Airlinerartings.com has finally published its yearly top airline list. The airline rating site usually releases the results in November. Due to Covid, the list was pushed back eight months for the 2021 award list. Covid also became a factor in the new rankings list based on how the airlines handled the safety aspect.
AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said “We pushed the 2021 announcement into the 2021 year due to the chaos of Covid and we wanted to see how the industry would handle the pandemic over a longer period of time before making the selection. Usually, profitability is one of the key factors assessed by judges as they rank the top airlines, but because of the steep financial impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, finances weren’t taken into consideration this year.”
Usually, profitability is one of the key factors assessed by judges as they rank the top airlines, but because of the steep financial impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, finances weren’t taken into consideration this year.
There is a new champ which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. This post will cover both the service and safety review.
The Top 20 Airlines
For 2021, Qatar has taken over the top spot and Air New Zealand occupies the number two ranking. Air New Zealand has held the top spot six times. Here is the top 20 list:
1. Qatar Airways
2. Air New Zealand
3. Singapore Airlines
6. Cathay Pacific
7. Virgin Atlantic
8. United Airlines
9. EVA Air
10. British Airways
14. Japan Air Lines
16. Hawaiian Airlines
17. Alaska Airlines
18. Virgin Australia
19. Delta Air Lines
20. Etihad Airways
Qatar Airways also took out Best Business Class and Best Catering. “The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class. It leaves little to chance, and our judges rated it as one of the best overall business-class products they had seen. It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire,” said Mr. Thomas. He also said “Airline Ratings’ Excellence awards are aptly named, for, at every touchpoint, excellence is the goal at Qatar Airways led by its inspirational Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker”.
What is surprising to me is that United Airlines placed seventh on the list.
Statement From Qatar
Qatar Airways has been named Airline of the Year 2021 by AirlineRatings. The airline has also clinched the Best Middle East Airline, Best Catering, and the Best Business Class awards. This marks the third year in a row Qatar Airways has achieved the Best Business Class accolade, recognizing its patented Qsuite product.
The AirlineRatings ‘Airline of the Year’ award acknowledges the best in aviation, with a focus on product innovation, good route network and overall safety. All AirlineRatings awards are given based on strict assessment criteria put together by industry professionals with extensive expertise and experience in the aviation field.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Receiving the 2021 Airline of the Year, Best Middle East Airline, Best Catering and Best Business Class awards by AirlineRatings is particularly special for Qatar Airways. Over the past 16 months, the aviation industry has witnessed some of its darkest days, but Qatar Airways has continued to operate and stand by our passengers despite many other airlines halting operations due the pandemic. Qatar Airways continues to reach new heights and set industry standards that deliver unrivaled passenger experience because it is in our DNA to do everything with excellence. Our commitment is to provide the highest possible level of health and safety standards both on the ground and in the air, with 5-star service at the core of our business.”
Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, offers a First Class experience in the Business Class cabin. Qsuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.
As a multiple award-winning airline, the national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 140 destinations. Qatar Airways also features flexible booking policies that offer unlimited changes in travel dates and destinations and fee-free refunds for all tickets issued before 31 August 2021 for travel completed by 31 May 2022.
The Safety Awards
This year, the airline handling of Covid became a scoring criterion in the safety rating list. The ratings are scored by these categories:
· Incident ratings
· Safety audits
· Covid-19 compliance
The results will award up to seven stars of which 135 of the world’s airlines achieved the top ranking. Airlineratings.com does not list the safety awards in numerical order but in alphabetical order. You can find the safety list here which is sortable. All of the top 20 airlines in the service category were awarded a seven-star safety rating. Pakistan International Airlines has joined seven other airlines with just a one-star rating.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Qatar has taken over the number one ranking. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker has built a product to set world standards and the airline received the recognition that they deserve. I am completely surprised that United Airlines took the seventh position. Since Covid was a scoring factor, I wanted to include the safety award winners in this post as Qatar has been a leader in this category.