Australia’s best airport named as big changes made to Qantas terminal

Melbourne Airport has been named the best in Australia and the Pacific for the second year in a row.

The bustling airport was awarded the sought-after title at the 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards held in Frankfurt, Germany overnight.

On a global scale, Melbourne was ranked 19th on the prestigious list of the world’s top 100 airports.

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lorie Argus credited her team’s “focus on human interaction” and new amenities and dining and shopping options that opened in the last 12 months.

“Whether you work as the CEO or a cleaner, in customer service or in construction, everyone at Melbourne Airport is committed to enhancing our travellers’ journeys,” she said.

“Our ‘Stepping Forward’ program empowers all airport staff to assist passengers wherever they can, and we think that focus on human interaction is what sets us apart.”

Ms Argus said there were big improvements yet to come including a new runway, new roads and other terminal enhancements.

“We know there is still a lot of work to do, particularly in our international arrivals area, and that’s why we are working with our airline partners on future infrastructure plans, including an expanded international terminal and our third runway,” she said.

“There will be disruptions while we complete these works, but they are essential projects that will ensure we continue to grow in line with our city, and that we remain Australia’s favourite airport destination.”

One of those projects, which changes how Qantas domestic passengers use the airport, has kicked off this week (more on that below).

Melbourne Airport previously won the title in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

At the 2024 ceremony overnight, Adelaide Airport received the award for ‘best regional airport’ in Australia and the Pacific, and Perth Airport accepted the gong for ‘best airport staff service’ in Australia and the Pacific.

On the world list, Brisbane took out spot 32, Perth was ranked 52nd, Sydney was 55th, Adelaide was 65th and Gold Coast was 68th.

Doha’s Hamad International Airport was ranked the best in the world, booting Singapore Changi Airport from the top spot this year, which has previously won 12 times.

South Korea’s Incheon International Airport was ranked third best, followed by Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport, both in Japan’s capital, Tokyo.

Haneda Airport was also awarded world’s cleanest airport, while Narita Airport has the world’s best staff.

The Skytrax World Airport Awards have been going since 1999 and are determined by passengers in an annual global airport customer satisfaction survey, assessing customer service and facilities across more than 570 airports.

The questionnaires were completed by more than 100 nationalities from August 2023 to March 2024.

The Skytrax World Airline Awards, dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry”, are announced mid-year and dished up a sad result for Australia last year.

Qantas was considered the fifth-best airline in the world in 2022 but plummeted 12 spots to be ranked 17 in 2023.

Australia’s largest carrier also lost the title of ‘Best Airline in Australia / Pacific’ to Fiji Airways.

Changes at Qantas’ domestic terminal at Melbourne Airport

This year’s win for Melbourne Airport comes in the same week a major upgrade of security screening technology begins at Qantas’ domestic terminal.

The screening point will be rebuilt with new baggage screening and body scanning technology to bring it into line with Melbourne Airport’s other domestic terminals.

Construction of a new temporary screening point at the eastern end of the Qantas domestic terminal started this week and it will open in August, meaning passengers will no longer need to remove laptops, tablets or aerosols from their carry-on luggage.

Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Jim Parashos asked for patience while they finished transforming the terminal “into one of the best domestic facilities in the world”.

“We have also spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading passenger amenities to increase their capacity, and improve accessibility, including the installation of adult change facilities, all gender bathrooms and assistance animal relief areas,” he said, adding the latest works were the “next piece of the puzzle”.

Mr Parashos warned: “Installing this new security equipment while keeping the terminal operational is a significant logistics challenge, and we thank passengers for their patience and understanding while we undertake this work.”

The project is expected to be completed by December 2025.

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