Airports Council International (ACI) recognizes each year the world's best airports on the basis of surveys conducted by airports. ACI is the voice of the world's airports and created the so-called Airport Service Quality Awards in 2006.
Obviously, it is not an independent body that names the best airports. However, ACI claims that strict quality control procedures and commitment to impartiality are in place.
This is considered sufficient justification to describe the awards as
"prestigious" and "the world’s leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark".
ACI also claims that the awards represent passengers’ views on 34 key service indicators and are an objective and accurate indicator of the top world-wide performing airports.
In 2013 over 350,000 passengers were interviewed prior to boarding their flight and asked to rate their satisfaction with the airport that day so that their experience is current and immediate.
Yet, the results are not always credible. Moscow Sheremetyevo, for example, has been named the best airport in Europe in 2013. Other best airports by region are Cape Town (Africa), Seoul Incheon (Asia-Pacific), Guayaquil (Latin America-Caribbean), Abu Dhabi (Middle East), and Indianapolis (North America).
The best small airports (fewer than 2m passengers per year) are Upington (Africa), Skopje (Europe), Quebec City (North America), Mazatlan (Latin America-Caribbean), and Langkawi (Asia-Pacific).
The best airports by size are Changchun (2-5 million passengers), Haikou (5-15m), Seoul Gimpo (15-25m), Seoul Incheon (25-40m) and Singapore (over 40m passengers).
The awards ceremony will take place in Seoul from May 26-28, 2014.
Related article: "How credible are best airport awards?"