APEX has been working to create a new way to recognise airline excellence, and for travellers to know which airlines are the best in the world. The result is the World Class rating, created in collaboration with aviation guest experience consultancy, Yates and Partners, which considers a range of different metrics to determine the world’s top airlines.
The metrics are wide-ranging, from familiar ratings criteria such as safety, service, space and comfort, customer recognition and catering, with a few more contemporary considerations such as wellbeing, sustainability and brand integrity.
As part of the ratings process, airlines must undergo an audit conducted by Yates and Partners; a peer review by Associate Professor Dr Max Winchester at Victoria University in Melbourne; and a review of one year’s worth of Net Promoter Score (NPS) customer comments.
APEX revealed the first seven airlines to have passed the World Class ratings process at an event at APEX Expo in Long Beach: Emirates, Japan Airlines (JAL), KLM, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
APEX praised Emirates for its “best-in-class” IFE provision and elegant service execution, while KLM was recognised as a leader in sustainability, with a “circular mindset evident at all levels.”
JAL was commended for its “warm and personal service that’s consistent across every flight”, while Qatar Airways was applauded for its spacious seat concepts and guest experience innovation. Turkish Airlines’ award highlights its culinary excellence, Saudia’s its hospitality standards, and Singapore Airlines its “best-in-class” customer retention.
The awards presentation was attended by KLM’s EVP of customer experience, Boet Kreiken; Patrick Brannelly, SVP for retail and IFEC at Emirates; Rossen Dimitrov, chief customer experience officer at Qatar Airways; Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO at Saudia; İlker Aycı, CEO & chairman of Turkish Airlines Group; Joey Seow, regional VP at Singapore Airlines; and Kiyoto Morioka, Japan Airlines’ SVP for The Americas.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session during which BBC News presenter Aaron Heslehurst asked the airlines how the awards would benefit normal passengers. Patrick Brannelly from Emirates answered, “Awards are hard to win, but they’re harder to lose, so that’s great motivation for us to keep improving.”
The World Class ratings are separate from, but complementary to, the APEX Official Airline Ratings, the industry awards based on passengers rating their travel experiences.
Dr Joe Leader, CEO of APEX/IFSA said, “This World Class collaboration with Yates and Partners has accelerated the development of diagnostic and actionable audit processes that materialise in important changes.”
Keith Yates, chair at Yates and Partners, added that he views the ratings as “every airline’s North Star.”