Skytrax has updated some of its airline ratings. Notably, Turkish Airlines lost its four-star Skytrax status. However, this has stirred up some backlash, as some claim that the ranking method may be flawed, for example because the Lufthansa Skytrax rating is based on a future product.
The issue with Skytrax appears to have regained traction since it was first raised. This was back in 2017, when Lufthansa gained their five-star rating. The criteria applied to ratings seems to contradict itself, but we’ll get into this a little bit later. For now, let us start with a tweet from Will Horton, the Asia Editor at Orient Aviation:
Turkish Airlines downgraded to Skytrax three stars, Etihad down to four stars, Lufthansa up to five stars – this is a function of how much money the airlines pay Skytrax for the “audits” and how many “audits” are done.
Why doesn’t Skytrax disclose rating basis & revenue sources?
— Will Horton (@winglets747) May 12, 2019
Skytrax works as an airline consultancy business. As part of their work, they rank airlines and airports from one to five stars. While a five-star rating is highly prized by airlines, some interested in aviation have started to question their allocation.
There are currently 10 five star airlines according to Skytrax. These are:
- All Nippon Airways, based in Asia;
- Asiana Airlines, based in Asia;
- Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Asia;
- Eva Air, based in Asia;
- Garuda Indonesia, based in Asia;
- Hainan Airlines, based in Asia;
- Japan Airlines, based in Asia;
- Lufthansa, based in Europe;
- Qatar Airways, based in the Middle East;
- Singapore Airlines, based in Asia.
While we touched on Will Horton’s tweet earlier, he wasn’t alone. In fact, many others including some well-known names in the aviation writing community pitched in. Here’s what they had to say:
— Josh Cahill (@gotravelyourway) May 13, 2019
So, Turkish Airlines quit paying Skytrax @airlinequality.
Skytrax, after, cut @TurkishAirlines four star rating to a three, without explanation
In my experience, Turkish is tops, really tops. I’d like to know more from Skytrax. https://t.co/zkLq2Rr0Or
— Russ Ptacek 🎧 (@RussPtacek) May 12, 2019
Wait. Are we still using Skytrax as a measure of quality still?
— Kevin – Economy Class & Beyond (@EconomyBeyond) May 11, 2019
Lufthansa’s five-star rating
Researching this topic, I stumbled across an article written by One Mile At A Time in 2017 entitled “Skytrax Has Lost All Credibility With Their Lufthansa 5-Star Ranking“. I highly recommend you give it a read for the full picture. Indeed, the author raises some interesting points.
He mentions that Skytrax says that not having 80% uniformity can affect a rating, yet they claim Lufthansa’s five-star rating is based on the expected cabin in the airline’s new Boeing 777X aircraft. Now, as the Boeing 777X is yet to take its first flight, the cabin’s introduction to Lufthansa’s fleet is a little way off. The writer also mentions “in reality it will probably be several more years until 80% of the fleet features the product”.
Altogether, this does raise some unanswered questions about Skytrax ratings. The topic certainly requires some further investigation, and as such, it is impossible to rule who is right in this case.
Do you think the Skytrax rating system is fair? Let us know in the comments!