Sydney: Qatar Airways has unseated Air New Zealand as the world's best carrier, as judged by AirlineRatings.com.
The Australia-based aviation specialist site also awarded Qatar the best Middle East airline, best catering, and best business class.
Air New Zealand has been a regular winner of the top award, winning it six times, including for 2020. That title was awarded just before the pandemic hit.
AirlineRatings judges assess airlines on 11 criteria including customer reviews, product offerings, safety, fleet age, profitability, and environmental leadership, and now Covid compliance. Qatar Airways this year beat out Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, and Qantas for the top award.
Air New Zealand picked up the best premium economy and best economy. Qantas won best domestic airline service, and best lounges while Singapore Airlines picked up best first Class.
Virgin Australia won best cabin crew while best in-flight entertainment went to Emirates.
Qantaslink won best regional airline and VietJetAir took out best ultra-low-cost airline
Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said receiving the awards by AirlineRatings was particularly special for his airline.
''Over the past 16 months, the aviation industry has witnessed some of its darkest days, but Qatar Airways has continued to operate and stand by our passengers despite many other airlines halting operations due to the pandemic.''
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