The Hong Kong-based firm claimed the World Airline Awards title from last year's winner Emirates. It was Cathay Pacific's first victory in the most prestigious category since 2009.
The award is decided by the votes of millions of travelers.
A Cathay Pacific delegation received the prize from CNN's Jim Boulden.
"Of all the sellers, Cathay were the best performers across all types of travel. Some airliners were very good in economy, others in luxury, but they were top or near the top in all categories", Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, told CNN.
Speaking ahead of the show, Cathay Pacific chairman John Slosar expressed his confidence, stating: "I believe that the Cathay Pacific team is the best and it is fantastic to see that our passengers see it the same way.
"I would certainly like to congratulate our cabin crew and everyone else in the Cathay Pacific team who make our award-winning service happen each and every day."
The votes have been tallied and the results may surprise you. Jim Boulden reports the winner of the World Airline Awards.
Elsewhere, there was victory for Thomson Airways in the Best Leisure Airline category, while Air Canada won the regional category for North America.
World Airline Awards - Airline of the Year 2014
1. Cathay Pacific
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
5. Turkish Airlines
6. ANA All Nippon Airways
7. Garuda Indonesia
8. Asiana Airlines
9. Etihad Airways