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Top 5: Best small airports

ACI reveals the best airports serving 2-5 million passengers annually.
A clue to the location of the world's best small airport.
A clue to the location of the world's best small airport.
An important visitor alights at Ottawa International Airport (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images).
An important visitor alights at Ottawa International Airport (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images).
Passengers wait in line at Halifax (George Pimentel/Getty Images).
Passengers wait in line at Halifax (George Pimentel/Getty Images).
Cleaning the runway at Jos? Joaqu?n de Olmedo (STR/AFP/Getty Images).
Cleaning the runway at Jos? Joaqu?n de Olmedo (STR/AFP/Getty Images).
The passport desk at Malta International (Ben Borg Cardona/AFP/Getty Images).
The passport desk at Malta International (Ben Borg Cardona/AFP/Getty Images).
Spanish football players at Sa Carneiro airport in Porto (Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images).
Spanish football players at Sa Carneiro airport in Porto (Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images).

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Airports Council International (ACI) has announced the winners of its annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards for 2010.

The results are based on more than 300,000 passenger surveys completed at participating airports. According to ACI, the survey gives a picture of the entire passenger experience, from the moment of arrival at the airport to the departure gate.

After revealing the best large airports and the overall best airport winners previously, here we take a look at the winners in the ‘small airport’ category. This simply means airports that serve 2-5 million passengers annually.

Find out the winners.

Ottawa (YOW)
Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is located in Riverside South, around 10 km south of Ottawa. It handled 4,473,894 passengers and 172,053 aircraft movements in calendar 2010.

The airport’s current popularity stems from the extensive redevelopment of recent years. A brand new, 650,000 square foot terminal opened in 2003 and all airline passenger traffic was transferred to it.

Further expansion work, which added more gates, began in 2006 and finished in 2008. The interior of the airport is characterised by works of art, copper and limestone finishing, and therapeutic water features.

Halifax (YHZ)
Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airports serves the Halifax and mainland Nova Scotia areas of Eastern Canada. The airport handled 3,508,153 passengers and 87,015 aircraft movements in calendar 2010.

Under a multi-year ‘Airport Improvement Program (AIP)’, improvements have been made to the airport’s domestic and international arrivals areas, car parks, retail areas, roads, taxiways and aprons. Passengers pay a $20 fee to fund the ongoing work.

Like Ottawa, the airport offers United States border pre-clearance. This gives passengers reaching the USA the status of domestic travellers.

Guayaquil (GYE)
José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (formerly ‘Simon Bolivar International’) serves the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.

The airport is around 5 km from the centre of the city and it boasts a modern terminal that opened in late 2006. The airport handled around 3.7 million passengers in 2010. It has annual capacity of around five million passengers per year, a figure that is expected to be reached around 2020.

Once it reaches that capacity, a new airport is scheduled to open in the Daular area further away from the city. The airport consistently comes at or near the top of best airport rankings for South America. Olmedo was a 19th century Ecuadorian poet, mayor of Guayaquil and president of the country.

Malta (MLA)
Malta International is the only airport serving the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. The current terminal opened in 1992.

Malta consistently ranks highly in airport satisfaction surveys, seemingly impressing travelers with its range of shops, facilities and ease of access. It handled around 3.3 million passengers in 2010. The airport recently received a boost when Ryanair made it a base of operations.

Porto (OPO)
Francisco de Sa Carneiro is the international airport serving the Portuguese city of Porto. It was extensively redeveloped around five years ago. Online feedback suggests that the airport is clean, well-lit, efficient and easy to access by metro from the city of Porto.

MORE SPECIAL REPORTS: Top 5: Best large airports; Best airports in the world: ACI survey

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