UAE's Emirates and Etihad rank in world's top 20 airlines

The 2021 list from takes airline coronavirus pandemic responses into consideration

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Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways have both made the cut in the most recent rankings of the world’s top 20 airlines.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic dampening air travel around the world, Australian aviation safety and product rating agency has compiled its annual rankings.

Based on several criteria including the age of fleet, passenger reviews and product offerings, the 2021 list was topped by Qatar Airways, which nudged out Air New Zealand from the top.

This year, airlines were also ranked based on how they have responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Emirates ranked in fifth place, while Etihad squeezed into the last slot on the top 20 list.

At a time when demand for air travel is slowly returning and flying looks a lot different than it used to, the top 20 rankings can help provide passengers with more information when deciding which airlines to book amid an ongoing pandemic.

The world's top 20 airlines in 2021

Etihad maintained its No 20 ranking in the best airlines in the world listing. Courtesy Etihad / Fraport Greece

1. Qatar (Qatar)

2. Air New Zealand (New Zealand)

3. Singapore Airlines (Singapore)

4. Qantas (Australia)

5. Emirates (UAE)

6. Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)

7. Virgin Atlantic (UK)

8. United Airlines (US)

9. Eva Air (Taiwan)

10. British Airways (UK

11. Lufthansa (Germany)

12. ANA (Japan)

13. Finnair (Finland)

14. Japan Airlines (Japan)

15. KLM (the Netherlands)

16. Hawaiian Airlines (US)

17. Alaska Airlines (US)

18. Virgin Australia (Australia)

19. Delta Air Lines (US)

20. Etihad Airways (UAE)

Etihad, the national airline of the UAE, is at the same No 20 spot it held last year in the rankings.

A spokeswoman for the Abu Dhabi airline said: “During what has been a particularly challenging year for the aviation industry, Etihad has continually enhanced our products, guest experience and safety protocols, by designing industry-leading measures to combat Covid-19 through our Etihad Wellness programme.”

“It is an honour to be ranked in the ‘20 Top Airlines in the World’ by for 2021. This recognition acknowledges that Etihad not only continues to set the benchmark in global aviation, but has provided a consistent level of service and innovation during a challenging period.”

Dubai's Emirates climbed up the list to fifth position, after ranking in sixth place in 2020.

The airline recently introduced its long-awaited premium economy class cabins on select flights. AirlineRatings also awarded Emirates the top award for Best Inflight Entertainment.

AirlineRankings also rated the best low-cost airlines in the world for 2021, with the UK’s EasyJet topping the list for those seeking budget travel options.

Updated: July 23, 2021, 10:59 AM