Fortunately for some: Air Asia celebrates its 13th anniversary at the top of the low cost ranking. Photo / Artur Kornakov, Unsplash

After a successful haul at Skytrax global airline awards, a low-cost carrier finds great joy in small wins and smaller airfares. AirAsia was crowned the world’s best low-cost airline at the Skytrax awards show over the weekend, marking the 13th consecutive year at the top of the low-cost airline ranking.

To celebrate, the Malaysian low-cost carrier launched a seat sale for travelers including $5 fares from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

“This year is more special than previous years,” said Tony Fernandes, CEO of owners Capital A.

“The fact that we’re back in the skies is incredible in itself, with no major commercial benefactors and virtually no flying for almost two years.”

The UK-based awards, dubbed the “Oscars of Aviation”, are hotly contested with 350 airlines competing for the accolades, including top international and regional airlines. Surveying 14.3 million passengers in 100 countries, the public vote is closely watched by carriers and travellers.

With travelers feeling the squeeze and airfares more expensive than before the pandemic, competition among low-cost airlines was fierce.

AirAsia took first place in the low-cost category and AirAsia X subsidiary took fifth place in the long-haul low-cost category.

The airline’s chief commercial officer, Karen Chan, said she would sell a limited number of ultra-discount fares to celebrate the victory.

“As a big thank you to the millions of people who choose to fly with us each year and to those who voted for us, we are launching this special sale with fares starting at just RM13 (NZ$5)…for each year, we won!”

With the announcement of the airline’s return to New Zealand for the end of the year, low-cost fares will be popular with travelers looking to return to South Asia on a budget.

Jetstar won the award for Best Low Cost Carrier in Australia Pacific in an undisputed field. Something AirAsia X intends to change when it returns to Auckland in November.

With Japan reopening next month, the airline is offering fares to Tokyo Haneda from Kuala Lumpur for $250 one-way.

Skytrax, which has compiled its 23rd annual World Airline Rankings, announced the winners at an event in London over the weekend.

The big winner was Qatar Airways, celebrating a seventh year at the top as the best airline in the world. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand suffered a monumental drop of ten places to 30th in the rankings.

Sale of AirAsia X seats
KL or Bangkok to Jeddah $200 one way
KL or Bangkok to Seoul $200 one way
KL or Bangkok to New Delhi $200 one way
Penang to Bali $60 one way
Bangkok to Fukuoka $250 economy, $1,000 ‘flat’ one way