Qantas has plummeted in the annual ranking of the world’s best airlines after a tumultuous year of poor performance, as Singapore Airlines was crowned the world’s best carrier.
The Flying Kangaroo’s drop from fifth to 17th in the World Airline Awards’ 2023 edition, announced at the Paris airshow, was one of the most significant fluctuations among global carriers.
Qatar Airways, which had the No 1 ranking in 2022, dropped to second, swapping places with Singapore Airlines. The Doha-based carrier did however win the award for world’s best business class offering.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways rose one spot to third, swapping places with Emirates which dropped to fourth, while Turkish Airlines and Air France each jumped one place to sixth, seventh respectively.
Elsewhere, British Airways dropped seven places over the past year, from 11th to 18th.
The rankings were released by Skytrax, which are based on customer surveys it conducts. It claims the results are independent and impartial, but exact methodology is unclear.
A Qantas spokesperson acknowledged 2022 was a difficult year for the airline.
“This survey started nine months ago when it was clear our service wasn’t back to our best,” the spokesperson said.
“A lot has changed since and if you ran this survey today, the results would be very different. We’ve worked hard to improve, and the feedback from customers shows we are,” the spokesperson said.
The dip in rankings follows a post-pandemic deterioration in Qantas’ service, including surging rates of mishandled baggage, delays and cancellations, in conjunction with soaring air fares, which also saw Qantas plunge 31 places to be Australia’s 40th most trusted brand last year.
However, Qantas remains top in rankings of the world’s safest airlines.
The 2023 rankings cover surveys from the year known for “the summer of lost luggage”, in which travellers across the world told stories of disappearing bags as the aviation industry struggled to keep up with the post-pandemic rebound in demand.
In 2022, the rate of mishandled baggage almost doubled globally, with 26m pieces of luggage delayed, lost or damaged.
The mishandled luggage rate soared to 7.6 bags per 1,000 passengers in 2022, up from 4.35 in 2021 and 5.6 in 2019, according to the aviation data company Sita’s annual insights report.
For international flights, the mishandling rate was 19.3 bags per 1,000 passengers, more than eight times higher than the rate of 2.4 for domestic flights.