaxed and welcome. These include shops, restaurants and 24-hour food options, mobile charging points, lockers, 24 hour food & drinks options, WiFi, hotels and much more.

If you need to get between the terminals, there is a free shuttle bus available that runs around the clock. Alternatively, you can take the Metro which runs between T1 and T3 every 10 minutes.

8. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Located in France, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, also called Roissy Airport is one of the busiest international airports in Europe. In 2019, the airport handled 76 million passengers and over half a million aircraft operations. CDG's first terminal was designed by Paul Andreu and opened in 1974. This circular building is connected to seven satellite buildings by underground walkways. 

Another unique feature of the airport is its second terminal, which is based on 7 satellite sub-terminals: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F and 2G, each with their own amenities. Nevertheless, they are linked by inter-terminal walkways and the CDGVAL train.

There are several ways to get from CDG to the city center of Paris, but the cheapest and most convenient is the RER B (or "Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 1-3"). This train connects Terminals 1 and 2. It's free but it takes around 50 minutes to reach Paris Gare du Nord.