, which bills itself as "the world's only safety and product rating website," is best known for its airline safety ratings. But it also rates airlines on other dimensions of interest to a broader segment of the traveling public.

Its just-published Airline Excellence Awards goes beyond safety, in an attempt to identify the world's top 10 airlines overall. According to the publisher, "The Airline Excellence Awards program combines four major international industry and government audits, with another nine key criteria that include: fleet age, passenger review ratings, profitability, investment rating and key product offerings."

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Applying those criteria, AirlineRatings' picks for the world's top 10 airlines are as follows:

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Qantas Airways
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Cathay Pacific Airways
  5. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
  6. British Airways
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. All Nippon Airways
  9. Eva Air
  10. Lufthansa

The list includes the usual suspects. Singapore, Lufthansa, ANA are routinely included is such best-of-the-best lists, as are some of AirlineRatings' other choices. But Air New Zealand as the world's best? The publisher cited the airline's "record-breaking financial performance, award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff. These factors have stamped the airline as an industry trendsetter." So, there you have it: Air New Zealand is on top of the airline world, at least according to

Reader Reality Check

Is Air New Zealand the world's best airline?

More from SmarterTravel:

Read the original story: Another 'World's Best Airline' List, with a Surprise Winner by Tim Winship, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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