Air New Zealand named Airline of the Year; SIA up to 5th spot

Air New Zealand has been named Airline of the Year for the third consecutive year by airline safety and product rating review website AirlineRatings.com.

The website, which rates over 435 airlines from around the world, revealed on Tuesday its list of the World's Best Airlines for 2016.

As Airline of the Year, Air New Zealand received accolades for its products, environmental commitment, innovation and internal culture.

The website's Editor-in-Chief, Mr Geoffrey Thomas, highlighted Air New Zealand's focus on its staff that has resulted in "outstanding performance right across the airline at every touch point."

He also praised the airlines' innovation which includes a recently launched service that helps track children who are unaccompanied on flights.

In addition, the airline received awards in the Best Premium Economy and Best Economy categories.

Air New Zealand began operating flights to Singapore in January this year, and will roll out services to Houston, Beijing and Buenos Aires in December.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) emerged as the winner in Best Business Class, Best In-Flight Entertainment categories and also went up one spot to being the fifth best in the website's top 10 international airlines list.

Mr Thomas commented that Singapore Airlines' revamped business class is "subtle, elegant, functional and very cosy", and added that the airline has always listened to its customers.

SIA will also introduce its next generation of in-flight entertainment which features personalised content for passengers and a wide range of on-demand entertainment options.

The airline's subsidary Scoot has also been named Best Low Cost Airline in the Asia Pacific region.

Winners of other categories include:

Best First Class - Etihad Airways

Best Business Class - Singapore Airlines

Best Low Cost Airlines - Virgin America (The Americas), Scoot (Asia/Pacific), Kulula.com (Middle-East/Africa) and Norwegian (Europe)

Best Lounges - Qantas

Best Catering - Qantas

Best In-Flight Entertainment - Singapore Airlines

Best Domestic Class - Qantas

Best New World Carrier - Virgin Australia

Best Cabin Crew - Virgin Australia with Virgin Atlantic

Best Long Haul Airlines - Etihad (Middle East/Africa), Cathay Pacific Airways (Asia/Pacific), Lufthansa (Europe) and Delta Air Lines (The Americas)

Top 10 international airlines for 2016:

1. Air New Zealand

2. Qantas Airways

3. Etihad Airways

4. Cathay Pacific Airways

5. Singapore Airlines

6. Emirates

7. EVA Air

8. Virgin Atlantic /Virgin Australia

9. All Nippon Airways

10. Lufthansa

To gain a position in this top 10 list, the airlines must achieve a seven star safety rating - derived from a system developed by AirlineRatings.com and endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation - as well as demonstrate leadership in innovating passenger comfort.

minlee@sph.com.sg