Qatar Airways was tabbed as the world’s best airline in 2017, according to the annual World Airline Awards published by Skytrax.
Qatar’s title continues a back-and-forth battle for No. 1 between it and Gulf rival Emirates, also known for its high-end service and luxurious premium cabins. Emirates finished atop Skytrax’s World Airline Awards last year, when it took the top spot back from Qatar Airways.
This year, Emirates dropped to No. 4, placing behind No. 2 Singapore Airlines and No. 3 All Nippon Airways (ANA). Cathay Pacific rounded out the top five of the ratings, which were announced Tuesday on the sidelines of the biennial Paris Air Show.
For Qatar Airways, the award comes as a bright spot during what’s otherwise been a difficult period for the carrier. The Doha-based airline is one of those affected by a U.S. ban on large carry-on electronics, putting it at a passenger-experience disadvantage against competitors unaffected by the ban.
And a diplomatic spat between Qatar and nearby Middle East nations has forced it to scrap flights to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among others. Also vexing for Qatar Airways is that those nations have closed off their airspaces to flights from Qatar. That’s forced many flights from Doha — where Qatar Airways operates a major hub — to take circuitous routings to avoid the restrictions.
In North America, Air Canada took the title for “Best Airline in North America.” Overall, the carrier placed 29th in the global ratings.
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