It’s been an unusual couple of years for the aviation industry. After months of pandemic-related groundings, travel’s returned not with a bang, but with a bit of a whimper, as many global airlines and airports struggle with cancellations and delays.
In the midst of this chaotic season of travel, Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency AirlineRatings.com has released its annual round-up of the world’s best airlines.
Nabbing the top spot for the second year in the row is Qatar Airways, with AirlineRatings.com stating this carrier’s commitment to flying over the past couple years was the deciding factor. Qatar Airways also won the Excellence in Long Haul - Middle East/Africa award.
“Qatar Airways’ decision to remain operating through the pandemic meant that it became the world’s largest international airline and posted a huge profit – the only major airline to do so,” Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com told CNN Travel.
Ranking traveler options
As well as profitability, AirlineRatings.com says its team of editors also assessed each airline’s fleet age, environmental and safety credentials, passenger reviews and product offerings.
Hot on the heels of Qatar Airways is Air New Zealand, an airline that’s topped AirlineRatings’ list six times in recent years, and last year also came in at number two. For 2022, Air New Zealand was also recognized by AirlineRatings.com as the carrier with the best premium economy and economy options, and the best option for long haul travel in the Pacific region.
Number three on AirlineRatings.com’s list is Etihad Airways. The UAE-based airline was also awarded the accolade for Environmental Airline of the Year, due to what Thomas said was a “benchmark” commitment to cutting emissions.
The number four airline is Korean Air, which also won the Cargo Airline of the Year and Excellence in Long Haul - Asia awards, while Singapore Airlines, winner of Best First Class and Best Lounges, rounds out the top five.
AirlineRatings.com also highlights the top budget airlines for 2022, although these low-cost carriers aren’t ranked. Instead, they are listed alphabetically: Allegiant Air, AirAsia, easyjet, Jetstar, Flair, Fly Dubai, Ryanair, Scoot, Southwest and VietJet Air.
Thomas told CNN Travel the results reflect the continued impact of Covid-19 on aviation, but the recent spike in delays and cancellations did not affect the rankings.
“The current crisis in travel didn’t play a role as it’s a unique event,” said Thomas, who suggested current events are also “largely not of the airlines’ making.”
Experts have suggested current problems are related to staff shortage, airport issues, labor relations and weather.
Overall, Thomas sees the rankings as a positive take on the travel industry today.
“The results highlight the very high standard of offering for travelers,” he said.
AirlineRatings.com’s top 20 airlines for 2022
1. Qatar Airways
2. Air New Zealand
3. Etihad Airways
4. Korean Air
5. Singapore Airlines
7. Virgin Australia
8. EVA Air
9. Turkish Airlines
10. All Nippon Airways
11. Cathay Pacific Airways
12. Virgin Atlantic
13. Japan Air Lines
18. Air France/KLM
19. Alaska Airlines
20. British Airways