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A new era in customer satisfaction for international airlines?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,956

The results for the June Customer Satisfaction Awards are in, and full details of all 32 category winners (as well as runners up) can be seen at CustomerSatisfactionAwards.com. As usual, Roy Morgan congratulates this month’s winners, including new leaders in the categories of Bank, Building Society/Credit Union, Auto Store, Clothing Store, Liquor Store, Shoe Store, Mobile Phone Service Provider and Electricity Provider, for their industry-leading commitment to their customers.

This month, we shine a spotlight on International Airlines. Unlike 2015, when Singapore Airlines dominated this category for all 12 months, 2016 has seen two other contenders fighting for top spot: this month’s leader Emirates (who satisfied 89% of its customers in June) and second-place getter Air New Zealand (just over 87%).

Having won three months apiece so far this year, the two airlines have achieved the seeming impossible by holding Singapore – winner of the International Airline of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 – at bay. Currently, Singapore sits in third position, less than a percent behind Air New Zealand.

Customer Satisfaction Awards June 2016: International Airlines

airline-satisfaction-chart

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,956

As the chart above illustrates, very little separates the customer satisfaction levels of the six highest scorers in the International Airline category. However, there is a veritable gulf of more than 40% between Emirates in top spot and American Airlines in fifteenth (57%).

Satisfying just under 85% of its passengers – its highest customer satisfaction level for the last 18 months -- Australia’s own QANTAS (International) is in sixth position, but its low-cost carrier Jetstar International (66%) does not fare quite so well.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Whereas Singapore Airlines had the International Airline category in a virtual customer-satisfaction stranglehold throughout 2015, with Emirates and Air New Zealand having to be content with regular top five placements, the tables have turned in 2016.

“Emirates’ triumph in the June Customer Satisfaction Awards coincides with its victory in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards as the World’s Best Airline. The Dubai-based airline’s commitment to customer satisfaction is clearly being noticed by its passengers. Other international airlines from our Top Five that also finished in the Skytrax Top Five were Qatar Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

“Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has been in the news for its latest air-safety video starring Kiwi actor Rhys Darby and Hollywood starlet Anna Faris. An integral part of the airline’s brand is its irreverent sense of humour (the latest video is no exception), which undoubtedly endears it to its passengers. Of course, without an exceptional standard of in-flight and airport service to back this up, Air New Zealand would not be rating so highly in our Customer Satisfaction Awards.

“Although Singapore Airlines has not yet taken out a Customer Satisfaction Award this year, it should not be discounted. Having been International Airline of the Year four times running, Singapore practically wrote the book on keeping international passengers happy.”


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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2