It’s raining awards in Washington

First the Super Bowl in Dallas and now the ATW Online Awards, what a week! Alright, in all fairness, I care as much about the Super Bowl as a child cares about a retirement fund. Put me aside, and it’s undoubtedly a massive event in the US. So what about the ATW Online Awards? Right. ATW stands for Air Transport World. According to their website, they “for nearly 47 years, Air Transport World […] has been the leading monthly magazine serving the needs of the global airline and commercial air transport manufacturing communities.” In this capacity they award the annual ATW’s Airline Industry Achievement Awards. The 37th award ceremony for this years winners is taking place tonight from 6pm local time in Washington, DC.

Luckily we won’t have to wait for the expensive dinner to finish (a table for 10 costs a whopping $35,000) to know the winners were already released a few weeks ago. Here they are:

Airline Of the Year:
Emirates Airline

Regional Airline Of the Year:
Air Nostrum Iberia Regional

Aviation Technology Achievement:
GE Aviation GE90

Passenger Service:
Virgin America

Market Leadership:
Turkish Airlines

Airline Technology Leadership:
Alaska Airlines

Phoenix Award:
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings

Nothing overly surprising here. Emirates has already won countless awards, yet personally I don’t think it’s the best airline out there. You do have to give them credits for their financial achievements and their oftentimes leading approach in customer service and innovation which is then later copied by other airlines. My favourite is the Phoenix award as it “acknowledging airlines that have gone through a life-changing transformation”. This year, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings wins this price for its highly successful turnaround to achieve consistent profitability and operational reliability. Since they are a cargo airline, I can’t add any further colour to that. My apologies 😉

Here’s the ATW’s full press release:


NEW YORK, NY (January 18, 2011) – Penton Media’s Air Transport World®, the leading monthly magazine covering the global airline industry, announced the selection of Emirates Airline as its Airline of the Year for 2011. The Dubai, UAE-based carrier is being honored for its strong commitment to safety and operational excellence, its trendsetting customer service and its superb financial performance including a 22-year consecutive annual profit streak.

Since launching service in 1985, Emirates has grown into one of the largest and most dynamic airlines in the world and has transformed Dubai into a major connecting hub for global air travel. It is also a leader in developing flexible air routings that save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.

The editors noted that Emirates was the first airline to introduce personal seatback entertainment units and the first to enable passengers to make authorized onboard mobile phone calls. Its Airbus A380s feature showers for first class passengers.
The editors selected Spain’s Air Nostrum as the Regional Airline of the Year, citing its superb safety record and longstanding commitment to delivering excellent customer service. The editors applauded Air Nostrum’s sterling financial performance including 13 consecutive years of profitability through 2008 as it grew to become Europe’s second-largest independent regional airline. Additionally, the editors were impressed by Air Nostrum’s swift and decisive response to the 2009 downturn in the Spanish economy that has positioned the carrier for renewed success going forward.

The Aviation Technology Achievement Award was presented to GE Aviation for the development of the GE90, the world’s most powerful aircraft engine family and the exclusive powerplant for Boeing’s largest and longest-range versions of the 777. As the first commercial powerplant to feature a composite fan blade, the GE90 broke new ground in engine technology and is among the most fuel efficient and reliable engines in service today. The 115,000-lb. thrust version of the GE90 has no equal in the world.
Virgin America received the Passenger Service Award. Since launching service in 2007, the San Francisco-based airline has raised the bar for passenger service in North America with its stylish, high-tech product featuring leather seats and cabin mood lighting. Passengers can enjoy 18 channels of live TV, up to 30 on-demand pay per view movies, Wi-Fi and a music library containing 3,000 MP3s. They can order food from their seats via their interactive video screens.

Turkish Airlines received the Market Leadership Award. The Istanbul-based airline has taken full advantage of its hub astride the historic East-West trade routes to become Europe’s fastest growing network airline and among the world’s most profitable carriers, with income of $370 million in 2009. Earnings through the first nine months of 2010 totaled $169 million. The airline’s route network covers 169 destinations, up from 101 in 2003.

The Phoenix Award, acknowledging airlines that have gone through a life-changing transformation, was presented to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings for its highly successful turnaround to achieve consistent profitability and operational reliability. Even as the global air cargo market severely contracted in 2009, Atlas boosted net income 22%, following a strategy focused on cost-cutting and operating efficiency rather than sheer size.

For the second time, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines was selected to receive the Airline Technology Leadership Award owing to its extensive track record of innovation in cockpit, safety and customer service technology and systems, such as Required Navigation Performance and the Airport of the Future in Anchorage and Seattle that has led to dramatic reductions in passenger check-in times.

The awards will be presented on February 8 in Washington, D.C., at ATW’s gala dinner and celebration at the Renaissance Hotel. Further information about the award winners is available in the February issue of ATW and at
Air Transport World ( is the leading monthly magazine serving the airline and commercial aircraft manufacturing and support industries. It launched its awards program in 1974. ATW is published by Penton Media.

[Photo from Emirates]