reveals the world’s best airline for 2021

Woman tourist passenger getting in to airplane at airport, walking from the terminal to the plane.

Qatar Airlines has been named Airline of the Year for 2021 in’s coveted Airline Excellence Awards.

The Doha-based airline nudged out Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines for the top spot followed by Qantas, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific. editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said Qatar was being honoured for its innovation, product and industry leadership, as well as its extraordinary commitment to keeping the world’s critical long-haul air routes open during COVID-19.

“The airline has a host of industry firsts. First to complete IATA’s important IOSA safety audit, first to be fully COVID audited and compliant by both AirlineRatings and Skytrax, and amongst the first to trial IATA’s COVID Safe Travel Pass,” he said.

“Qatar Airways is no stranger to the winner’s circle, having picked up many awards for its service and cabin seating over the past 10 years, including a host of awards from AirlineRatings for its catering and business class Qsuite.”

Qatar also won Best Middle East Airline, Best Catering and Best Business Class.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said winning these awards was particularly special this year.

“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,” he said.

“Qatar Airways continues to reach new heights and set industry standards that deliver unrivalled 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 five-star service at the core of our business.”

Australian airlines have faired well for themselves this year, with Qantas winning the Best Domestic Airline Service and Best Lounges categories, and QantasLink taking home the Best Regional Airline award.

Virgin Australia won Best Cabin Crew for the fourth year in a row, and took out a spot in’s Top Twenty Airlines in the world.

“We know many of our guests are going through a challenging time with the pandemic, and every day our team goes the extra mile to make their journey as easy and enjoyable as we can,” Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said.

“This award acknowledges our commitment to delivering experiences our guests love and is testament to what makes us Australia’s most loved airline.”

Air New Zealand was also a big winner, taking out number two position in the Top Twenty Airlines rankings, as well as the Best Airline in the Pacific, Best Premium Economy and Best Economy categories.

The Airline Excellence Awards are judged by editors with over 100 years of industry experience, combining key safety criteria such as incident reports and government audits, with 11 key criteria that include: fleet age, passenger reviews, investment rating, product offerings, and staff relations.

Featured image source: iStock/VladTeodor

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