World’s best airline 2018: Singapore Airlines voted winner, toppling Qatar Airways; Cathay Pacific, Hainan Airlines in top 10, Hong Kong Airlines in top 20

Win for Singapore Airlines in annual Skytrax survey of 24 million passengers is its first since 2008; carrier is one of 15 from Asia-Pacific in the top 25; three Gulf carriers and seven from Europe, including Aeroflot, make up the rest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 3:32pm

Singapore Airlines has been named the world’s No. 1 airline, knocking off 2017 winner Qatar Airways, according to the annual World Airline Awards published by Skytrax.

Singapore’s title – its first since 2008 and fourth overall – comes after it finished second in last year’s World Airline Awards. It also ends what had been a back-and-forth battle for the top spot between Qatar Airways and its Gulf rival Emirates, which alternated at the No. 1 spot for past three years.

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This year, Qatar Airways dropped to No. 2 while Emirates finished fourth for the second consecutive year. No. 3 All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan and No. 5 EVA Air of Taiwan rounded out the top five of the ratings, which were announced on the sidelines of the biennial Farnborough Airshow in England.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific fell one spot to sixth, while Hong Kong Airlines and China Southern Airlines climbed into the world’s top 20. The top China-based carrier was Hainan Airlines, in eighth place. Lufthansa was the top European airline, in seventh spot. No North American carriers made the top 25, while 15 of the top 25 were based in Asia-Pacific.

Singapore welcomed its climb back to the top spot.

“Singapore Airlines is honoured to be named ‘World’s Best Airline’ in the Skytrax awards, and I dedicate it to the 26,000 SIA Group employees who focus every day on delivering the world’s best travel experience to our customers,” said Singapore Airlines’ chief executive Goh Choon Phong, who was in London on Tuesday to accept the award.

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“The World Airline Awards are based on direct feedback from customers, who we know have more airlines to choose from in this highly competitive global environment.”

In North America, Air Canada took the title of best airline in North America for the second consecutive year. Overall, the carrier placed 30th in the global ratings – down one spot from its finish in 2017.

Delta and Alaska airlines were the top US carriers in the ratings, placing 37th and 38th, respectively. JetBlue was the only other US airline to place in the top 50, ranking 42nd.

Skytrax bills its World Airline Awards as “the world’s largest, annual airline passenger satisfaction survey”. The group says more than 24 million eligible survey entries were counted in the final 2018 results.

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The survey period stretched from August 2017 to May 2018 and included participation from travellers of more than 105 nationalities. More than 300 airlines were included in the survey.

The top 25 in the Skytrax rankings (and their ranking last year)

1. Singapore Airlines (2)

2. Qatar Airways (1)

3. ANA/All Nippon (3)

4. Emirates (4)

5. EVA Air (6)

6. Cathay Pacific (5)

7. Lufthansa (7)

8. Hainan Airlines (9)

9. Garuda Indonesia (10)

10. Thai Airways (11)

11. Qantas Airways (15)

12. Swiss International Air Lines (14)

13. Japan Airlines/JAL (16)

14. China Southern Airlines (23)

15. Etihad Airways (8)

16. Austrian Airlines (17)

17. Air New Zealand (19)

18. Turkish Airlines (12)

19. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (22)

20. Hong Kong Airlines (24)

21. Bangkok Airways (21)

22. Virgin Australia (13)

23. Aeroflot (30)

24. Asiana Airlines (20)

25. Air France (18)

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