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Taking to the skies: Singapore Airlines is the world's most popular airline

Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

Who is the best airline in the world? This is the question with which the organization Skytrax has been surveying passengers worldwide for almost a quarter of a century. And the most popular airline in the world this year is: Singapore Airlines.

Goh Choon Phong (59), CEO of the Singaporean airline, accepted the award this week during the Paris Air Show. The support of customers and their encouragement "during the pandemic have given us the strength and determination to overcome the unprecedented challenges," says the manager.

In fact, Singapore Airlines, currently valued at the equivalent of around 15 billion euros on the stock exchange, has long been one of the top airlines in the Skytrax survey. In recent years, however, the airline has mostly ranked second behind Qatar Airways, but ahead of Emirates and ANA All Nippon Airways. This year, too, these four companies share the top spots, just in a different order.

Skytrax has been presenting the World Airline Awards since 1999 and annually presents the ranking for the 100 best airlines. The organization prides itself on the fact that the airlines are rated directly by travelers worldwide. However, critics complain that the company also offers services and is therefore not free of conflicts of interest. Nevertheless, the highly regarded ranking in the industry is considered the "Oscar of the aviation industry".

New in the top ten in 2023 this year was Cathay Pacific Airways. The Hong Kong-listed company, which currently has a market capitalization of around 6 billion euros, ranks eighth; In 2022, it still ranked 16th. Also new is EVA Air from Taiwan, which jumped from 18th to 9th place. Qantas Airways, on the other hand, has dropped out of the ranking of the top ten airlines, which now finds itself in 17th place. Overall, Asian and Arab carriers dominate the Skytrax list. Air France is the only European airline to make it into the top ten.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, even slipped out of the top 20 this year and ended up in 21st place. A year earlier, the Frankfurt-based company was still in 15th place among the most popular airlines. Far behind in the favor of passengers are the low-cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet with places 68 and 65. The result was even worse for Brussels Airlines, which also belongs to Lufthansa and has recently been managed by Dorothea von Boxberg (49). The problem company is at the sad bottom of the ranking – and occupies 100th place.

These are the top 10 most popular airlines in the world

1st place: Singapore Airlines

The airline's success is based on its commitment to customer service, writes Skytrax. The on-board menus convinced the passengers just as much as the entertainment system. Together with the low-cost airline Scoot, Singapore Airlines operates a fleet of more than 180 aircraft, which together serve a route network of more than 110 destinations. Singapore Airlines is the largest airline in the city-state of Singapore and a member of the Star Alliance airline alliance, which also includes Lufthansa. Revenue in the 2021/22 financial year was around $7.6 billion. In the pre-Corona period, in the 2018/19 financial year, the company still had a turnover of 16.3 billion dollars.

2nd place: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is the national airline of the desert state of Qatar. The Doha-based company is also characterized by comfort, according to Skytrax: fine dining, modern audio and video entertainment, award-winning service and a modern fleet of aircraft. And even though the airline was not at the top of the overall ranking, Skytrax awarded it the highest award in another category: "World's Best Business Class".

Qatar Airways serves more than 200 destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 150 aircraft. In the 2021/22 financial year, Qatar Airways carried around 18.5 million passengers and generated a net profit equivalent to $1.54 billion. Revenue was $14.4 billion. In the past, the airline has been criticized for the working conditions of the flight attendants.

3rd place: ANA All Nippon Airways

Founded in 1952, ANA has become the largest airline in Japan and one of the most important airlines in Asia. 82 international and 118 domestic routes are served. For the 2021/22 financial year, the company reported a net profit of about 580 million euros on sales of about 11.5 billion euros. In the previous year, the loss amounted to 930 million euros.

4th place: Emirates

Emirates is a state-owned airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The fleet currently consists of 262 aircraft, with which the airline flies to 152 destinations. Dubai is the airline's most important hub. Revenue in the 2022/23 financial year was €26.61 billion, up from €14.5 billion the year before. Most recently, Emirates carried 43.5 million passengers, compared to only 2020.21 million at the Corona low point of 6/5.

5th place: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines was founded in 1951 and is the second largest Japanese airline. A total of 230 aircraft are part of the fleet, and 96 destinations in 20 countries are served. Sales in the 2021/22 financial year were around 8.9 billion euros.

6th place: Turkish Airlines

The Turkish airline was founded in 1933 and is one of the big climbers of recent years. With over 300 aircraft, it flies to over 300 destinations worldwide. In 2022, the airline turned over $18.43 billion, in 2021 it was $10.7 billion, and in 2020 it was just $6.7 billion.

7th place: Air France

Since 2004, Air France and KLM have formed one of the leading European groups in the aviation sector. Hubs are Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol. In total, the Group flies to 312 destinations in 116 countries. In 2022, sales amounted to 26.39 billion euros, almost back to pre-Corona levels. A year earlier, it was 14.3 billion euros, and in 2020 only 11.1 billion euros.

8th place: Cathay Pacific Airways

The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group operates scheduled passenger and cargo flights to over 200 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa with a fleet of nearly 200 aircraft. The airline had a turnover of almost six billion euros in 2022.

9th place: EVA Air

EVA Air is the smallest airline in the top ten. It was founded in Taiwan in 1989 and, like Lufthansa, is a member of the Star Alliance. EVA flies to more than 60 destinations in Asia, Europe and North America.

10th place: Korean Air

Korean Air is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. The airline's core business includes passenger, cargo, aviation, catering and in-flight sales services. Korean Air flies to 169 destinations in 125 countries with a fleet of 44 aircraft.

These are the airlines ranked eleventh to 20th

Hainan Airlines (11)

Swiss International Air Lines (12)

Etihad Airways (13)

Iberia (14)

Fiji Airways (15)

Vistara (16)

Qantas Airways (17)

British Airways (18)

Air New Zealand (19)

Delta Air Lines (20)