Qatar Airways named 'Airline of the Year,' amid blockade in Gulf region

By Transportation FOXBusiness

FILE -- In this Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, a Boeing 787 airplane purchased by Qatar Airways is shown during a delivery ceremony in Everett, Wash. Qatar Airways, announced Sunday, June 11, 2017, that its net profits reached $540 million in its latest ... financial disclosure before the airline was blocked from flying to major Arab states. Analysts estimate that a political standoff in the Gulf between Qatar and other Arab states will cost the airline heavily after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar and blocked direct flights with the country. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) (AP)

Middle East air carrier Qatar Airways was named “Airline of the Year” at the 2017 Paris Air Show on Tuesday, by Skytrax, an air carrier ratings organization.

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Last year the airline came in second place on Skytrax’s list of the world’s top 100 airlines, but is no stranger to the top spot; it has won the award in 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The award comes at a time when Qatar Airways is struggling to maintain its presence in the Gulf region as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with the airline’s home country, Qatar, including halting air traffic.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said Monday the blockade on the country would “leave a lasting wound,” according to The Associated Press. Baker added that he believes the Trump administration would intervene "to make sure that this blockade is lifted soonest and that life in our region comes back to normal, especially since he knows that we are part of his alliance against terrorism and that we are a major player in his strategy in the region."

While the White House has not officially commented on the airline’s issue, it released a statement earlier this month regarding President Trump’s phone call with Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar.

“The president offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary,” it said.

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Delta Air Lines was the highest-ranked U.S. carrier on the list at No. 32. JetBlue, Virgin America, Alaska, Southwest, American, United and Hawaiian also made the top 100 list, respectively.

Considered to be the “Oscars of the aviation industry,” the awards is are based on votes by airlines customers around the globe.

World’s Top 10 Airlines in 2017:

1) Qatar Airways

2) Singapore Airlines

3) ANA All Nippon Airways (Japan)

4) Emirates (United Arab Emirates)

5) Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)

6) EVA Air (Taiwan)

7) Lufthansa (Germany)

8) Etihad Airways (United Arab Emirates)

9) Hainan Airlines (China)

10) Garuda Indonesia

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