(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.
“Air New Zealand came out number one — or equal first — in all of our audit criteria, which is an exceptional performance,” the AirlineRatings judging panel said.
Air New Zealand won AirlineRatings’ “Airline of the Year” award.
Courtesy Air New Zealand From AirlineRatings
The awards take into account four major international industry and government safety audits as well as fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment ratings and key product offerings.
Best Business Class went to Virgin Australia for the second consecutive year — Virgin’s “The Business” suite is a luxurious offering — unrivaled by other executive options.
“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.
Singapore Airlines took the top spot for First Class.
Courtesy Singapore Airlines From AirlineRatings
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.
AirlineRatings.com’s top 10 airlines for 2018
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
10. Japan Airlines