Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways has managed to scoop the top prize at the World Airline Awards. This is the second year in a row that Qatar has taken first place in the rankings. The gong for best first-class service was given to Etihad, best business-class was picked up by Cathay Pacific, the in-flight entertainment prize went to Emirates. Best budget carrier was awarded to AirAsia.
Australian flag-carrier Qantas blamed a lengthy industrial dispute last year for slipping from eighth in the rankings to number 15. Fights with the unions culminated in Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce grounding the entire airline fleet which disrupted the travel plans of nearly 70,000 passengers around the globe.
Rival antipodean carrier Virgin Australia gained an impressive 20 places climbing from last year’s 32nd place to achieve 12th on the list. Virgin also walked away with the prizes for best airline staff and best airline in the Australia-Pacific region.
It wasn’t all bad news for Qantas. The airline was awarded prizes for its premium economy class as well as its first class lounge at Sydney Airport. Joyce said he had expected a slip in the rankings after last year’s problems adding that Qantas staff had been working tirelessly to restore customer loyalty.
The awards, which were announced at the Farnborough Air Show, were compiled from surveys taken from 18 million airline passengers from around the globe.