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Recognizing GCC’s top carriers: Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Etihad Airways

The GCC air travel industry is blessed with only some of the top airlines in the world. Here are some of the most recent international awards that recognized them

Qatar Airways has unseated Air New Zealand as the world's best carrier, as judged by Emirates Airlines was voted ‘Best Airline Worldwide’ by the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2021 Etihad Airways was awarded ‘Best Cabin Crew’ and ‘Best Frequent Flyer Program’

The GCC is blessed with only some of the top airlines in the world.

We recently discovered that Qatar Airways has unseated Air New Zealand as the world’s best carrier, as judged by

Here we look at this achievement and what UAE’s national carriers did to earn prestigious awards of their own.

Qatar Airways

The Australia-based aviation specialist site also awarded Qatar the best Middle East airline, best catering, and best business class.

Air New Zealand has been a regular winner of the top award, winning it six times, including for 2020.  

AirlineRatings judges assess airlines on 11 criteria including customer reviews, product offerings, safety, fleet age, profitability and environmental leadership, and now Covid compliance.

Virgin Australia won best cabin crew while best in-flight entertainment went to Emirates Airlines.

Emirates Airlines

Last May, Emirates Airlines was voted ‘Best Airline Worldwide’ for the eighth consecutive time by the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2021. The airline also took home accolades for ‘Airline with the Best First Class’ and ‘Airline with Best Economy Class’.

The wins demonstrate Emirates’ strategic approach to continuously improving the onboard and on ground experience, offering a safe customer journey across all touchpoints, leaving no detail behind, while ensuring it meets evolving customer expectations during the most challenging period the air travel industry has experienced.

To maintain its industry leadership, the airline has also doubled down on its digital approach to modernize the air travel experience by fully launching and scaling up its biometric path and touchless check-in for a safer, contactless travel experience. Over 33 Emirates biometric checkpoints and close to 50 touchless kiosks lay across Dubai International Airport.

The airline was a first mover in the industry when it introduced free Covid-19 cover to help customers travel with more confidence.  Emirates expanded this to offer the airline’s industry-first, multi-risk travel insurance, and COVID-19 cover. This is offered by Emirates on all tickets at no cost to customers. In addition to COVID-19 medical cover, the cover also accounts for personal accidents during travel, winter sports cover, loss of personal belongings, and trip disruptions due to unexpected air space closure, travel recommendations or advisories, and other circumstances.

As customers return to travel, Emirates is bringing them a generous and comfortable experience in Economy Class. On its latest A380, Emirates has replaced its economy seats onboard with more ergonomically designed seats that come with full leather headrests and flexible side panels which can be adjusted vertically for optimum support, a step up from the version currently installed on Emirates’ Boeing 777 Gamechanger aircraft. Each seat features an elegant wood grain finish on tray tables, as well as a 13.3” personal screen to enjoy Emirates’ award-winning offering of more than 4,500 channels on demand.

The Business Traveller Middle East awards are dedicated to business travel, covering all aspects of the industry from airlines, airports, hotels, and loyalty programs.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways was awarded ‘Best Cabin Crew’ and ‘Best Frequent Flyer Program’ at this year’s Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2021.

The airline was the first carrier in the world to get all their aircrew inoculated; they extended their free global wellness cover until the end of September 2021, and they’ve dropped some incredible sale fares to quarantine free destinations.

They’ve also committed to giving away the wild number of 50,000 prizes as part of the UAE’s 50th year Jubilee celebrations. Some of the prizes are free Etihad Guest Miles, the airline’s award-winning loyalty program.

You can also earn (and win) Etihad Guest Miles by using Visa cards at over 3,000 stores in Abu Dhabi all summer long as part of the emirate’s sale and retail extravaganza.