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What is the world's best airline?

  • Published at 05:39 pm November 25th, 2019
File photo: An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 plane takes off from Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney Reuters

The Airline Excellence Awards cover the best of the best in the aviation world

Air New Zealand has been ranked the Airline of the Year for 2020, according to AirlineRatings.com, the Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency.

New Zealand is a country characterized by sandy beaches, jaw-dropping glaciers and sweeping mountain ranges and an industry leading airline, reports CNN.

AirlineRatings.com said the Kiwi carrier's record-breaking performance and inflight innovations and not to mention its safety record and staff motivation earned it the number one spot.

This is Air New Zealand's sixth time winning the travel award. Last year, Singapore Airlines ranked number one in the list.

The Airline Excellence Awards cover the best of the best in the aviation world, recognizing the swankiest airline lounges, finest first class cabins and most exciting in-flight entertainment, the report mentioned.

Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com, said: "In our analysis Air New Zealand came out number one in most of our audit criteria, which is an outstanding performance when it is up against carriers with more resources and scale."

Reasons for earning the number 1 spot

While speaking to CNN Travel, Thomas said, in the last year, it was all about the airlines striving towards ultra-long-haul flights and conversely assessing aviation's carbon footprint.

It was Air New Zealand's fleet age which helped cement the airline's eco-conscious status, he added.

"In the past 10 years the airline has reduced its fuel burn and thus carbon emissions by almost 22%, ahead of the industry average," Thomas further added.

"The airline has been a pioneer in a number of important industry initiatives such as biofuels and more efficient flight paths, as well as a host of on ground improvements such as electric vehicles."

AirlineRatings.com's awards are judged using international industry and government safety audits, alongside 12 key criteria including fleet age, passenger reviews, investment ratings, staff relations, product offerings and profitability.

Qantas, currently in the middle of a series of test flights for its 19-hour stretch from London to Sydney, came in at number four on the overall ranking, but also picked up gongs for “Best Domestic Airline Service and Best Lounges.”

The airline did not win the “Excellence in Long Haul Travel” award, though.

Instead, Delta Air Lines took the top spot for the Americas, Lufthansa grabbed the gong in Europe, Emirates won in the Middle-East and Africa and Cathay Pacific Airways cinched the title in Asia-Pacific.

Last year's Airline of the Year winner Singapore Airlines won Best First Class this year.

"Our editors said the competition for top spot was tight with Singapore Airlines, Qantas and All Nippon Airways just being pipped at the post," Thomas said.

As for the budget options, JetBlue won Best Low-Cost Airline in the Americas, Wizz won in Europe, Air Arabia in the Middle East and Africa and Air Asia and Air Asia X won for Asia-Pacific.

Top 10 airlines for 2020

The top 10 airlines according to AirlineRatings.com for the year 2020 are Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, EVA Air, Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia.

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