The World’s Best Airlines for 2021, According to

(CNN) — It has been a strange year for the aviation industry, with many airlines leaving planes on the ground for much of 2020.

But as air travel returns in some regions, published its annual list of the best airlines in the world, to help travelers decide which airline to choose for their return to the skies.

The Australian-based aviation safety and product rating agency compiles its Airline Excellence Awards based on criteria including fleet age, passenger feedback and product offerings. This year, the team of global editors also included responses from airlines against covid-19.

And so for 2021, there is a new entry at number one: Qatar Airways jumped up the rankings to take first place, beating out previous winner Air New Zealand, which has topped the list six times in recent years and this time around. it was in second place.

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Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of, told CNN Travel that it was Qatar Airways’ response to the pandemic that gave it the top spot.

“Qatar Airways has always ranked high in our rankings, winning several awards for Best Business Class, but it was the airline’s commitment to keeping its route network largely open that attracted praise and votes from the judges,” says Thomas. .

Thomas also points to the airline’s repatriation flights and its commitment to making the experience of flying during the pandemic as safe as possible.

The influence of the pandemic generally announces its list of best airlines in November, in anticipation of next year. The pandemic forced the aviation safety and product rating agency to turn things around.

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“We carried the announcement from 2021 to the year 2021 due to the chaos of the covid and we wanted to see how the industry would handle the pandemic for a longer period of time before making selections,” explains Thomas.

Typically, profitability is one of the key factors evaluated by judges when ranking major airlines, but due to the strong financial impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, finances were not taken into consideration this year.

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“We had to remove it this year because virtually all airlines are losing money,” says Thomas.

Joining Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand in the top five this year is Singapore Airlines at number three. Singapore Airlines was the best airline in 2019.

Number four on’s list is Qantas. The Australian airline was separately ranked as the safest airline in the world by AirlineRatings earlier this year.

At number five is Dubai-based Emirates.

In addition to the top 20 ranking, also gave additional awards for what airlines offer, including best first class (Singapore Airlines), best cabin crew (Virgin Australia) and best airport lounges (Qantas). ).

Meanwhile, the budget airline EasyJet won the award for best low-cost airline for Europe, while Jetstar won in Asia / Pacific and Southwest won in the Americas.’s Top 20 Airlines for 2021

1. Qatar Airways

2. Air New Zealand

3. Singapore Airlines

4. Qantas

5. Emirates

6. Cathay Pacific

7. Virgin Atlantic

8. United Airlines

9. EVA Air

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10. British Airways

11. Lufthansa

12. ANA

13. Finnair

14. Japan Air Lines

15. KLM

16. Hawaiian Airlines

17. Alaska Airlines

18. Virgin Australia

19. Delta Air Lines

20. Etihad Airways

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