The world’s best airlines have been revealed – and Qatar Airways has snagged the top spot.

The Gulf carrier was named 2021 airline of the year in’s annual Airline Excellence Awards thanks to its cabin innovation, service, and the way it continued to operate during the pandemic.

The pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on the aviation industry, with many carriers heavily affected by travel restrictions. Analysis by industry body Iata shows that by the start of 2022, almost five million aviation jobs could be lost.

Following Qatar Airways in the industry awards was Air New Zealand (2), Singapore Airlines (3), Qantas (4) and Emirates (5).

Rounding out the top 10 was Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, EVA Air and British Airways.

To make the grade, airlines must achieve a seven-star safety rating and show innovation in terms of passenger experience.

Geoffrey Thomas, founder and editor-in-chief of, said that Qatar was led by an “inspirational” chief executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker.

“Mr. Al Baker’s drive for perfection has led to many improvements in both Airbus and Boeing aircraft and travellers across the world are better off because of the passion and the pursuit of excellence of Qatar Airways,” Mr. Thomas said.

Commenting on the win, His Excellency Mr Al Baker said: “Over the past 16 months, we have witnessed some of the darkest days ever seen by the aviation industry.

“Yet, when so many other airlines stopped flying, Qatar Airways continued to operate and stand by our passengers.

“Despite the health crisis, we continued to reach new heights and set industry standards that deliver a passenger experience unmatched by any other airline in the world.”

The website also selected the 10 best low-cost carriers across the world, according to safety records and ability to innovate.

In alphabetical order, named easyJet, Jetstar, Frontier, Jetblue, Ryanair, Scoot, Southwest, VietJet Air, Volaris and Westjet as the 10 best, rather than being ranked individually.

Mr Thomas said that “each of these airlines has an excellent safety record and has made a big difference in their market”.

“From Southwest Airlines which started the low-cost revolution in the 1970s to JetBlue which redefines the low-cost product, each airline has made a huge contribution to affordable travel.”

“In Europe, it’s easyjet and Ryanair, in Asia Jetstar and Scoot, while in Americas one can add Frontier, Volaris and Westjet to Southwest and JetBlue. All are standouts.”

The top 20 best airlines according to

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Air New Zealand
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Qantas
  5. Emirates
  6. Cathay Pacific
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. United Airlines
  9. EVA Air
  10. British Airways
  11. Lufthansa
  12. ANA
  13. Finnair
  14. Japan Air Lines
  15. KLM
  16. Hawaiian Airlines
  17. Alaska Airlines
  18. Virgin Australia
  19. Delta Air Lines
  20. Etihad Airways


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