What Makes an Award-Winning Airline?

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Top rankings are awarded to airlines that have unparalleled service throughout each customer touch point, leading the way in flight refunds, reliability, ticket flexibility, value for money, overall experience and safety especially covid-19 safety measures.

Airlines should be able to refund customers for excellent customer service. On refunds, the percentage of eligible refund request that have been processed by the airline and the average amount of time the airline takes to review each request and approve the funds.

A good airline should be reliable. This is measured by the number of flight cancellations. Customers also rate their overall experience and value for money. Airlines score points from customer reviews.

Safety is crucial. Airlines are checked for contactless check in and self-service bag drops, reduced capacity on airplanes,  compulsory use of face masks, temperature checks, hygiene kit, disinfecting the plane daily and stewards provided with additional protective equipment and limited on board services.

Airlines have very different origins and operate across different markets and geographies, however they share many characteristics.

Strategic alliances ensure reciprocal benefits and a steadier presence in the global market

Planning and forecasting combined with effective marketing and branding inform identification of the market, target clients and the achievement of the desired results.

Technology increases convenience, reduces costs and delivers a competitive edge.

Success is also measured by the amount of total revenue generated for example in America the Delta Airlines topped the charts after making US $47 billion.

Even though Africa is the second largest continent by size and population, its airlines account for only about 3% of the world’s air traffic.

In Africa Ethiopian airlines has been at number 1 for the better part of a decade. Formed in 1945, the Ethiopian Airways is wholly government owned. Other prominent airlines include Egyptair, AirMaroc and South African Airways.

Whilst some planes compete for first prize in excellent services others are competing for the worst services. Travelling might not always be fun. Some flights are uncomfortable and frustrating.  From tiny airplanes, flight delays, being bad at processing claims. Some like Pegasus airlines charge for luggage and food.

Travellers complain of unfriendly staff members, bad communication,  disorganized service and frequent flight changes. Old and rundown airplanes are a big turnoff. At number 5 on the list of worst airlines is Ryanair.  Although it is cheap, it charges for everything from carrry on luggage to sitting with your loved ones. Easyjet was number 1 for not caring about anything else!


Data from the Aviation Safety Network, which monitors and collates information about airline safety, shows DR Congo has had the most passenger-plane accidents in Africa since 1945. Daniel Kwasi Adjekum, of the University of North Dakota, says the high accident rate in DR Congo can be attributed to a variety of factors, among them the large size of the country, its terrain and weak regulation.

Air travel is important because only four out of the other 25 provincial capitals in the country can be accessed by reliable roads from the capital, Kinshasa. But the Democratic Republic Congo has dilapidated airport infrastructure, traffic navigation and surveillance equipment. There are also weak technical and safety regulations in the country. Other challenges include the use of aged aircraft.

There are also issues with flight crew and maintenance staff, who often lack supervision and stringent regulatory standards to adhere to. And some accidents are down to factors such as bad weather, including heavy rains and storms during the rainy seasons, since DR Congo lies in the tropical belt.

Globally the United States of America has had the most air accidents since 2010, followed by Russia, Canada, Mexico and Indonesia. But the US has some of the busiest commercial air routes in the world and the high volume of air traffic would make it more vulnerable to risk and possible safety lapses.


By Agnes Chioneso Msongelwa

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