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Why Asia Has The World's Best Airports  
User currently offlineSJC30L From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 59 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10039 times:

Interesting article in a recent Business Week. I did a search so hopefully this is not posted already.

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbi...tent/mar2009/gb20090323_396049.htm

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJbernie From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9926 times:

I would say that one of the benefits for Asia is the massive regional populations, between China & India you have what must be something like 30% or more of the worlds population.

For the US airports, I would expect the biggest issue is that almost all are setup for pre 9/11 security measures and in the post 9/11 world the security restrictions can make things difficult. i.e. at DEN you have limited food options in the main terminal where everyone can go but all the concourse food areas are now off limits unless you can get a pass. Great for the passengers changing planes but not so good for friends/family out there to see people off etc.

In comparison, say with SYD (international terminal), where American post 9/11 style security has been the norm for as long as I can remember (early 80s), almost all facilities are in the unrestricted zones and beyond customs you only have duty free shopping and the like.


User currently offlineLipeGIG From Brazil, joined May 2005, 11365 posts, RR: 59
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9918 times:
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Quoting Jbernie (Reply 1):
I would say that one of the benefits for Asia is the massive regional populations, between China & India you have what must be something like 30% or more of the worlds population.

I would say is more about a massive recent development in terms of aviation and in general, also. This demanded new airports and allowed many countries to build state-of-the-art installations with all new technologies and equipments now available.
In the opposite, US and European airports are getting only marginal growing, and can't afford to update all airports at one time.



New York + Rio de Janeiro = One of the best combinations !
User currently onlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6264 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9862 times:



Quoting Jbernie (Reply 1):
For the US airports, I would expect the biggest issue is that almost all are setup for pre 9/11 security measures and in the post 9/11 world the security restrictions can make things difficult. i.e. at DEN you have limited food options in the main terminal where everyone can go but all the concourse food areas are now off limits unless you can get a pass. Great for the passengers changing planes but not so good for friends/family out there to see people off etc.

On my first Asian tavel last year (SQ1 from SFO to SIN), I was suprised that, when they let us off of the plane at HKG, you had to go outside security to get back on (!). Of course, my wife and I found the Starbuck's that's outside the secure area. We didn't even think about the liquids ban, and took our drinks with us through security. We were monentarily detained by a very large, angry Chinese security guard (who's English we couldn't really understand) who demanded that we finish our lattes before being allowed to continue back to the boarding gate for our flight...  Wow!



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineSJC30L From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9844 times:



Quoting Jbernie (Reply 1):
For the US airports, I would expect the biggest issue is that almost all are setup for pre 9/11 security measures and in the post 9/11 world the security restrictions can make things difficult. i.e. at DEN you have limited food options in the main terminal where everyone can go but all the concourse food areas are now off limits unless you can get a pass. Great for the passengers changing planes but not so good for friends/family out there to see people off etc.

Agreed. It will be interesting to see how the new Terminal B here in SJC turns out when it opens mid 2010. It will be one of the first US airports I'm aware of that will have been designed and built in the post-9/11 era. Hopefully some of the 9/11-retrofit issues the other airports have had to implement will be addressed with a completely new design here.


User currently offlineAdam42185 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 408 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9637 times:



Quoting LipeGIG (Reply 2):
I would say is more about a massive recent development in terms of aviation and in general, also.

 checkmark 

IIRC in China alone there are something like 100 medium to large commercial airports that are either in construction now or were recently constructed in the past few years. They are all brand new in every aspect and designed for efficiency.


User currently offlineAnonms From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 606 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9592 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
We didn't even think about the liquids ban, and took our drinks with us through security. We were monentarily detained by a very large, angry Chinese security guard (who's English we couldn't really understand) who demanded that we finish our lattes before being allowed to continue back to the boarding gate for our flight...

I was traveling back to the states from Japan a day after the liquids ban started, and we were thirsty post-security. The manager of one of the post-security stores sold us bottled water on the condition that we finished them before we left the store.

Quoting SJC30L (Reply 4):
It will be interesting to see how the new Terminal B here in SJC turns out when it opens mid 2010. It will be one of the first US airports I'm aware of that will have been designed and built in the post-9/11 era. Hopefully some of the 9/11-retrofit issues the other airports have had to implement will be addressed with a completely new design here.

I thought B6's T5 was designed post-9/11.

That said, there are terminals that have adapted rather well to post-9/11 security measures. SFO's international terminal has two food courts outside of security and mostly duty-free shopping post-security, and the checkpoints aren't usually too over-crowded (at least IMO) during peak hours despite the terminal having opened a year before 9/11.



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User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9536 times:



Quoting SJC30L (Reply 4):
Agreed. It will be interesting to see how the new Terminal B here in SJC turns out when it opens mid 2010. It will be one of the first US airports I'm aware of that will have been designed and built in the post-9/11 era. Hopefully some of the 9/11-retrofit issues the other airports have had to implement will be addressed with a completely new design here.

JAX, which is about on the same scale as SJC's terminal and is also O&D focused, is now open. To be honest, the difference in post-9/11 design isn't huge. There's enough room for security, and the lack of CTX machines in the ticketing lobby is nice, but plenty of airports which have not built new terminals were able to do those two things.

MDW, one of the last airports designed pre-9/11, has an extremely functional security checkpoint now.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMcr From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9525 times:
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Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
We didn't even think about the liquids ban, and took our drinks with us through security. We were monentarily detained by a very large, angry Chinese security guard (who's English we couldn't really understand) who demanded that we finish our lattes before being allowed to continue back to the boarding gate for our flight...

Monetarily detained? You mean you had to bribe them to go through?  Smile


User currently onlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6264 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9437 times:



Quoting Mcr (Reply 8):
Monetarily detained? You mean you had to bribe them to go through?

Nah, just chug down tall Starbuck's lattes (they aren't nearly as enjoyable when you drink them quickly). Our flight was departing in 30 min. The going thing in Asia for liquids ban violations seems to be to make you drink your drink in front of the security guards...my wife's brother-in-law (whom we were going to visit) had warned us about that, but after a 15 hour flight in economy, that departed the US at 1 in the morning, neither one of us was really thinking about this.

I wish I could have just said "My wife's blueberry scone for your troubles and we'll be on our way Big grin ". That would have put me in the dog house for a day or two, though  Wink



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinePITops From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1442 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9395 times:



Quoting Anonms (Reply 6):
I thought B6's T5 was designed post-9/11.

So was IND.



Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4737 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 9207 times:
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Quoting SJC30L (Reply 4):
Agreed. It will be interesting to see how the new Terminal B here in SJC turns out when it opens mid 2010.

Terminal A is a perfect example of a relatively new terminal built pre-9/11 that just couldn't handle the post-9/11 environment. That place was completely backwards operationally when I worked there in '04-'05. That new terminal should be a huge relief to all.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineJbernie From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8953 times:

I haven't travelled to that many US airports but from what I saw of SEA it seems to be a great airport once you clear security, but from what I saw and I can't say I went exploring it would appear to be rather lacking if you aren't traveling and just want time with family before they leave.

If the original design was open with lots of facilities in the main concourse/terminal area and the building design allowed them to not block everything off for the checkpoit I am sure many could still be quite functional and friendly.

When we were in SYD/MEL in 07 we flew SYD-MEL and my parents had lunch with us in the domestic terminal, we all went through security and there was no requirement to have a pass of any sort, it seemed to be a more common sense approach but maybe at least in SYD where domestic & international are in two completely separate not connected buildings it makes it easier to allow this.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
On my first Asian tavel last year (SQ1 from SFO to SIN), I was suprised that, when they let us off of the plane at HKG, you had to go outside security to get back on (!). Of course, my wife and I found the Starbuck's that's outside the secure area. We didn't even think about the liquids ban, and took our drinks with us through security. We were monentarily detained by a very large, angry Chinese security guard (who's English we couldn't really understand) who demanded that we finish our lattes before being allowed to continue back to the boarding gate for our flight...

hehe.. well, consider if you had tried it in the USA & based on the reputation TSA seems to have you might have fared worse than just drinking coffee quickly. A tall is 11 oz or so right? maybe for the next trip you need some small liquid holders to smuggle that contraband starbucks through  Smile


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29680 posts, RR: 84
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 8842 times:
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Quoting Jbernie (Reply 12):
I haven't traveled to that many US airports but from what I saw of SEA it seems to be a great airport once you clear security, but from what I saw and I can't say I went exploring it would appear to be rather lacking if you aren't traveling and just want time with family before they leave.

The recent upgrades to the central terminal area and the new Concourse A are nice. Concourse C and D are showing their age (having been rebuilt well over a decade ago). Alas, the North and South Satellites are really showing their age, as they have seen little upgrades since their construction.


User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1991 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 8745 times:

Apart from the points made in the article, Asia has the good fortune of developing a few decades later than the West. Just like with other forms of infrastructure (trains, highways), the Asians are fortunate in that they can study what's been done in Europe and North America and make use of the very best, most proven designs, and go even further by applying their own unique concepts of hospitality and stellar service.

Their airports didn't really start to boom until the 1980s, which is the same time that large infrastructure projects became exceptionally difficult to implement in the West. Asia's governments have been lucky to be able to design and build huge airports without much controversy (NRT being the notable exception of course, and the new BKK was more a victim of bureaucracy than anything else.) By comparison, Heathrow's T5 took more than twenty years from start to finish, and the architects wound up having to go with a much smaller and less impressive design.

Who knows, in 20 years it might be Africa and India that are constructing the biggest, most impressive airports. I won't hold my breath, although India is off to a decent start with the new HYD and BLR.

Quoting SJC30L (Reply 4):
It will be one of the first US airports I'm aware of that will have been designed and built in the post-9/11 era. Hopefully some of the 9/11-retrofit issues the other airports have had to implement will be addressed with a completely new design here.

As PITops said, IND is another. The new IND is gorgeous and (along with the new SFO international terminal, IMHO) is one of only a few US airports that comes close to rivaling those in Asia. There's so much space at IND now - huge security checkpoints, high ceiling and an absolutely gorgeous main lobby that's on par with the vast open spaces of HKG, ICN or PEK (on a smaller scale, of course!)

Sadly, IND is more of an O&D airport, so it's mainly going to be a nice place for Indianapolis residents to start and end their journeys.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 7):

MDW, one of the last airports designed pre-9/11, has an extremely functional security checkpoint now.

That's the truth! Poor MDW had such bad luck. The new terminal was spacious and fantastic for about five months. Then 9/11 came, and suddenly the lobby was full of baggage screening equipment that took up almost all the circulation space. Putting the security checkpoint on the Cicero Avenue bridge turned out to be a bad idea as well, and it took a major expansion to set things right.

Still, the new digs are a HUGE improvement over the old cinderblock terminal. I can't even imagine what that place would have been like post-9/11.


User currently offlineSJC30L From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8378 times:

With all of the big $$ Emirates is spending on A380s to fly people thru Dubai, I would think a airport like DXB should be on the list soon.

User currently offlineArticulatexpat From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2006, 156 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8251 times:

One other point that hasn't been discussed yet is South Korea's unique geographical and economic situation. It's a relatively small country (the size of Indiana) wedged between much larger competitors, Japan and China. Because it's the southern half of a peninsula, the northern half of which is occupied by a bellicose neighbor run by lunatics, it has to try twice as hard in some ways. Otherwise, in global terms, it would be easy to overlook. So the Koreans have a vested interest in getting the airport right: it's a way to put the country's best face forward. And, apart from the remote location and time necessary to get there (which will improve once the airport train is finished), it's a damn good airport.

This being Asia, and face being important here, the neighbors must outdo one another whenever possible, or at least make a respectable effort. This is particularly evident when you look at Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi and KLIA (both of which I like very much, KL in particular). Even Phnom Penh has an outstanding little airport: functional, clean, new, and not a bad place to enjoy a coffee while you wait for your flight.


User currently offlineTennis69 From Qatar, joined Apr 2007, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8080 times:
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The best thing about Asia airports is that they seperate arriving and departing pax. Such a simple concept, yet the folks running airports in the US have failed to see the logic in this way of operating.

User currently offlineAFGMEL From Australia, joined Jul 2007, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8004 times:

I have to agree, outstanding airports that I have visited would be ICN, new HKG (although as an enthusiast I did love flying into the old one) KUL and even SIN.

India was universally bad (as at 2007) except that they had the fastest baggage handlers I have ever seen. Almost without exception the bags were on the carousel before or just after we arrived then. MAA being an exception due to long queues.

Compared to the airports here with the possible begrudging exception of BNE, no contest, mostly average at best. My home airport of MEL in international arrivals is a thing of shame.

US and Europe, notable ghastly airports I have visited are LHR (T3 and T4), CDG, CIA, ROM. I haven't been everywhere though. AMS was a pleasure. In the US , LAX, JFK, SFO, HNL were not pleasant and those who think the US does everything better should travel more. As somebody said, SEA wasn't too bad.

The Asian airports I have seen win out every time.



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User currently offlineAirlineCritic From Finland, joined Mar 2009, 679 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7639 times:



Quoting Jbernie (Reply 1):
For the US airports, I would expect the biggest issue is that almost all are setup for pre 9/11 security measures and in the post 9/11 world the security restrictions can make things difficult.

This is one factor, but there are many others, too.

To begin with, most U.S. airports appear to have the same architectural and interior design. And that design is depressing. Just compare to Hong Kong, Peking, Munich, or to name a U.S. counterexample, San Francisco.

U.S. airports do not seem to be as shopping centered as airports elsewhere in the world. I wonder why?

Most of the airports mentioned in the article are in tough international competition for transit passengers. The same applies to many European airports as well, such as Munich, Helsinki-Vantaa, London-Heathrow, etc. If you want to succeed in the competition, you HAVE to have an efficient and nice airport. Whereas international transit is almost unheard of in the U.S.


User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1639 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (5 years 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6613 times:



Quoting Jsnww81 (Reply 14):
Who knows, in 20 years it might be Africa and India that are constructing the biggest, most impressive airports. I won't hold my breath, although India is off to a decent start with the new HYD and BLR.

Good point about African airports.
The new terminal at Bole in ADD looks quite neat, and the airport in Banjul, The Gambia was recently featured in a magazine and also looks quite good.
CAI, despite being outdated is functional enough, and has been for 50 years.

Interesting to note (or not interesting- Wink that DMM (King Fahd Int'l in Dammam, KSA) wasn't mentioned. It was a grossly expensive project, and is the world's largest airport by size. Although the infrastructure and design is quite pleasant, and is lightyears away from the old facility at Dhahran (now closed) it is too big-far too big-and just shows that biggest and most expensive doesn't always mean it's one of the best.


User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3759 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (5 years 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5780 times:



Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 19):
U.S. airports do not seem to be as shopping centered as airports elsewhere in the world. I wonder why?

I'd say that's because in the US, airports are mostly built around domestic operations, thus making duty-free shopping impossible. OTOH, in my experience the international terminals don't have much shopping either. I don't mind; booze, candy and tobacco seems to be what people mostly buy anyway.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineJfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8090 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (5 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5309 times:
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Asia's new airports are financed by newly rich Asian TIGER economies. They want travelers to feel they have reached a world class destination symbolizing their countries arrival to such status. Many Asian airlines have grown tremendously with teh older airports bursting uncapable of handling the capacity needed. Kai Tek and HKG new airport are examples of this. HKG is what airports should be.

Many new Asian airports also have prominent arquitects like I.M. Pei, macking them statemets for teh nations they represent. The first new Asian airport was Changi in Singapore.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 23, posted (5 years 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5055 times:



Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 19):
Most of the airports mentioned in the article are in tough international competition for transit passengers. The same applies to many European airports as well, such as Munich, Helsinki-Vantaa, London-Heathrow, etc. If you want to succeed in the competition, you HAVE to have an efficient and nice airport. Whereas international transit is almost unheard of in the U.S.

Interestingly, though, there are some super-nice airports abroad that don't handle that many transit passengers. SCL is one that springs to mind; there are only a handful of cities to which a convenient international transfer over SCL is possible (MDZ, BRC, COR).



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (5 years 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4317 times:



Quoting SJC30L (Thread starter):
Interesting article in a recent Business Week. I did a search so hopefully this is not posted already.

I dont even have to read the article..its because the airports are all new. Look at Asian cities like KUL. They are all modern


25 Zeke : I think in a lot of countries in Asia it goes past just the airports, the whole integrated public transport systems are efficient, clean, and well use
26 Cubsrule : Interesting point, and one that I think is true. If you look around the world at airports in places besides Asia that are really nice, they tend to b
27 Kevin : Here in Canada airports are a far cry from what they are in SIN, HKG, KUL... YVR is not that bad, YYZ iz OK although being in it does not give you tha
28 Australis : For me, most Asian nations want to give people who enter their country a first impression that will last the whole visit and that mostly starts at the
29 Post contains links FatmirJusufi : Also I wonder why Asia has the most successful airlines? http://www.worldairlineawards.com/ Fatmir
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