Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air NZ named Airline of the Year

An Air New Zealand Boeing 737 on approach to land shorty after fog lifted enough for Wellington International Airport to re-open. Photograph by Mark MItchell
An Air New Zealand Boeing 737 on approach to land shorty after fog lifted enough for Wellington International Airport to re-open. Photograph by Mark MItchell

Air New Zealand has been named Airline of the Year by safety and product rating site AirlineRatings.com.

The international site says Air New Zealand is honoured for its in-flight innovations, financial performance, operational safety and motivation of its staff.

The site also praised the airline's commitment to a young fleet and focus on the environment.

Air New Zealand was awarded best premium economy class.

AirlineRatings was launched in June last year and rates 450 airlines using a seven-star system. Its panel of aviation editors together have more than 150 years experience covering the industry.

Airlineratings.com editor Geoffrey Thomas said Air New Zealand was "quite simply"an airline of first choice.

"And given the airline's location and the country's size its performance is even more remarkable."

Air New Zealand's chief executive Christopher Luxon said the awards were a great way to start the year "and reaffirm the hard work of more than 11,000 Air New Zealanders across our business."

Four other airlines - which also fly to New Zealand - made up the top five overall carriers. They are Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

Among other category awards Emirates was judged top for first class, best inflight entertainment and best long haul airline based in the Middle-East and Africa.

Qantas won best lounges and best economy class, while Jetstar was named best low cost airline in Asia.

The Singapore Airlines group picked up two awards; best regional airline for subsidiary Silk Air and best long haul airline based in Asia/Pacific. Cathay Pacific picked up best business class.

In other regions in the low cost airline sector, the panel selected JetBlue for the Americas, Norwegian in Europe and flydubai for the Middle-East/Africa. The editors noted that these three airlines and Jetstar in Asia are clear industry leaders in innovation and bringing people together.

For excellence in long haul the panel selected Air Canada for the Americas, Swiss International for Europe as well as Emirates for the Middle-East/Africa and Singapore Airlines for Asia/Pacific.

Last week AirlineRatings.com announced its top airlines for safety with Qantas first, Air New Zealand second and Emirates third.

The Top 10

1. Air New Zealand
2. Emirates
3. Cathay Pacific
4. Singapore Airlines
5. Qantas
6. Etihad Airways
7. Royal Jordanian Airlines
8. Swiss International
9. Virgin Atlantic
10. All Nippon Airways

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