Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review – Part 1

narita-airport-vs-klia2-review-part-1 Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review - Part 1

Following my previous airport review between KLIA2 and Don Mueang Bangkok[1], many have asked for my reviews of other airports in the region. 
Here is my first part of the Narita Airport vs KLIA2 review, which is a three part series, and also a congratulatory to KLIA2 for winning some awards. 
My mission in doing these airport reviews is to help raise awareness about the state of airport services, which many travellers are taking for granted, and by doing so provide constructive feedback to the relevant parties – without bias and prejudice.

Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review

narita-airport-vs-klia2-review-part-1-1 Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review - Part 1
The systematic planning at Narita Airport.

In March of 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting Narita International Airport in Tokyo, and acquainted myself with its Terminal 3, which is dedicated for low cost carriers.

The timing was so good that it was around this time that Skytrax announced its world’s best airports awards, including for low cost carrier terminals – LCCTs. 
What I found very interesting was both Narita T3 and and KLIA2 were rated Top 3 best LCCTs in the world, which is quite an achievement if you ask me. 
Two other very popular Japanese airports took the top spots, and the Top 3 Best LCCT for 2019 are;
No. 1 – Osaka Kansai T2
No. 2 – Narita Airport T3
No. 3 – KLIA2 
Why do I say this? Well, KLIA as our main international airport could only afford the 54th spot among world’s best airports. Obviously, something wrong is being done to reach that position. 
For the record, Narita International was at No 9, and our closest neighbor Singapore Changi was again at No 1, and I do not blame the latter as they really go all out to woo passengers into Singapore. 
World’s Best Airport By Passenger Numbers

narita-airport-vs-klia2-review-part-1-2 Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review - Part 1
A view of KLIA Airport in Malaysia.

However, if we go by passenger numbers, KLIA is not too bad after all, where we ranked at No 4 for the 50-60 million passengers category[2].  

That sounds like a lot of passengers going through KLIA in the last year alone, and I believe they are trying to up that number to move one more tier up to the 60-70 million passengers category.

And over on the AirHelp Airport Ranking 2019[3] site, KLIA comes in at a whopping number 120 with a score of 6.75 out of 10.

AirHelp focuses on passenger experiences, where the site ranks on-time performance, service quality and facilities as the main criteria.

On another airport ranking site called World Airport Codes, KLIA again comes in at Number 24, out of the Top 30 Airports in the World[4]

narita-airport-vs-klia2-review-part-1-3 Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review - Part 1
KLIA Ranks No.54 in the Top 100 Airports in the World for 2019.
This is one category that all airports want to be ranked in, which is the Top 10 Airports in the region, and just so you know, KLIA never did make the list. I wonder what happened here.

Notice how Japan has four airports listed in the list of Top 10 Airport in Asia? 

  1. Singapore Changi
  2. Tokyo Haneda
  3. Seoul Incheon
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Centrair Nagoya
  6. Tokyo Narita
  7. Kansai
  8. Taiwan Taoyuan
  9. Shanghai Hongqiao
  10. Seoul Gimpo
narita-airport-vs-klia2-review-part-1-4 Narita Airport vs KLIA2 Review - Part 1
The 2019 Skytrax Awards.

Back to KLIA2, for some strange reason, Malaysia Airports, who operates the airport, had on several occasions (and in media interviews) earlier claimed that KLIA2 was not an LCCT.

But when the news was out that they had won the 3rd place in Skytrax’s awards, they were congratulating themselves, and even took to social media on this. 
The conflicting statements aside, yes as Malaysians I have to say that we are very proud of the KLIA2 achievements.

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Narita’s Terminal 2 exterior. Photo Wikipedia[5]

Carried Away….

Seems like I wrote a little too much about the Skytrax Awards, and because of the timing, I guess I wanted to share how the Japanese have made it their mission to rank their airports to be in the Top 10 of any airport ranking. 
You should also know that the Japanese airports are all run independently, and not by a monopoly, hence for them, they really are going all out to improve the airport facilities, especially with Tokyo 2020 around the corner. 
I would love to continued, but the article is getting a little long, so I will continue to focus on Narita Airport in part two. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 and also Part 3 of the Narita Airport vs KLIA2 review, which I will publish from week to week here. 


  1. ^ KLIA2 and Don Mueang Bangkok (
  2. ^ 50-60 million passengers category (
  3. ^ AirHelp Airport Ranking 2019 (
  4. ^ Top 30 Airports in the World (
  5. ^ Wikipedia (
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