Ireland’s national carrier, Aer Lingus, has received a four-star rating from Skytrax, placing it among the top 40 airlines in the world for quality and service. Aer Lingus is the first Irish airline to receive this rating is also now the only four-star airline connecting Ireland and North America.

Skytrax is a globally recognized independent organization providing the leading airline rating system classifying airlines worldwide. Skytrax highlighted how Aer Lingus has grown Dublin as a leading gateway to North America, providing a seamless transfer experience at Dublin Airport with the US customs pre-clearance facility. Aer Lingus’ transatlantic growth continues with three new routes from Dublin this summer, marking the single largest expansion of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic network since the airline commenced transatlantic flying in 1958. The new year-round Los Angeles service began in May and will be closely followed by Dublin to Newark in New Jersey from September 1 and flights from Dublin to Hartford, Connecticut will begin on September 28.

This summer Aer Lingus will operate 28 daily services across the Atlantic offering value to business and leisure customers in an increased number of markets across Europe and North America strengthening Dublin’s position as a leading gateway to North America.

Aer Lingus’ four-star rating has been awarded by Skytrax following a range of rigorous audits conducted by Skytrax to measure the quality of front-line product and staff service standards in the air and on the ground.

Speaking at the announcement of Aer Lingus as Ireland’s four-star airline, Aer Lingus Chief Executive Stephen Kavanagh said “We are delighted to have achieved a four-star rating from Skytrax which recognizes our product offering, service and overall guest experience as word-class. 2016 is shaping up to be a standout year in the airline’s history as not only does our transatlantic expansion continue to accelerate and we celebrate 80 years of flying, now we can also we stand proud as Ireland’s only four-star airline.

“The needs of our guests are central to everything we do and this achievement not only confirms that our service enhancements are responding to those needs, it also confirms our status as global leader within the air travel industry. While our product offering was instrumental in securing the rating, it is our people that then deliver the award-winning, world-class experience each day at the airport, on board and beyond, and this was highlighted by Skytrax in their awarding of the fourth star. I am very proud of the entire team at Aer Lingus who each played their part in making this happen.”

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax commented “Aer Lingus embarked on an intensive project of quality development during the last two years and this has seen the product and service standards improve significantly, particularly for the core transatlantic market. The new Aer Lingus Business Class experience was a key factor in securing this four-star airline rating. The US customs pre-clearance facility that is available to Aer Lingus passengers at Dublin airport, a leading gateway to North America, offers a seamless transfer experience.

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“We noted that the crown jewel of the Aer Lingus experience, and important aspect of the four-star airline rating is the staff service – it is the kind and warm personality of staff that shines through during flights. Achieving a four-star airline rating status is based on a balance of both product and service quality, and we were pleased to observe the considerable quality improvement that Aer Lingus is now delivering to travelers.”

Aer Lingus has said it is committed to delivering to its guests a high quality travel experience at a value price. As part of that commitment to delivering a high-quality travel experience, two years ago, Aer Lingus embarked upon a mission to offer its guests the ultimate travel experience at every point of their journey – from booking on Aer, airport check-in, boarding procedures, to stepping on board the aircraft. The ‘Good to Great’ program revisited each aspect of the Aer Lingus guest experience to identify ways in which to innovate the overall product offering, increase efficiency, provide a more comfortable experience on board and ultimately offer guests a world-class service.

A key milestone in the ‘Good to Great’ journey was the relaunch of Aer Lingus’ Business Class which now boasts fully lie-flat seats, where each seat transforms into a fully lie-flat 6.5-foot long by 22 inches wide bed, and a redesigned cabin space offering greater comfort, storage and space. The new Business Class also offers wifi on board, the very best in Irish cuisine complemented by award-wining wines, plus the latest in inflight entertainment. At the airport Business Class guests are also invited into Aer Lingus’ lounges in Dublin, Boston, London Heathrow and New York JFK and for those arriving from North America the Aer Lingus ‘Revival Lounge’ in Dublin Airport offers them the chance to refresh on arrival.

Smart flies Aer Lingus from KesselsKramer on Vimeo.

Mike Rutter, Chief Operating Officer, Aer Lingus, who led the ‘Good to Great’ initiative said “Aer Lingus made a significant investment over the last 24 months in terms of enhancements to our guest experience, including rigorous training programs for our staff and fleet modernization, in order to be able to upgrade our service from three to four star.

“We conducted in-depth research to hear directly from our guests and better understand their needs. This has resulted in a much more innovative and intuitive guest experience. This is evident not only in our Business Class cabins, but in our new website and mobile app, how we use the Aer Lingus social media channels to meaningfully reach out to our guests, as well as our Premium Check-in and Express Bag Drop at Dublin airport. We are thrilled to have achieved a 4-Star rating from Skytrax, to receive official recognition for Aer Lingus’ world-class product offering and service. This should be seen as only the start of our journey. We will fight on a daily basis; to maintain that rating; to continue to deliver punctuality better than our competition and to retain a listening ear to our guests.”