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Air New Zealand's new cabin crew uniforms (photo: Air New Zealand)

Best airlines listed for 2019

Seven judges at the respected site AirlineRatings.com have awarded what they say are the world’s best carriers under a number of categories.

Air New Zealand has been knocked off the top spot it held for five years as the best airline in the world, replaced for the first time by Singapore Airlines, according to a new ranking.

SIA is now Airline of the Year for 2019, as assessed by seven editors at the respected Australia-based site AirlineRatings, which ranks the world’s carriers according to safety and inflight product, but from an Australian perspective.

Singapore Airlines has been recognised in the listings for its strong inflight service, revamped cabins, impressive new A350 and Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, operational safety record and its new Singapore-New York service, which at 19 hours is now the longest non-stop route in the world, news.com.au reports.

The judges also looked at criteria such as passenger reviews, fleet age, profitability, investment rating, product offerings and staff relations.

It is welcome news for Singapore Airline in a week where it posted a 44% decline in first-half operating profit, to 426 million Singapore dollars (€273 million), which the carrier blamed on a more than 20% rise in fuel costs.

“In our objective analysis Singapore Airlines came out number one in many of our audit criteria, which is a great performance,” said the site’s editor Geoffrey Thomas.

“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.

“The editors said that the competition for top spot was tight with Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways and Qatar Airways just being nudged out.”

Individual awards
Air New Zealand did win for two things, best premium economy and best airline for the Pacific region. Qantas won for best domestic airline service and best lounges, while QantasLink was awarded best regional airline.

Lufthansa was named for its excellence in long-haul routes, while Wizz Air was awarded for best low-cost carrier in Europe. But no European airlines was in the overall top ten.

Top 10 airlines
1. Singapore Airlines
2. Air New Zealand
3. Qantas
4. Qatar Airways
5. Virgin Australia
6. Emirates
7. All Nippon Airways
8. EVA Air
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
10. Japan Airlines

Award winners
Best airline (Pacific): Air New Zealand
Best airline (Middle East/Africa): Emirates
Best first class: Singapore Airlines
Best business class: Qatar Airways
Best premium economy: Air New Zealand
Best economy: Korean Air
Best domestic airline: Qantas
Best regional airline: QantasLink
Best catering: Qatar Airways
Best cabin crew: Virgin Australia
Best inflight entertainment: Emirates
Best lounges: Qantas
Best low-cost airline: Westjet (Americas), Wizz (Europe) and AirAsia/AirAsia X (Asia/Pacific).
Best ultra-low-cost airline: VietJetAir
Excellence in long haul travel: Delta Air Lines (Americas), Lufthansa (Europe), Emirates (Middle-East/Africa) Eva Air (Asia) and Air New Zealand (Pacific)
Most improved airline: Philippine Airlines

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