Qatar, Turkey, UAE airlines ranked among top 10 globally: Skytrax

Qatar Airways fell to number two on a list of the top 100 airlines in the world on Tuesday, though the Doha-based carrier and its regional competitors — including Emirates and Turkish airlines — ranked among the top 10 airlines globally. 

The London-based Skytrax ranked Singapore Airlines the best airline in the world, followed by Qatar Airways. The Doha-based airline was number one last year, while its Singaporean competitor was second. Among other Middle Eastern airlines, Emirates was ranked fourth, down from third in 2022, while Turkish Airlines was ranked sixth, up from seventh last year.

Here are Skytrax’s top 10 airlines:

1. Singapore Airlines

2. Qatar Airways

3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

4. Emirates

5. Japan Airlines

6. Turkish Airlines

7. Air France

8. Cathay Pacific Airways

9. EVA Air

10. Korean Air

Outside the top 10, Etihad Airways was ranked 13th compared to 12th in 2022. Saudia experienced a big jump, going from 34th in 2022 to 23rd this year. Oman Air also improved from 37th to 27th, while Bahrain’s Gulf Air fell considerably from 22nd to 32nd. Kuwait Airways also made a big jump from 76th to 42nd. 

Middle Eastern budget airlines were ranked relatively lower. FlyDubai was ranked 70th, up from 80th last year, and Air Arabia was 88th, down from 78th.

The rankings were released as part of Skytrax’s 2023 World Airline Awards. Qatar Airways is still performing well, despite losing the top spot. It won awards for World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Lounge and best overall airline in the Middle East, Skytrax said in a press release.

Several Middle Eastern airport lounges were also ranked favorably by Skytrax. The Pearl Lounge at Bahrain International Airport was ranked the second-best independent airport lounge in the world, behind Plaza Premium in Rome. The IGA Lounge at Istanbul Airport was ranked third, while Primeclass at Muscat International Airport in Oman was fourth.

Skytrax’s rankings are based on a survey of international passengers.

Why it matters: Middle Eastern airlines have largely recovered from their pandemic-related losses. Qatar Airways reported $1.5 billion in profits in 2022. This marked the first time the airline posted an annual profit since 2017. Qatar Airways attributed losses in previous years to the air blockade other Gulf states imposed following the crisis that began in 2017, in addition to COVID-19 starting in 2020, Reuters reported at the time.

In May, Emirates reported a record $2.9 billion profit for the previous fiscal year, following two years of losses.

Etihad Airways also reported an all-time high profit of $296 million during the first half of 2022.

Turkish Airlines reported a $2.7 billion profit in 2022, including a record $18.4 billion in revenue, according to the official Anadolu Agency. Turkish Airlines’ pre-pandemic profit in 2019 was $788 million, per Reuters.

Know more: Gulf airlines will soon face competition. In March, the Saudi Public Investment Fund launched Riyadh Air as part of its economic diversification plans.

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