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Global Study Ranks World's Most Efficient Airports

Global Study Ranks World's Most Efficient Airports

Courtesy of UBC

Efficiency in Atlanta, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul and Vancouver mean savings for air travelers

Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the most efficient airport in the world, according to a comprehensive ranking of global airports, conducted by a team of international aviation academics at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.

The ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Report compares the operational and management efficiency, as well as cost competitiveness of 195 airports and 26 airport groups in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Among airports serving more than 15 million passengers per year, Copenhagen, Seoul Gimpo and Sydney led their respective continents in overall efficiency, while Vancouver International Airport was Canada's top performer.

"Our report finds that the highly efficient airports are more likely to get a large share of total revenues from concession and other retail activities, parking, office rentals, and real estate development," says UBC Sauder School of Business Prof. Tae Oum, who led the study. "We can also see that airports that outsource terminal services, ground handling and other services also achieve high efficiency."

Oum says the benchmarking report shows that more efficient airports offer lower aircraft landing fees and passenger terminal charges, leaving more money in travellers' pockets.

Atlanta generated 63 per cent of its total revenue from non-aviation activities, compared to the average of North American airports, which derived about 50 per cent of their income from the alternative sources. This marks the tenth year Atlanta has placed first in the rankings.

View the study's key findings here (PDF)

The World's Most Efficient International Airports

North America:
More than 15 million annual passengers

1. Hartsfield--Jackson Atlanta International Airport (USA)
2. Minneapolis -St. Paul International Airport (USA)
3. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (USA)

Fewer than 15 million annual passengers

1. Oklahoma City World Airport (USA)
2. Richmond International Airport (USA)
3. Raleigh-Durham International Airport (USA)

More than 15 million annual passengers

1. Copenhagen Kastrup International Airport (Denmark)
2. Athens International Airport (Greece)
3. Zurich Airport (Switzerland)

Fewer than 15 million annual passengers

1. Geneve International Airport (Switzerland)
2. Basel Airport (Switzerland)
3. Nice Airport (France)


1. Seoul-Gimpo International Airport (South Korea)
2. Incheon International Airport (South Korea)
3. Guam International Airport (Guam)


1. Sydney Airport (Australia)
2. Auckland International Airport (New Zealand)
3. Townsville Airport (Australia)


The Air Transport Research Society, headquartered at UBC's Sauder School of Business, was established in 1995 to advance research on global issues on air transportation, and to conn between international aviation academics.

ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Report, which first launched in 2000, is the most comprehensive independent evaluation of global airport performance. The rankings are used by airport and airlines executives, governments, consultants, institutional investors and researchers.

The report ranks management efficiency using a ratio that divides the output index (total number of aircraft movements, passenger and cargo volumes and non-aeronautical revenue generation) by the input index, which consists of full-time equivalent employees and other operational inputs, including outsourced services.