The awards — decided by 18.9 million passengers in 110 countries across the globe — judge airlines on everything from the quality of their food and the comfort of their seats to the friendliness of their cabin crew.
Qatar has won the top prize twice before, in 2011 and 2012, and twice been voted runner-up; the airline also took home prizes for best airline in the Middle East an best business class seat.
“It’s a very clear accolade on behalf of the staff — they are the real recipients, I’m just their leader!” CEO Akbar Al Baker told CNN after the ceremony, held as part of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
The top 10 airlines — in alphabetical order — were: ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, EVA, Garuda Indonesia, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines. (Skytrax has yet to announce the top 10 order).
AirAsia was voted best low-cost airline for the seventh year in a row, six months after one of its planes, QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea killing all 162 people on board.
Co-founder and group CEO Tony Fernandes said the award “meant a lot, after all we’ve been through. I wouldn’t normally say the airline industry is sweet, but today it felt sweet.
“We’ve won it seven times, but this one means the most, because of what happened in the early part of this year.”
The airline also took the accolade for best low-cost airline in Asia, and subsidiary AirAsiaX won prizes for best low-cost premium cabin and best low cost premium class seat.
Garuda Indonesia’s cabin crew were feted as the best in the world, while Air France was hailed as the “most improved” airline.
Last year’s winner of the top prize, Cathay Pacific, took home the award for best transpacific airline, while Germany’s Lufthansa won for the transatlantic route.
Taiwanese carrier EVA Air was recognized as having the cleanest aircraft cabins, while Asiana, Air New Zealand and Austrian Airlines took the prizes for in-flight meals.
Oneworld was rated the best airline alliance, and Emirates won for its entertainment system.
The Skytrax Awards were established in 1999. They are compiled from the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey, and operate “independent of airline involvement, sponsorship or third-party influence,” according to Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted.