Kenya Airways dropped three places in the latest global ranking of airlines, trailing its regional rival Ethiopian Airlines, which recorded a significant jump to fly within the top 30 carriers in the world.
Skytrax World Airline Awards—which rates the world’s best carriers—placed KQ in position 81 in this year’s ranking, down from 79th in last year’s report.
Ethiopian Airlines, which rose 11 places to position 26, emerged as Africa’s best carrier, with South African Airways and Air Maroc coming in at position 66 and 79 respectively to stay within the top 100 carriers globally.
RwandAir, Uganda Airlines and Air Tanzania did not make the cut in the top 100 carriers in the ranking. However, the Rwandan carrier scooped some category awards in ‘Best Cabin Crew in Africa’ and ‘Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness’.
“While the awards celebrated the best of aviation, the industry is still tackling the strain of Covid, staffing shortages and fuel price surges caused by the conflict in Ukraine,” said Edward Plaisted, Skytrax chief executive officer.
Rising global fuel prices inflicted a ninth consecutive half-year loss on Kenya Airways increasing its default risk and sinking it Ksh15 billion ($124.1 million) deeper into a negative equity position.
KQ, which has been surviving on State bailouts since the Covid-19 pandemic, reported a Ksh9.8 billion ($81.1 million) loss last month — a better performance than the Ksh11.48 billion ($95 million) loss it recorded in the same period a year earlier.
The Skytrax awards are based on customers’ surveys. Travellers are asked about the performance and service quality of more than 350 global airlines.
The ranking comes at a time when the aviation industry is recovering from the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic that saw the industry record one of the worst losses after passenger flights were grounded to curb the spread of the virus.
Overall, Qatar Airways was named the best airline in the world, a title it has now won seven times since 2001.