Singapore Changi voted region's best airport

The rivalry between Hong Kong and Singapore sees a change at the top as FinanceAsia's annual business travel poll asks readers about their favourite places to fly.

Singapore’s gleaming Changi International Airport has overtaken Hong Kong International Airport as Asia’s favourite airport for executive flyers, according to FinanceAsia’s latest annual survey of business travellers.

Rival Cathay Pacific, though, comes out top on the two blue-ribbon business routes from Asia to New York and London, thanks to its fully flat seats with direct aisle access. The Hong Kong-based carrier also comes top in the best airport lounge category.Some things haven't changed though. Singapore Airlines reigns supreme again, topping the charts for first-class and business-class air travel after working with Michelin-starred chefs to add a bit more culinary expertise and finesse to its in-flight meals.

The survey of 257 frequent Asian flyers, almost half of whom spend between 21 and 50 nights a year in hotels, was conducted over a two-month period at the turn of the year and reinforces among other things just how welcome a cold beer is after a tough day globetrotting on business.

Cathay's Pier lounge in HK

In spite of a relatively lacklustre first six-month period as the various air incidents of 2014 – including that of flight MH370 – continued to weigh on regional air traveller sentiment, Changi airport handled a record-breaking 55.4 million passengers last year. Helping matters were 10 new routes, including four to China, which means Singapore now has 32 direct city links to the country. Plans by Singapore Airlines to add new services connecting the Lion City to Dusseldorf, Canberra, and Wellington should also help in 2016.

It’s not all glamour though. The results of FinanceAsia’s annual travel survey suggest that for all the region’s growing affluence, some business travellers in Asia face a less profligate, expenses-happy world than they did prior to the 2008 global financial meltdown, a feeling perhaps reinforced by recent market volatility and China’s anti-graft campaign. Helping Cathay Pacific, meanwhile, is its newly renovated Pier First-Class Lounge in Hong Kong that features amongst other things 14 shower cubicles, eight suites, a la carte dining and a cocktails, a bespoke fragrance plus complementary foot, neck and shoulder massages.

As a result, more than 30% of those polled said they expect to travel more by economy class this year.

The results in detail

Asia's top airports
1 Singapore Changi (pictured)
2 Hong Kong International Airport
3 Incheon (ICN) International Airport

 
Best Business/First-Class Service
1 Singapore Airlines (pictured)
2 Cathay Pacific
3 Emirates

 
Preferred Airline to London
1 Cathay Pacific (pictured)
2 Singapore Airlines
3= British Airways
3= Emirates

 
Preferred Airline to New York
1 Cathay Pacific
2 Singapore Airlines
3 Emirates

Check back next week for part two: the region's finest hotels

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