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The world's 10 best airlines

Last updated on: July 25, 2011 07:55 IST

The world's 10 best airlines

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Voted by over 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 different nationalities, the World Airline Awards are the most prestigious and respected quality recognition of front-line product and service standards across the world airline industry.

With 200 airlines featured, the awards reflect customer satisfaction levels across 38 different items of airline front-line product and service.

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Rank 1: Qatar Airways

The flag carrier of Qatar links over 100 International destinations from its base in Doha.

Using a fleet of 96 aircraft, the airline operates one of the youngest fleets in the world with an average age of less than 4.1 years.

Under its expansion plan, it has ordered for more than 200 aircraft worth over $30 billion.

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Image: Qatar Airways.

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The airline will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 - almost double the existing size.

It has ordered five of the twin-deck Airbus A380 super jumbos for delivery from 2012.

Its newest aircraft-type, Boeing 777s, features next generation Oryx Entertainment in-flight entertainment system offering every passenger in both Business and Economy Class a choice of more than 700 audio and video options.

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Image: The 1st class bar.

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Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has come a long way since it was founded in 1972, evolving from a regional airline to one of the most respected travel brands around the world.

It was the first airline to operate the A380, and flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries on six continents from its primary hub in Singapore.

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Image: Singapore Airlines.

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Singapore Airlines has quite a few other 'firsts' to it's credit:

First to offer free headsets, a choice of meals and free drinks in Economy Class, in the 1970s.

First to introduce satellite-based inflight telephones in 1991.

First to involve a comprehensive panel of world-renowned chefs, the International Culinary Panel, in developing inflight meals in 1998.

First to offer audio and video on demand (AVOD) capabilities on KrisWorld in all classes in October 2001.

First to operate the world's longest non-stop commercial flight between Singapore and Los Angeles in February 2004.

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Image: 1st Class cabin of Singapore Airlines.

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Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines is one of South Korea's two major airlines.

The airline has its domestic hub at Gimpo International Airport and its international hub at Incheon International Airport.

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Asiana Airlines has rapidly expanded since its establishment in 1988 to become a midsized, global carrier.

Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance and offers 516 daily departures throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania, operating 14 domestic and 85 international passenger routes.

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Image: View of the Economy Class.

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Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport.

The airline's operations include scheduled passenger and cargo services to 114 destinations in 36 countries worldwide, including codeshares and joint ventures.

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Image: Cathay Pacific Airways.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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The airline was founded on September 24, 1946 by American Roy C Farrell and Australian Sydney H de Kantzow, with each man putting up HK$1 to register the airline.

The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998.

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Image: Business Class seats in herring-bone configuration on the 777-300ER.

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Thai Airways International

Thai Airways operates out of Suvarnabhumi Airport, and flies to 72 destinations in 35 countries, using a fleet of 85 aircraft.

Thai Airways International has its origins in 1960, when the airline was a result of a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System and Thailand's domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company.

On April 1, 1977 the Thai government bought out the SAS-owned shares and Thai became an airline fully owned by the government.

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Image: Thai Airways International.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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After achieving profitability for the previous 40 years, Thai made a loss for the first time in 2008 at around baht 21 billion on high fuel costs and Thailand's political situation.

As of Q2 of 2009, after a series of restructuring initiative, the carrier returned to a net profit of baht 2.5 billion.

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Image: The Economy Class of Thai Airways.

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Etihad Airways

As of January 2011, the airline operates services to 66 destinations around the world from its home base in Abu Dhabi.

Established in 2003, Etihad commenced operation on November later that year.

The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week to 70 destinations in 46 countries,via a fleet of 61 aircraft.

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Image: Etihad Airways.

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Its operation is heavily centered in Europe and Asia, as well as Oceania, Africa and North America.

Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport, with its head office in Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi.

In 2010, it carried 7.1 million passengers.

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Image: First Class of Etihad.
Photographs: Courtesy, Etihad Aiways
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Air New Zealand

Based in Auckland, the airline operates scheduled passenger flights to 26 domestic destinations and 24 international destinations in 15 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

It is the only airline to circumnavigate the world.

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Image: Air New Zealand Lord of the Rings Boeing 747-400.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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New Zealand's national airline operates a long-haul fleet consisting of Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Airbus A320 aircraft on international routes.

The carrier also utilises a fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airliners for short-haul operations.

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Image: Air New Zealand Business Premier Boeing 777 seat.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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Qantas Airways

Nicknamed 'The Flying Kangaroo', the airline's main hub is at Sydney Airport.

It is Australia's largest airline, the oldest continuously operated airline in the world and the second oldest in the world overall.

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Image: Qantas Airways.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on November 16, 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.

It's first international flight was in May 1935, when it commenced services from Darwin to Singapore.

In June 1959 Qantas entered the jet age when the first Boeing 707 138 was delivered.

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Image: Qantas First Class suite on the A380.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
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Turkish Airlines

It operates scheduled services to 139 international and 42 domestic cities (38 domestic airports), serving a total of 181 airports, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The airline's main base is at Ataturk International Airport.

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Image: Turkish Airlines.

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During Skytrax's 2011 World Airline Awards ceremony, Turkish Airlines won Europe's Best Airline and Southern Europe's Best Airline awards, as well as the award for the world's Best Premium Economy Class Airline Seat.

It is currently an official sponsor of FC Barcelona, Manchester United FC, Maroussi Basketball Club, Valencia Basket Club and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Basketball.

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Image: Business Class seats.

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Emirates

The flag carrier of Dubai, Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 2,400 passenger flights per week, from its hub at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, to 111 cities in 62 countries across six continents.

The company also operates three of the world's ten longest non-stop commercial flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

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Image: Emirates.

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Emirates operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft and is one of only nine airlines to operate an all-wide-body aircraft fleet, whose centrepiece is the Boeing 777.

Emirates also has orders for 90 Airbus A380s with 15 of them already in service and became the second operator of the Airbus A380-800 after Singapore Airlines when their first aircraft was delivered on July 28, 2008.


Image: First Class suite on a Boeing 777-200LR.

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