According to AirlineRatings.com, airlines must achieve a seven-star safety rating and demonstrate leadership in innovation for passenger comfort in order to rank in its top ten.
See also: World's most luxurious airlines
Airlines are judged on fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offerings, and staff relations.
Air New Zealand was singled out for "its continued record-breaking financial performance, in-flight innovations, environmental leadership, young fleet and motivation of its staff. These factors have stamped the airline as an industry trendsetter".
Air New Zealand's chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said: "This award is testament to the huge effort from all of our people to deliver a world-class Kiwi experience on the ground and in the air. It is extremely rewarding to see their hard work recognised by such an experienced panel of aviation judges."
The world's best airlines for 2018 are as follows:
1 Air New Zealand
3 Singapore Airlines
4 Virgin Australia
5 Virgin Atlantic
6 Etihad Airways
7 All Nippon Airways
8 Korean Air
9 Cathay Pacific
10 Japan Airlines