Business Travel

World’s best airlines for 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted many industry sectors. One of them is the airline industry with significant financial losses due to the travel restrictions that were implemented. However, AirlineRatings.com published its list with the best airlines for one more year.

Qatar Airways holds the first place of the list. The airline continued the expansion of its global route network in 2019-20, increasing its presence around the globe and providing passengers with an even greater choice of exciting destinations to experience. Qatar Airways added eight new destinations to its global route map in 2019-20, extending its presence in Europe, whilst also launching new destinations in Africa and Asia. Also, the fleet continues to be one of the youngest and most modern in the industry.

Air New Zealand follows second. The airline announced a loss before other significant items and taxation of $185 million for the six-month period ended 31 December 2020, reflecting the considerable impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the airline and global aviation industry. This compares to earnings before other significant items and taxation of $198 million for the same period last year. As on 23 February 2021, the airline has short-term available liquidity of just over $700 million.

Singapore Airlines holds the third place of the list. For Singapore Airlines during financial year 2020/2021 passenger traffic was down 97.9% due to global restrictions on international travel. Also, according to a recent announcement, Group revenue fell by $12,160 million (-76.1%) year-on-year to $3,816 million due to the plunge in passenger flown revenue across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot – the three passenger airlines within the Group.

Qantas holds number four of the list. The Qantas Group reported an underlying loss before tax of $1,034 million for the 6 months ended on 31 December 2020, a decrease of $1,809 million compared to first half 2018/19 (down $1,805 million compared to first half 2019/20). Group total revenue was $2,330 million, down approximately $7.0 billion or 75% compared with pre-Covid levels and the prior year.

Emirates completes the top 5 best airlines for 2021. Emirates is now connecting global business and leisure travelers with it’s first-ever passenger service between Dubai and Miami. The airline recently celebrated the inaugural flight of its four times a week service. With the addition of Miami, Emirates now serves 12 gateways in the US including Boston, Chicago, New York (JFK and Newark), Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and Orlando. Also, in mid July Emirates celebrated its 30th anniversary of service to Beirut. The airline launched its first flight in 1991.

Cathay Pacific comes at the 6th place of the list. Cathay Pacific in Jue 2021 carried a total of 40,651 passengers, an increase of 50% compared to June 2020, but a 98.7% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in June 2019. The revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) for June 2020 rose 60.5% year – on – year, but were down 98% versus June 2019. In the first six months of 2021, the number of passengers carried dropped by 96.4% against an 85% decrease in capacity and a 95.8% decrease in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2020.

Virgin Atlantic follows next. Year 2021 is the 37th in a row of continuous operation. The airline expects to return to profitable operation in 2022. During 2020, passenger numbers and revenue fell by 80%. The airline carried 1.2 million passengers compared to nearly 6 million in the previous year. Passenger revenue during 2020 was £446m compared to over £2bn in 2019.

United Airlines hold the 8th place of the list. The company expects full recovery in demand anticipated by 2023. The reported second quarter 2021 capacity was down 46% compared to second quarter 2019 while the reported second quarter 2021 total operating revenue of $5.5 billion, was down 52% compared to second quarter 2019. The company expects third quarter 2021 capacity to be down around 26% compared to third quarter 2019 and up 39% quarter over quarter.

EVA Air holds the 9th place of the list. EVA stands for Evergreen Airways. It is a Taiwanese international airline based at Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. The airline is operating passenger and dedicated cargo services to over 40 international destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The company was founded in 1989 and is largely privately owned.

British Airways completes the top 10 best airlines for 2021. Four aviation decarbonization projects supported by British Airways and designed to help the industry achieve its targets of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, have been shortlisted for Government funding. This is the latest news that come from the airline. The airline is partnering with technology company Velocys on the Altalto project to build a commercial waste-to-SAF plant in Immingham, Lincolnshire. Altalto will take more than half a million tonnes per year of household and commercial waste and produce up to 80 million litres of cleaner burning SAF and naphtha. This is one of the four projects that British Airways is working on.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at maria-gourtsilidou@ceoworld.biz.