Dubai-based Emirates has succeeded in unseating Qatar Airways to be named the Airline of the Year at the World Airline Awards in Paris this week.
After enjoying a two-year winning streak at the top, Qatar Airways ceded its title as the world’s leading carrier to its Middle Eastern rival Emirates, which beat out more than 200 airlines to take the top spot.
Flyers around the world bumped Qatar down to the airline equivalent of economy class, as it slid into second place.
Winners of the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2013, announced at the Paris Air Show, are based on 18 million customer surveys completed between July 2012 and May 2013 from passengers in 160 countries.
The survey measures passenger satisfaction in areas such as check-in, boarding, onboard seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, staff, in-flight dining and entertainment.
Emirates also took home the awards for Best Airline Middle East and Best In-flight Entertainment.
Last summer, Emirates unveiled the world’s widest economy-class seat-back television screens. The 12.1-inch screens, complete with high-definition displays, were installed on all new Boeing 777s.
On the Skytrax airline review forum, one frequent Qatar Airways flyer gave Emirates a score of 9 out of 10, commenting, “It’s the little things: hot towels, printed menus, fantastic tasty meals, real cutlery, premium drinks in miniatures, and a crew that seemed to enjoy their work,” said the economy-class flyer of his Manchester to Brisbane flight.
Meanwhile, readers of The Daily Telegraph’s luxury travel supplement Ultratravel voted Virgin Atlantic the top long-haul airline in the world at the Ultratravel 100 awards in London last month for innovations like an in-flight bar and Swarovski-accented cabins.
And Etihad will be looking for its fifth consecutive win as the World’s Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards in Las Vegas later this year.
The Skytrax World’s Best Airlines 2013 are dominated by Middle Eastern and Asian airlines, with Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways and Asiana Airlines rounding out the top five list.
The World's Best Airline
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. ANA All Nippon Airways
5. Asiana Airlines
6. Cathay Pacific Airways
7. Etihad Airways
8. Garuda Indonesia
9. Turkish Airlines
10. Qantas Airways
12. EVA Air
14. Malaysia Air
15. Thai Airways
16. Swiss Int’l Air Lines
17. Korean Air
18. Air New Zealand
19. Hainan Airlines
20. Air Canada