AirlineRatings names ‘most excellent’ airlines for 2018

CNN  — 

Air New Zealand gets regular kudos for innovating everything from in-flight services to safety videos, its funky films featuring Hobbits and other famous Kiwis.

The carrier has pipped Air New Zealand to be named Airline of the Year by Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency AirlineRatings, in the company’s annual Airline Excellence Awards.

Celebrating the best in the aviation industry – from budget operators to culinary champions – the awards named Air New Zealand as Airline of the Year for 2018.

“For years Singapore Airlines has been the gold standard and now it is back to its best leading in passenger innovations and new state-of-the-art aircraft models,” says AirlineRatings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.

In-flight product

Air New Zealand won AirlineRatings' "Airline of the Year" award.

The awards are compiled using major international industry and government safety audits, plus 12 key criteria including fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment ratings, staff relations and product offerings.

“In our objective analysis Singapore Airlines came out number one in many of our audit criteria, which is a great performance,” explains Thomas.

In the premium stakes, Singapore Airlines took top spot for First Class – the airline’s name being “synonymous with excellence of in-flight product,” according to AirlineRatings.

Economy options were also awarded. For the second year running, KoreanAir was recognized for its spacious seats. Westjet was crowned the Best Low-Cost Airline in the Americas, Wizz won for Europe and AirAsia / AirAsia X for Asia/Pacfic.

AirlineRatings also reviewed the economy options – Air New Zealand won Best Premium Economy, whilst Best Economy went to Korean Air in recognition of its spacious seats.

“Our editorial team places significant importance on premium economy on a long-haul airline,” says Thomas. “It is without doubt the best value proposition for the passenger and airline.

Australian airline Qantas also had a good run, winning Best Catering, Best Lounges and Best Domestic Class.

MORE: Check out Singapore Airlines’ new luxury suites

Seven-star safety

Singapore Airlines took the top spot for First Class.

Alongside the Airline Excellence Award winners, AirlineRatings announced its Top 10 airlines for 2018.

The carriers named in the round-up have a seven-star safety rating and have demonstrated their innovation, according to AirlineRatings.

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

AirlineRatings says its judging team includes experts who’ve been assessing the world of aviation for 20 years.

While the top airline list favors antipodean carriers, Thomas insists the process is “objective and not open to abuse,” with criteria assessed carefully and combined into a spreadsheet to arrive at the award-winners.’s top 10 airlines for 2019

1. Air New Zealand

2. Qantas Airways

3. Singapore Airlines

4. Virgin Australia

5. Virgin Atlantic

6. Etihad Airways

7. All Nippon Airways

8. Korean Air

9. Cathay Pacific Airways

1. Singapore Airlines