Annual Airline Awards

By David Hopwood | November 26, 2019

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for some annual rankings of airlines.

Travel Radar looks at three of the main awards; one global, one Australian and one European; the ratings agencies are Skytrax, Airline Ratings and Telegraph Travel, respectively.

There’s always a number of different awards ranging from best first class to cleanest aircraft, and various criteria are used, and this isn’t the time or the place to unpack all of the complexities and numbers involved in producing the statistics.

So, of the three awards, Skytrax is the best known and probably the most prestigious; certainly if an airline has topped one of the rankings, they’ll be sure to let you know. That said, in passing through Doha recently, your author noted a monstrous piece of signage proclaiming Qatar as coming fourth, two years ago, in a particular category, which seemed a little odd. Fourth isn’t even a bronze medal. Anyway…..

The best airline on Skytrax this year goes (somewhat predictably) to Qatar. The top spot each year seems to alternate between Qatar and Singapore Airlines. All Nippon (ANA) is third, Cathay fourth and Emirates at fifth. Eight of the top ten airlines are Gulf-based or Far Eastern. Lufthansa is the only European carrier in the top ten at ninth. American airlines just don’t feature, with JetBlue (yes, I know. JetBlue.) in 40th place.

ANA © Forbes

Airline ratings is based in Australia, so their main focus is on Pacific, Far Eastern and Asian airlines. Even so, rating Air New Zealand at #1 above Singapore is surprising. But good for the Kiwis, right? In the top ten, ANA is at third and QANTAS at fourth. Cathay is fifth-rated. No US airlines appear, and the only European is Virgin Atlantic.

Singapore Airlines A350-900 ULR © Airbus

The Telegraph, based in the UK, has a European focus generally but again, eight of the top ten in their ‘long-haul’ rankings are Far Eastern or Asian/Pacific. Virgin Atlantic is the only European operator and interestingly Air New Zealand makes fourth place. Sadly, ANZ will probably disappear from the rankings next year.

Combining the rankings from all three of the above, Singapore Airlines comes out top, Qatar and Emirates tie for second, followed by ANA and Cathay.

But unless you’re rich and famous, one of the more useful rankings is Skytrax’s ‘Best in Economy Class’, which has Japan Airlines at #1, Singapore in second spot and ANA third.

Travel Radar does not endorse any carrier and receives no inducement from any.

Annual Airline Awards was provided for Mentour Aviation by Travel Radar – Home of Aviation News. Travel Radar Media brings the latest aviation & travel news!


  • Sandra McCusker

    I would love to fly on one of the top airlines! It will be at least a couple of years before that happens but I’ll get there. I wonder how many of the best are at least subsidized by their government.

    Jet Blue is the best airline in the US, I agree.

    • Thanks for the comment Sandra. Hope you get to fly on the best soon! Save up and go in buniess if you can–at least on long-haul. Haven’t been on Singapore Air for years, but they’re pretty good!

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