Air New Zealand has edged past Singapore Airlines to be ranked as the world’s best airline by for 2020. This is now the sixth time Air New Zealand has won this award. The airline emerged on top in most of the audit criteria, achieving “excellence” in all facets, including governance, customer promise, and airline strategy.

The top five airlines in the world include last year’s winner, Singapore Airlines, which fell to the second spot in 2020. The airline has successfully introduced its new A350 and 787-10 in the past few years. Japan-based All Nippon Airways, a leading operator of the Boeing 787 and a launch customer for the 777X, was ranked third. The airline was praised for being at the forefront of cabin innovation.

Singapore Airlines has the best first class in the world
Singapore Airlines was ranked second and awarded the best first class (

Ranked fourth was Australia’s Qantas, noted by for its strong financial performance and achieving its all-time high customer approval ratings. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways occupied the fifth spot.

Criteria for Airline Rankings is an aviation safety and product rating website based in Perth, Australia. The airline rankings for 2020 were launched as part of the Airline Excellence Awards, judged by seven industry experts. The rankings are based on 12 key criteria that include product offerings, passenger reviews, fleet age, staff relations, investment rating, and profitability, in addition to major safety and government audits.

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A spot among the 20 best airlines in the world requires at least a seven-star safety rating as well as innovation by the airline for passenger comfort. Audited feedback by the passengers on the agency’s website is also taken into consideration. 

Qantas has the best airport lounges in the world
Qantas was among the top 5 airlines and recognized for its best airport lounges (

Top 20 Airlines in the World

The 20 best airlines to fly for the year 2020 include a wide array of airlines from various parts of the world, including Asia and the Pacific, Middle East, Europe, and North America. The top rated airlines are those that have very much continued their domination from previous years. They are ranked as follows.

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Qantas
  5. Cathay Pacific
  6. Emirates
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. EVA Air
  9. Qatar Airways
  10. Virgin Australia
  11. Lufthansa
  12. Finnair
  13. Japan Airlines
  14. KLM
  15. Korean Airlines
  16. Hawaiian Airlines
  17. British Airways
  18. Alaska Airlines
  19. Delta Air Lines
  20. Etihad Airways

Airline Excellence Awards 2020

In addition to ranking the top 20 airlines, has also introduced its Airline Excellence Awards, featuring various categories. This not only highlights the unique aspects of certain airlines that may otherwise be overlooked, but also enables the low-cost airlines to rank among the best.

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At the Airline Excellence Awards 2020, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Emirates bagged multiple awards based on individual criteria. The winners of the various awards are as follows.

Airline of the Year: Air New Zealand

Best First Class: Singapore Airlines

Best Business Class: Qatar Airways

Best Premium Economy: Air New Zealand

Best Economy: Virgin Australia

Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia

Best Lounges: Qantas

Best In-flight Entertainment: Emirates

Qatar Airways has the best business class in the world
The award-winning Qsuites of Qatar Airways (Courtesy

Best Catering: Qatar Airways

Best Domestic Airline: Qantas

Best Ultra Low-Cost Airline: VietJetAir

Most Improved Airline: Cebu Pacific

Best Low-Cost Airlines: AirAsia / AirAsia X (Asia-Pacific); Air Arabia (Middle-East / Africa); JetBlue (Americas); Wizz (Europe)

Best Long Haul Airlines: Cathay Pacific Airways (Asia-Pacific); Emirates (Middle-East / Africa); Delta Air Lines (Americas); Lufthansa (Europe)