Air New Zealand soars to top of airline rankings
Air New Zealand has once again flown to first place in an annual rating of airlines - making it four wins in the last four years for our national carrier.
Airline Ratings, which compiles a list of winners for its Airline Excellence Awards, settled on Air New Zealand as the best in the world and called it an "industry trendsetter".
The company was recognised for its "record-breaking financial performance, award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff".
The ratings agency's editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said Air New Zealand came out on top "in virtually all of our audit criteria", a feat he described as "exceptional".
"Quite simply Air New Zealand is an airline of first choice. And given the airline's location and the country's size, its performance is even more remarkable," said Mr Thomas.
"This outstanding performance has seen Air New Zealand catapult to the top tier of the industry in a host of areas."
Air New Zealand also won the best premium economy accolade, on account of it proving that "passengers will pay more if the product is right and priced accordingly", while Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines won the first class, business class and economy class respectively.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon told Airline Ratings the last year has been exceptional for the company.
"We've continued to invest in a streamlined and refurbished fleet, launched three new international routes and rolled out improvements to the customer experience with enhanced in-flight entertainment and a multi-million dollar lounge redevelopment programme," he said.
"Above all, the award is testament to the talented team of people who make Air New Zealand great by putting customers at the heart of everything we do."
The other Airline Ratings awards saw the Virgin Group win best cabin crew, Emirates take out best in-flight entertainment, and UK-based Flybe claim the regional airline of the year crown.
The most improved airline was Garuda Indonesia, for its "dramatic turnaround" in introducing an entirely new fleet, and improving its in-flight product, and fiscal and operational performance.