1. Gold Coast Airport
Once serving as an emergency landing area, the Gold Coast Airport has established itself as Australia’s fastest growing international airport and has serviced more than five million passengers this year. The airport scooped up numerous titles in the 2011 Skytrax World Airport Awards poll – a survey completed by 11.38 million airport customers and including more than 240 airports worldwide in its questionnaire – beating out Brisbane and Christchurch for the “Best Regional Airport” award in the Australia/Pacific category, as well as taking top honors over two New Zealand airports for “Staff Service Excellence.” The Australian Airports Association (AAA) named it the “Major Australian Airport of the Year” in 2010. Oh, and the Gold Coast region enjoys approximately 300 days of sunshine per year.
2. Brisbane Airport
Brisbane was named the third-best Australia/Pacific airport in the world by the Skytrax World Airport Awards poll this year, and it was the only Australian airport to make the worldwide Top 25 list in 2010 (coming in at #18). Brisbane is next up to start showing improvements: in late October, they secured a $500 million bank loan for infrastructure upgrades.
3. Melbourne International Airport (Tullamarine)
Ranked in the Top 5 list for the “world’s best airport servicing 15-25 million passengers” by the Airports Council International (ACI), the airport boasts the fourth most-travelled air route in the world (Melbourne to Sydney). Business Traveller Magazine has consistently ranked this airport in its Top 10 list. As of October 2011, service from Melbourne to Guangzhou has doubled to twice-daily flights for convenient travel to China’s capital.
4. Great Barrier Reef Airport – Hamilton Island
The setting for the “Best Job in the World” caretaker gig, Hamilton Island boasts a lively harbour yacht scene and enviable golf courses just minutes from the airport. Service to the island includes daily flights from Melbourne and Cairns, daily lunchtime flights from Sydney, and service from Brisbane twice a day. Corporate jets are welcome.
5. Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport
Australia’s busiest hub, Sydney Airport connects the country to 46 international, 23 domestic interstate and 28 regional destinations. A consistent winner of “Best Airport” and “Top 10 Airports” over the past decade by Skytrax, the World Travel Awards and Condé Nast, what makes that three-hour wait before an international flight worthwhile is the Qantas International First Lounge – think world-class dining, speedy wi-fi, two tech-equipped meeting rooms, and a Payot day spa.
6. Adelaide Airport
The Australian Airport Association (AAA) named the airport “Australia’s Best Capital City Airport” in 2006, followed by a #2 ranking in the Airports Council International’s Top 25 worldwide airport poll in the 5-15 million passengers category. Starting 24 November, Cathay Pacific will offer three non-stop flights per week over the summer to Hong Kong from Adelaide, and an earlier departure time to 36 other international destinations.
7. Canberra Airport
Set within the country’s first 5-star “Australian Excellence” Green Star rated business park at Brindabella Circuit, Canberra Airport is dedicated to sustainable practices. The airport produces its own electricity from natural gas fired generators and favours tri-generation technology to further green its everyday operations. Perhaps Julia Gillard will soon fly a vegie oil-powered jet from the ACT to cross-country meetings.
8. Perth International Airport
Australia’s fourth-busiest airport and one of its largest, Perth Airport serves as the gateway to several international business nations throughout Asia, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, helping earn its consecutive titles for “Australia Major Airport of the Year” awards in 2003 and 2004 by the Australian Airports Association(AAA).
9. Darwin International Airport
The Top End’s busiest airport, approximately 40 flights depart from Darwin International Airport daily. Released in October, a $60 million expansion of the airport will make ita hub for travel to Southeast Asian nations – and a tourist destination within itself. The expansion completion is slated for 2014.
10. Townsville Airport
A bustling North Queensland town within close proximity to Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Townsville Airport services 1.6 million passengers per year. The city centre, located 5 km from the airport, is home to Australia’s largest military base, major seaport and mineral processing plants.