British Airways was named airline of the year at one of the aviation industry’s most prestigious award ceremonies.
It scooped the title at Capa’s annual Aviation Awards for Excellence, which honour top airlines and airports and were handed out in Malta last week.
Other winners included Spirit Airlines, which was named best low-cost carrier, while Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport took the prize for best large airport.
British Airways was named airline of the year at Capa’s annual Aviation Awards for Excellence
Regarding BA’s accolade, judges noted how the carrier is ‘now in the midst of a major fleet renewal’.
They added: ‘This will see the arrival of new long-haul aircraft, introducing new and redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits, enhanced onboard WiFi and power access at every aircraft seat.’
Speaking at the event, Capa chairman emeritus Peter Harbison explained: ‘British Airways was famously the world’s favourite airline in the 1990s and it has taken some tough decisions to maintain its market position against increasing competition.
‘Under the leadership of CEO and Chairman Alex Cruz, British Airways has not been afraid to adopt new ticketing practices, service levels and is now among the frontrunners of distribution change and technology adoption – at the same time as achieving an industry-leading ROIC [return on invested capital]. It is certainly “100 not out” for one of the world’s most famous airline brands.’
Mr Cruz said: ‘On behalf of everyone at British Airways, we are truly honoured to accept this award. In this, our centenary year, we have much to celebrate from our past and much to look forward to for the future.
‘We pioneered the first commercial passenger flight as Air Transport and Travel Limited starting with just one route to Paris. Since then, we have lead from the front, introducing innovative products such as the first lie-flat seat, operating the first jet-engine aircraft across the Atlantic, and flying customers at twice the speed of sound on Concorde.
Spirit Airlines was named as low-cost airline of the year. It was praised for ‘pioneering the ultra-low-cost model in North America
‘We’re now transforming British Airways so we are fit for the future. We are investing £6.5billion in new, more efficient aircraft, introducing new products, innovating with technology and we are committed to net zero emissions by 2050. British Airways has a proud history of taking Britain to the world and bringing the world to Britain, and that is set to continue for years to come.’
Judges said that US-based Spirit Airlines deserved its title of low-cost airline of the year because it ‘pioneered the ultra-low-cost model in North America, and more recently, turned its operations around and improved its customer relations’.
The award for regional airline of the year went to airBaltic for its ‘strong return to growth and profitability after emerging from a challenging restructuring period’.
The start-up airline of the year award went to Swoop, pictured, a Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier
Lot Polish Airlines won the award for airline turnaround of the year after its ‘return to profit since 2016, following an extended period of loss-making, while also resuming strong traffic growth’.
The start-up airline of the year award went to Swoop, a Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC).
Judges were impressed with ‘its execution of creating a brand within a brand and introducing the ULCC model in Canada on a large scale, transporting roughly one million passengers during its first year of operations’.
Best large airport winner Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen scooped its award for ‘sustaining passenger traffic, following a decade of very high growth, in the face of the opening of a brand new, capacity-unconstrained airport across the city’.
Best large airport winner was Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen. It scooped its award for ‘sustaining passenger traffic, following a decade of very high growth’
Vienna International took home the gong for best medium airport with judges noting how it has sustained ‘consistently high rates of passenger growth in 2018 (10.8 per cent) and 2019 (19.5 per cent to Sep-2019)’.
The winner of best small airport of the year was Seville Airport ‘for sustaining consistent and strong passenger traffic growth since 2013’.
And this year’s airline executive of the year went to Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam.
He was praised for helping to ‘deliver sustained profitability for Ethiopian Airlines’ and judges also noted how under his stewardship, the carrier ‘has stood out from the crowd in Africa and is now attempting to build on the continent’s potential’.
CAPA GLOBAL AVIATION AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 2019
Airline of the Year – British Airways
Low Cost Airline of the Year – Spirit Airlines
Regional Airline of the Year – airBaltic
Airline Turnaround of the Year – Lot Polish Airlines
Start-Up Airline of the Year – Swoop
Large Airport of the Year – Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Medium Airport of the Year – Vienna International Airport
Small Airport of the Year – Seville Airport
Airline Exec of the Year -Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines
Source: CAPA Global Aviation Awards for Excellence