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Lima Airport Named the Best in South America

Travelers wanting to see South America have good reason to land in Lima: Peru’s Jorge Chavez International Airport has been named the best in the continent for the third consecutive year.

The award was given at the 2011 World Airport Awards, held this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. Winners were chosen based on surveys by Skytrax Research, a London-based aviation consultancy firm that performs yearly evaluations and satisfaction surveys. They also conduct the World Airport Awards and provide critical information for government air transport policies.

The study ranked airports according to 39 criteria, such as cleanliness, ease of access, security waiting times, staff service and language skills, baggage delivery and handling of lost luggage, and even the price range in retail outlets. Information was gathered over an eight-month period from over 11 million travelers, spanning more than 100 nationalities.

Peru’s flagship airport topped 240 others in South America in almost all categories. It scored high on security for its strict transport regulations; all tour buses and taxis are required to register, and visitors are strongly advised to take only airport-approved rides.

Other top rankers include the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and the Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in second and third place respectively. Jorge Chavez Airport also won the Skytrax Airport Staff Service Excellent Award.

The airport’s recently renovated Sumaq VIP Lounge was also voted Lounge of the Year in 2010 by members of Priority Pass, the world’s biggest independent airport access network, beating out 600 other VIP lounges around the world. The lounge is exclusive to first and business class passengers and is one of several VIP lounges in the airport, along with VIP Peru and the exclusive VIP Club for first class travelers.

Much of the airport’s success came after renovations began in 2005, starting with a new concourse and the Peru Plaza Shopping Center. The latter features a wide range of shops and restaurants, as well as several gyms and a spa. Major brands such as Versace, Esprit, Lacoste, and Timberland are well represented, and more are expected to join the ranks as expansion continues this year. A food court on the second floor hosts international outlets such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Also adding to the airport’s appeal is a recently built four-star hotel, the Ramada Costa del Sol, funded by Lima Airport Partners. The hotel, located right in front of the arrivals exit, features noise-canceling panels for superior sound insulation, as well as a bar and business center.