19 January 2012 by Luke McCormick
Air New Zealand has won Air Transport World's prestigious Airline of the Year award for the second time in three years.
This is the first time in the nearly 40-year history of the awards that an airline has won the Airline of the Year twice in three years. Air New Zealand has won more ATW awards than any other airline in the past decade.
The ATW judges praised Air New Zealand's industry-leading innovation and motivation of its staff, which had resulted in exceptional performance across the airline in market position, customer service, fiscal management and operational safety.
They described Air New Zealand as an industry trendsetter in a number of areas including product innovation and social media.
Judges were also impressed with the airline's environmental initiatives including its commitment to operating a very young and highly fuel efficient fleet.
Air New Zealand was also commended for the way in which it had dealt with several natural disasters including the Christchurch earthquakes, and had stepped up to assist the communities that were affected.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe, who will travel to Singapore next month to collect the award, said the announcement came as a huge thrill.
"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," he said.
The awards ceremony, which will be held in Singapore on February 13, will be attended by hundreds of aviation leaders from around the world.
"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," he said.
Mr Fyfe said the award reflected Air New Zealanders' commitment to delivering customers with a uniquely Kiwi experience in one of the world's most competitive industries.
"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."
Mr Fyfe said the airline continued to be recognised internationally for its innovation, particularly in its marketing approach and products such as the game-changing economy Skycouch seating on its new 777-300ER aircraft.
"Air New Zealand will never be afraid to push the boundaries in striving to deliver a fabulously memorable experience to customers at every point in their journey, both on the ground and in the air."
Last year Air New Zealand won more than 25 awards - including for its innovation, inflight product, design, brand and marketing strength and customer service.