Best Airlines 2020: Airline Ratings Names Air New Zealand Top Carrier

by Christine Forbes Smith
November 25, 2019
Ai rNew Zealand trans-Tasman

The world’s best airlines for 2020 have been named by, the world’s only safety and product rating website, and the airline of the year is Air New Zealand.

The kiwi airline just nudged out Singapore Airlines, last year’s winner, ANA, Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

Air New Zealand is being honoured for the sixth time for its record-breaking performance, multi-award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff. These factors have stamped the airline as a clear industry leader.

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READ: Air New Zealand Is Australia’s Best Company for a Third Year

Best Airlines 2020 Criteria

The Airline Excellence Awards, judged by seven editors with over 200 years’ industry experience, combines major safety and government audits, with 12 key criteria that include: fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offerings, and staff relations.

Airline Ratings Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said: “In our analysis, Air New Zealand came out number one in most of our audit criteria, which is an outstanding performance when it’s up against carriers with more resources and scale on this same list of best airlines for 2020.

“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.”

AR’s Editor Steve Creedy presents the Airline of the Year Award to Air NZ Chairman Dame Therese Walsh and acting CEO Jeff McDowall. Credit The NZ Herald

Air New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Officer Jeff McDowall said winning the award for a record sixth time was a testament to the efforts of the airline’s 12,500 staff who were focused on delivering a world-class uniquely Kiwi experience to its customers every day.

Air New Zealand also took out Best Premium Economy.

Singapore Airlines took out the prestigious First Class award for its impressive Suites product.

READ: Singapore Airlines Is the Gold Standard for Innovation

The six Suites in this stylish cabin at the front of the upper deck of the airline’s flagship Airbus A380s are designed to be the equivalent of small hotel rooms.

Singapore Airlines airline of the year award
Singapore Airlines’ award-winning Suites.

Qatar Airways once again picked up Best Catering and Best Business Class for its stunning Qsuites.

Qatar QSuites

“The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class. It leaves little to chance, and our judges rated it as one of the best overall business-class products they had seen. It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire,” said Mr. Thomas.

Australia’s Qantas won Best Domestic Airline Service and the coveted Best Lounges.

AirlineRatings Best Lounges goes to Qantas
Qantas Lounges

Qantas is a consistent winner across many categories in our list of best airlines 2020, 2019, and more. “Its customer approval rating is at an all-time high, and it continues to innovate with lie-flat beds being added to its A380s,” said Mr. Thomas.

“The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges which are exceptional and its domestic airline product, particularly on transcontinental A330 flights, is a standout.”

Virgin Australia won Best Economy for an extremely spacious cabin that sets it apart from many airlines. It offers passengers the most spacious 777 cabins and across its fleet -both international and domestic it has its Space X product.

READ: Virgin Australia’s Daylight Express Across the Pacific Is a Winner

Virgin Australia’s Space X economy seats.

Virgin Australia was voted Best Cabin Crew, and it was named in the Top Ten rankings.

“Virgin Australia has redefined the travel experience with its Economy X, Premium Economy, and standout Business Class. Add to that its cabin crew, which are the world’s best, and you have another airline punching well above its weight,” said Mr Thomas.

Virgin Australian cabin crew are multi award winners

Emirates is another big winner for the best airlines 2020 with Best Inflight Entertainment, Best Long-Haul Middle East and an appearance in the the Top Ten.

Emirates famous bar on its A380

“Emirates was one of the pioneers of IFE, and one of the first to install seatback videos in economy. Today’s its IFE platform ICE is in a class of its own,” said Mr Thomas.

Another new winner for the Airline Excellence Awards is Cebu Pacific which picks up our Most Improved Airline award for 2020.

READ: Cebu Pacific Achieves Highest Rating for Safety

“A move to expand its global footprint using new generation fuel-efficient aircraft makes Cebu Pacific a worthy winner of the 2020 Most Improved Airline,” said Mr Thomas.

At the 2019 Paris Air Show, Cebu Pacific ordered 16 A330-900s as part of a package which also includes 10 A321XLR.

VietJetAir took out Best Ultra Low-Cost airline for the third year running for its exceptional business model.

vietjet flight attendants
VietJet Air cabin crew Editor-in-Chief Thomas said that “the airline has a smart business plan that brings affordable travel to millions.”

For Excellence in Long Haul travel: Delta Air Lines (Americas), Lufthansa (Europe), Emirates (Middle-East/Africa) and Cathay Pacific Airways (Asia).

Best Low-Cost Airline; JetBlue (Americas), Wizz (Europe) and AirAsia / AirAsia X (Asia/Pacific) and Air Arabia (Middle-East / Africa)

This year has expanded its Top Ten to Top Twenty to recognise the many superb airlines passengers can choose from. They are: Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, EVA Air, Qatar Airways, Virgin Australia, Lufthansa, Finnair, Japan Airlines, KLM, Korean Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.