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Air New Zealand Beats Qatar Airways as World’s Best Airline

Air New Zealand wins the Airline Ratings award for the seventh time, taking the title off Qatar Airways which held it for the last two years

by Fergus Cole

June 5, 2023

Photo: Business Class, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of Air New Zealand.

Airline Ratings, the renowned aviation site, has unveiled its world’s top airlines for 2023, crowning Air New Zealand as the ultimate winner.

Securing not only the prestigious title but also the Best Economy Class award, the New Zealand flag carrier has garnered accolades for its outstanding safety measures, unwavering commitment to sustainable aviation technologies, and the warm hospitality of its staff.

Photo: Business Class, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of Air New Zealand.

The aviation site’s annual Airline Excellence Awards are overseen by a panel of five judges with a combined experience of 180 years in the aviation industry. Carriers worldwide are analyzed on several factors, from their fleets’ average age and profitability to their passenger reviews and product offerings.

Furthermore, Air New Zealand’s in-flight offerings, including the highly anticipated SkyNest economy bunk beds, have captured passengers’ attention. These innovative lie-flat bunk-bed pods are set to revolutionize long-haul travel, allowing economy passengers to enjoy up to four hours of luxurious comfort on selected flights starting September 2024.

Photo: Courtesy of Air New Zealand

“Air New Zealand’s commitment to excellence in all facets of its business starts at the top with outstanding governance and one of the best executive teams in aviation through to a workforce that is delivering consistently to the airline’s strategy and customer promise,” said Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of Airline Ratings.

“Like all airlines across the globe, Air New Zealand has faced severe disruptions during and after the pandemic and this year huge challenges from storms and cyclones. The airline responded well. Our editorial team was impressed by the airline’s commitment to the economy passenger and on long haul offers more comfort options than any other airline.”

Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, praised his staff for their performance over the last year in helping the carrier take the top spot in the global rankings while also pointing out areas of their operations that they can improve.

Photo: Courtesy of Air New Zealand.

“We owe our success to the dedication and hard work of our 12,000 Air New Zealanders who wake each morning to connect Kiwis with each other and the world,” he said. “This award belongs to them for their grit, commitment, and the exceptional service they deliver every day.”

Foran added that he and his team understand that they face difficulties in providing the service they strive for and that our customers expect. “We’re working hard to address these challenges. There is no doubt that we have more work to do to tackle customer concerns like wait times, on-time departures and arrivals, lost baggage, and refunds,” he said.

Qatar Airways Comes Second

This is the seventh time Air New Zealand has picked up the award, while it has knocked Qatar Airways—which has taken the title for the last two years—off its perch. However, the Gulf carrier still managed to come in second place while also scooping the Best Catering award and retaining its position as the Best Business Class airline for the fourth consecutive year.

Photo: Qatar Airways QSuite. Courtesy of Qatar Airways.

Etihad Airways came in third place, gaining particular recognition for its commitment to sustainable flying, while Asian carriers Korean Air and Singapore Airlines came in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Here are the 25 best airlines in the world in 2023, according to Airline Ratings:

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Etihad Airways
  4. Korean Air
  5. Singapore Airlines
  6. Qantas
  7. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
  8. EVA Air
  9. Cathay Pacific Airways
  10. Emirates
  11. Lufthansa/SWISS
  12. SAS
  13. TAP Portugal
  14. All Nippon Airways
  15. Delta Air Lines
  16. Air Canada
  17. British Airways
  18. JetBlue
  19. JAL
  20. Vietnam Airlines
  21. Turkish Airlines
  22. Hawaiian Airlines
  23. KLM
  24. Alaska Airlines
  25. United Airlines