Guess which airline is voted world’s best, 5 years running

Air New Zealand awarded Airline of the Year 2018 by AirlineRatings.com. Source: stockphoto mania/Shutterstock

AIR NEW ZEALAND has been crowned airline of the year for the fifth consecutive year by AirlineRatings.com.

In its annual assessment of world carriers, the review website placed Air New Zealand ahead of its antipodean rivals Qantas and Singapore Airlines, who came in second and third respectively.

Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic rounded out the top five, while Etihad, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines completed the top 10.

Various factors were taken into consideration, but the carrier’s record-breaking financial performance helped it to beat out competitors. Despite earnings before taxes falling to NZ$527 million (US$365m) in 2017 from NZ$663 million (US$459m) in 2016, the airline still experienced its second highest earnings in the company’s history.

Other features that won over the judges were the airline’s in-flight innovations, environmental leadership, safety, young fleet of aircrafts and the motivation of its staff.

The airline also nabbed the prize for Best Premium Economy, a category on which the judges place a lot of weight when considering the top spot for Airline of the Year.

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The particular significance placed on the quality of premium economy seats on long-haul aircraft is because it is “without a doubt the best value proposition for the passenger and airline.” The judging team also checks that business class has flat beds.

“We are looking for leadership and airlines that innovate to make a real difference to the passenger experience, particularly in economy class,” the judging team said.

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Singapore Airlines won for Best First Class experience, Virgin Australia won for Best Business Class experience, and Korean Air won for Best Economy Class.

While the group praised Air New Zealand for coming out top or equal first in all of their criteria, they warned that second and third spots are nipping at their heels as both Australia’s Qantas and Singapore Airlines are rolling out new aircraft such as Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s as well as significant revamps of in-flight product.

“Whether number 1 or number 10 these airlines are the best of the best – the elite in aviation,” said the judging team. “They are the trendsetters and the benchmark by which all others are judged.”