The best airports in Spain

The traditional World Airport Awards from the British consultancy Skytrax have just been announced, listing the 100 best airports of the year according to an extensive list of criteria (see below). In this post we tell you which are the best airports in Spain on the list.

Good news for Spain

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In 2023, for the first time, a Spanish airport appears in the top 10 of the list.

Similarly, four other Spanish airports appear in this ranking, consolidating our country as one of the countries with the most presences in the world top 100.

This ranking is created taking into account the user experience, so it is based on the result of a survey where thousands of people were consulted.

Spanish airports in the top 100

These are the best airports in Spain according to the Skytrax study:

Barajas Airport, Madrid

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The best located airport in this ranking of 100 participants is the Madrid Barajas Airport (Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas), in Madrid, which occupies the 10th position on the list.

The air terminal with the highest volume of passengers in Spain (50.6 million passengers in 2022) has four terminals and an approximate area of 138,000 m2. Inside it houses very varied spaces for leisure, with restaurants, bars, children’s area and also chapels and mosques.

It has areas with free Wi-Fi connection for users. In addition, it has rooms that you can rent by the hour and thus rest comfortably while you wait for your flight.

Barcelona El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport

Also known as El Prat Airport, this air terminal appears in position 34 of the 100 best airports in the world.

It has an endless commercial offer for its 41.6 million passengers (2022), making walking through its corridors a tourist experience in itself.

In the impressive 674,000 m2 that cover its two terminals you will find 8 Duty Free stores, 71 Duty Paid stores, 2 luxury stores, 43 restaurants and a currency exchange by the Spanish exchange company, Global Exchange.

It houses various VIP lounges with facilities such as a gym, prayer areas, spa, hairdresser, showers and much more.

In addition, it is possible to spend the night or simply rest comfortably at this airport in the Air Rooms, quite well-equipped and not very expensive rooms.

Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport

For the second consecutive year, Malaga Airport is among the 100 best in the world.

This time we find it in position number 78.

It is an airport that offers its visitors (18.4 million passengers in 2022) all possible comforts. Something to highlight is that it has a 1,200 m2 multipurpose room where any type of event can be held.

In total, the entire building occupies an area of 250,000 m². Here you will find shops of all kinds, be they clothing or souvenirs, restaurants, exchange houses and travel agencies.

It has a taxi service where you can reserve vehicles with a capacity of up to 18 passengers.

Its façade is made entirely of glass and reaches 225 meters in height, which allows the entry of a large amount of natural light.

El Altet Airport, Alicante

Making its second appearance among the best in the world, we find Alicante Airport in position 90.

It is a fairly modern and relatively small terminal, with an approximate area of 135,000 m2. Inside it has cafeterias and shops of all kinds for its 13.2 million annual passengers in 2022.

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One point to note is that boarding is done directly to the plane and not at the foot of the runway. This is one of the details that have made this airport begin to appear among the best in the world.

Palma de Majorca Airport

The fifth best positioned Spanish airport in the world ranking is the Palma de Mallorca air terminal and third by number of passengers with 28.5 million in 2022 (source Aena statistics).

Ranked 91st, this airport is a busy terminal receiving a large number of both domestic and international flights.

A service that stands out at this airport is transportation. You can easily go by bus to any part of the island, although it also has a taxi system.

It has all the typical amenities of a top 100 airport in the world, such as free Wi-Fi, VIP lounges and a wide variety of shops and restaurants.

How crowded are the best airports in Spain?

Curiously, the 5 best airports in Spain are also the most visited in the country.

According to AENA, the Spanish public company that manages airports, during 2022:

  • A total of 50,633,652 passengers were mobilized in Madrid Barajas.
  • Barcelona was the second busiest airport during 2022, reaching 41,639,622 passengers.
  • Third on the list is the Palma de Mallorca Son San Joan airport, which handled 28,573,364 passengers in 2022.
  • The fourth place is for the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which in 2022 registered a transit of 18,457,194 passengers.
  • For its part, Alicante Airport registered a total of 13,202,880 passengers in 2022.

What criteria does Skytrax consider to prepare the list?

Since 1999 Skytrax has carried out surveys focused on customer satisfaction at airports.

For this study they select people of more than 100 different nationalities and more than 550 airports around the world are evaluated.

None of the airports selected within the study are required to pay a membership fee to Skytrax. On the contrary, this consultancy is a benchmark of quality in the world airport industry and the airports that enter the top can use a logo that certifies them as one of the 100 best.

Some of the categories present in the survey are:

Terrestrial connections

  • How to get to and from the airport.
  • Public transportation options.
  • Availability and prices of taxis.
  • Availability of luggage carts.

Design and comfort

  • Comfort, setting and design of the terminal.
  • Cleaning of floors, seats and public areas.
  • Seat availability.

Immigration and security

  • Waiting times, system and efficiency.
  • Attitude of immigration personnel.
  • Efficiency of security controls.
  • Options for family security control.
  • Check-in facilities.

Internal facilities

  • Terminal signage.
  • Flight information screens.
  • Clarity in boarding calls.
  • Friendly airport staff.
  • Airport staff language skills.
  • Ease of internal transit.
  • VIP rooms.

Commercial and recreational areas

What changes have there been compared to last year?

To date, 2023 is presented as the best year for Spanish airports. Although in 2022 these five air terminals already appeared in the list of the best airports in Spain, today we can see them occupying better positions.

In fact, it is the first time that we can see a Spanish airport among the best 10 in the world, since in 2022, Barajas Airport ranked 16th.

For its part, Málaga advanced from position 97 to 78. This means that from one year to the next it climbed no less than 19 positions.

Alicante and Palma de Mallorca also improved their position this year compared to 2022. Alicante rose from 98 to 90 and Mallorca from 100 to 91.

The only negative note is taken by the Barcelona Airport. Although he remains among the best in the world, today he does so from box number 34, when in 2022 he ranked 23rd.

About the World Airport Awards

The World Airport Awards were born in 1999 as an effort to collect the experience of airport users around the world and that this information serve as a reference to improve the quality and services provided in air terminals.

This survey of services, carried out by Skytrax, has gained a lot of relevance and today is a reference when it comes to giving an opinion on the world’s airports.

The top ten 2022 world airports are:

  • Position 1: Changi Airport (Singapore).
  • Position 2: Doha Hamad Airport (Qatar).
  • Position 3: Tokyo Haneda Airport (Japan).
  • Position 4: Incheon International Airport (South Korea).
  • Position 5: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (France).
  • Position 6: Istanbul Airport (Türkiye).
  • Position 7: International Airport of Munich-Franz Josef Strauss (Germany).
  • Position 8: Zurich Airport, (Switzerland).
  • Position 9: Narita International Airport, (Japan).
  • Position 10: Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas International Airport (Spain).
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