BY JAMES WILKINSON
Air New Zealand and QantasLink have dominated this year’s Air Transport World awards, taking out the titles of Airline of the Year and Regional Airline of the Year respectively.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key immediately commended the Kiwi flag carrier, saying his nation should be proud about what the airline has been able to achieve.
“Air New Zealand is a vital part of our tourism infrastructure,” he said. “Often, the first experience incoming visitors have of New Zealand is with the national carrier, and those first impressions count.
“Like all New Zealanders, I am very proud of Air New Zealand, and I congratulate the airline and its staff on this achievement,” he said.
Air New Zealand won the Airline of the Year award for the second time in three years – marking the first time in nearly 40 years of the awards an airline has been able to achieve this.
“Winning ATW Airline of the Year in 2010 was in my view one of the greatest accolades that had ever been bestowed on Air New Zealand – in our industry it’s equivalent to winning an Oscar. To pick up the award again this year is simply outstanding,” said Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe.
“For Air New Zealand to again be recognised as the number one airline in competition with the world’s biggest and best airlines is testament to the continued hard work and passion of our 11,500 staff throughout the world,.
“For many years now we have pursued a strategy that recognises that our people, rather than our planes, are the most valuable asset in our business.
“The airline industry is volatile and we believe the agility of our people to adapt and adjust our business to changing customer expectations, new competitors and uncertain economic conditions has enabled Air New Zealand to outperform most of our peers both financially and in terms of the genuine service we deliver,” he said.
QantasLink’s ‘Regional Airline of the Year’ award comes as the airline continues to expand rapidly across Australia.
“QantasLink has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1949 when it was a one aircraft operation based in Tamworth,” said QantasLink Executive Manager Narendra Kumar.
“Today QantasLink is Australia’s largest regional carrier operating 57 aircraft to support a network of 56 metropolitan and country destinations and providing customers with seamless connections to Qantas’ domestic and international services.
“As a service-focused airline, QantasLink teams work collaboratively with regional Australian communities to identify and enhance air services in markets that require this essential service for both commerce and leisure.
“In recent times QantasLink has made large-scale investments in product and aircraft to service the needs of our customers. Many of our services have become critical elements of regional customer supply chains, transporting labour into major resource projects via connections through the extensive Qantas network,” Kumar said.
QantasLink’s fleet is set to grow from 57 to 62 aircraft over the next twelve months as the airline continues to record strong growth across all States and Territories in Australia.