Cathay Pacific drops 10 places to 16th in Skytrax World’s Top 100 Airlines 2022 rankings

Cathay Pacific aircraft. Photo: Facebook/Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific aircraft. Photo: Facebook/Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific has tumbled 10 places down in Skytrax’s latest ranking of the World’s Top 100 Airlines, dropping from 6th to 16th place. 

The new rankings, released at the 2022 World Airline Awards ceremony on Friday in London, saw Qatar Airways take the top spot. 

Singapore Airlines came in second, while Emirates was placed third. 

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax pointed out that Qatar Airways, which was named Airline of the Year for the seventh time, “was the largest airline to have flown consistently throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with their network never falling below 30 destinations, and that determination has clearly been well recognized by customers with this award as Airline of the Year 2022”.

Both Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines scooped nine award wins each, with the latter winning the award for the World’s Best Cabin Staff. 

While the airline and airport consultancy did not state the reasons for Cathay Pacific’s precipitous drop in the rankings, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise given that the Hong Kong flag carrier has been largely grounded during the two-plus years of the pandemic. 

The carrier recorded a net annual loss of HK$6.12 billion (US$783 million) in 2021 and carried just 717,059 passengers last year, 84 percent down from 2020 and 98 percent fewer than in 2019. 

This was in part due to Hong Kong’s strict travel restrictions, including the so-called circuit breaker mechanism, which was only scrapped in July of this year. The controversial policy banned airlines from flying a particular route for a number of days if a certain number or percentage of passengers were found to be infected upon arrival. About 100 flight routes were banned just this year due to the mechanism.

The city’s much-criticized mandatory hotel quarantine was also only lifted today

But with the easing of travel curbs in Hong Kong in recent months, things could start looking up for the beleaguered carrier. On Friday, when news of the hotel quarantine policy being rescinded was made official, the Cathay Pacific website was apparently flooded with visitors who had to wait as long as 15 minutes just to access its booking system. 

The Skytrax rankings are based on online customer surveys conducted between Sep. 2021 and Aug. 2022. 

Customers were asked to nominate their favorite airline or airline they considered to be best, and rank their satisfaction with various aspects of their travel experiences, across both the airport and onboard environments. 

Cathay Pacific last topped the ranking in 2014.

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