Air New Zealand is the world’s best airline, according to Australian safety assessment website’s Airline Excellence Awards. The national carrier nabbed the site’s 2015 “Airline of the Year” award for the second year in a row.

The judges cited Air New Zealand’s in-flight innovations, financial performance, operational safety and motivation of its staff as reasons for the honor, calling it a “trendsetter” in the industry.

“Put simply Air New Zealand is a textbook case of what an airline should be today,” said editor Geoffrey Thomas. “Air New Zealand has catapulted to the top tier of the industry and while it may be 50th in size in global rankings it is one of the most awarded.”

Air New Zealand also won the prize for Best Premium Economy seating for designing its own premium economy seat.

The Best First Class award went to Etihad Airways, which unveiled its new three-room “Residence” first-class suites earlier this year.

etihad-first-class Etihad boasts three-room suites in its new first class offerings. Photo: Etihad Airways

Cathay Pacific won the award for Best Business Class, while Thai Airways was lauded with the Best Economy award.

“Thai Airways offers some of the best value in Economy Class not only in the Asian region but throughout the airline industry. Their service is perfect, meals filling and frequent and the in-flight entertainment of superior quality,” said Thomas.

Australia’s Qantas was recognized in several categories, winning Best Domestic Service, Best Catering and Best Lounges.

The only U.S.-based carrier to receive an award was JetBlue, which was recognized alongside Norwegian, Scoot and Kulula as the best low-cost carriers in their regions.'s top 10 airlines for 2015

1. Air New Zealand

2. Etihad

3. Cathay Pacific

4. Qantas

5. Emirates

6. Singapore Airlines

7. EVA Air

8. Lufthansa

9. All Nippon Airways

10. British Airways