Oslo, Stockholm trail Copenhagen

The Danish capital’s airport is voted the best in Scandinavia

Photo: Dornum72 / Wikimedia Commons Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport is ranked number one in Scandinavia.

Photo: Dornum72 / Wikimedia Commons
Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport is ranked number one in Scandinavia.

Michael Sandelson & Sarah Bostock
The Foreigner

Skytrax’s World Airport Awards 2015 list Copenhagen’s Kastrup (CPH) as the best in both Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) comes third, and Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport (ARN) fourth.

On a global scale, CPH comes in 16th place (17th for 2014), OSL 49th (up two places on last year), and ARN 61st—an improvement on 2014’s 65th position.

Top of the table for 2015 is Singapore Changhai (SIN) for the second year running. In 100th position comes Mauritius’ Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU), which has ascended from its 111th place in 2014’s rankings.

Bogota’s El Dorado Airport (BOG) shows the most significant progress on last year’s table, coming in at 94th after 2014’s 260th position.

“We’re world famous for our coziness and dark wooden floors,” Copenhagen Airport’s Head of Media Relations, Søren H. Nielsen, tells The Foreigner. “But we are most proud of our security facility. The airport won this world ranking twice in a row before Tokyo superseded us this time around. We focus a lot on our customer service, with our own trained security personnel making eye contact with travelers as they go through this area. The last thing they say to passengers is ‘have a pleasant journey,’” Nielsen adds.

Standards of dining and breadth of choice vary somewhat when comparing airports, however.

Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of cruise company Hurtigruten, criticizes what is on offer in Norway. He thinks airports in the Scandinavian country appear as being “a mixture of duty-free shops and takeaways.” Norway’s 46 airports are owned by airports authority Avinor.

“You get better food during a 20-minute ferry ride in Western Norway than you do at Avinor’s airports,” he tells Aftenposten.

Bent Stiansen, owner of and chef at Oslo’s Statholdergaarden, thinks sugar and fat are some of the ingredients that are in most dishes at Oslo Gardermoen.

Pizza Hut, O’Leary’s Sports Bar—with menu items that include hamburgers and spare ribs—and frankfurter- and meatball-serving Franks are some of the places passengers can choose from. Upper Crust sandwich establishment, Seafood Bar, Yo! Sushi, and various other cafes (including Starbucks), bars, and kiosks comprise most of the other food places there.

“There are almost no sensible alternatives [to choose from], Yo! Sushi is probably the only one,” Stiansen says.

Copenhagen’s Kastrup also offers frankfurters (from Steff’s Place). O’Leary’s, Starbucks, Yo! Sushi, pizzas from Gorm’s, as well as Burger King and McDonalds are located at the airport too. However, the airport’s size means there is a wider variety cuisine and places to choose from. These include Jo & the Juice, bakery Lagkagehuset, and Caviar House & Prunier, for those wishing something more exotic.

Things are scheduled to change. Avinor’s Head of Media Relations, Sindre Ånonsen, informs Aftenposten that the T2 Project expansion currently in progress will mean better product, shop, and menu choices. There will also be more focus on Norwegian food.

Oslo airport spokesperson Joacim Westher Andersen tells The Foreigner that that they are aiming to move further up Skytrax’s World Airport Awards tables when T2 is completed. This is scheduled for April 27, 2017.

“We will be looking to improve so that we can challenge CPH as being the best airport in Scandinavia. Gardermoen is a punctual airport with short walking distances and a good variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. SAS also opened up their new domestic lounge here last year, increasing our total number of business lounges to three,” he says.

“Things will improve further when the expansion is finished. We are always looking to improve our service, and one of the newest additions to the OSL family is Felix & Fiona—our new concept for children and families traveling through Oslo Airport.”

This program’s features include footprints on the floor that are more visible, and colors and shapes that show children the way at Family Track in the security area.

“We will be looking at climbing in Skytrax’s rankings when the expansion is completed,” explains Andersen.

A spruce-up is also currently underway in Sweden. The Swedes have chosen to concentrate on Stockholm being an eco-friendly airport, with vehicle restrictions, outdoor activities, and a Jumbo Hostel—a hotel inside a real jumbo jet. They are also planning to claim first place among Scandinavian airports.

“There are things to improve at Arlanda considering that we’re now aiming for the position of being the leading airport in Scandinavia, and we’re working in that direction,” comments Susanne Rundström, External Communications Manager at state-owned airport operator Swedavia.

The company is making large, future-oriented investments, which are mainly in the terminal areas. One reason is because maintenance has been slightly neglected in years gone by, according to her.

“It takes a while to change a perception, which may have been one of a slightly ‘worn’ airport in Arlanda’s case. But that is now rapidly changing, and we’ll be investing approximately 13 billion Swedish kronor in the airport during the next 30 years,” Rundström concludes.

The complete Skytrax World Airport Awards 2015 list can be found at www.worldairportawards.com/Awards/world_airport_rating.html.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the April 24, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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