NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aviation Week Network’s Air Transport World (ATW), the leading media brand serving the information needs of the global airline and commercial air transport communities, announced today that William Franke, Air New Zealand, airBaltic, Spirit Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Airlink and the Airbus A220 airliner are among the winners of the ATW 45th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. Additional information on the winners follows below.

  • Leadership Excellence, to William “Bill” Franke, the managing partner of Indigo Partners whose extraordinary career has reshaped modern air transport. Franke is a leading figure behind the development of ultra-low cost carriers worldwide. Airlines that he helped to create include Frontier, Wizz, Volaris and Tiger Airways.  Bill Franke commented, “I very much appreciate ATW’s recognition of our commitment to build a network of affordable carriers that make travel possible for many.”
     
  • Eco-Airline of the Year, to Air New Zealand, for which efficiency and sustainability are part of its DNA. Air New Zealand’s Project Green to reduce waste, its transition to a technologically advanced, renewably powered electric ground vehicle fleet, and its remarkable support for endangered species are among its many eco endeavors.
  • Passenger Experience Achievement, to Air New Zealand for its enhanced SkyCouch, which turns three economy seats into a couch after takeoff and is a rare example of a comfort option on long-haul travel to passengers in the main cabin. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon said the airline was thrilled to receive two ATW Awards. “Air New Zealand is at the forefront of leadership in sustainability in aviation and has carved out a reputation for innovation and excellence in customer experience. These awards are terrific recognition of the hard work of our people over many years,” he said.

  • Value Airline of the Year, to Spirit Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier that has stayed true to its lowest-fares business model while significantly improving on-time and checked bag delivery performance, equipping its entire fleet with Wi-Fi, growing its network and delivering some of the industry’s best financial results. “On behalf of our entire team, I would like to thank Air Transport World for recognizing Spirit Airlines as this year’s Value Airline of the Year,” said Ted Christie, Spirit Airlines’ President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We are committed to providing the best value in the sky, and this award recognizes our mission to deliver an extraordinary Guest experience, while keeping our costs and fares competitive. From our reliable, on-time operation, to the installation of high-speed Wi-Fi on our entire fleet, Spirit continues to invest in the Guest experience and set the pace as an industry leader. This award is testament to the hard work of our entire Spirit Family across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America, and a milestone in Spirit’s continued evolution to deliver More Go.”

  • Airline Market Leader, to airBaltic, a Latvian carrier that becomes the first airline to win this Award two years running. Building on its 2017 success, airBaltic has continued its fast growth and offers more than 70 connections from all three Baltic capitals, where it now commands a 56% market share. airBaltic saw record passenger numbers and revenue in 2018. Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “It is a remarkable achievement for us to be the first airline recognized as the ATW Airline Market Leader for the second consecutive year. We continue to build on our success, and, by providing larger capacities and increased efficiency, have further increased our market share in the Baltics.”

  • Airport of the Year, to Dallas Fort Worth International, which has managed growth while continuing to add enhancements that ease the passenger’s journey. DFW has transformed into a global mega-hub, investing in new facilities, infrastructure and technologies, but its hybrid use lease agreement model keeps down costs for its airline customers. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized as Air Transport World’s Global Airport of the Year, and it’s a credit to the nearly 2000 employees of DFW Airport, who continually go above and beyond to take care of customers, address the needs of stakeholders, and engage with our surrounding communities,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “DFW is experiencing the fastest growth in more than a decade, and we see it as an opportunity to welcome the world to the Dallas Fort Worth region and advance the innovation and collaboration that deliver for our customers and make our communities stronger.”
     
  • Joseph S. Murphy Award, to Airlink, a rapid-response humanitarian relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified nonprofits. This special Award recognizes the enormous work this small nonprofit has achieved by linking the capabilities and capacity of more than 40 commercial and charter airlines and 80 international nonprofits to get desperately-needed emergency resources to people and places where disasters such as hurricanes, floods and epidemics threaten multiple lives. “We are extremely honored to represent the aviation industry as a force for good and to be recognized by Air Transport World with the Joseph S. Murphy Award,” said Steven J. Smith, President and CEO of Airlink. “Our efforts to deliver humanitarian aid and relief workers to communities impacted by crises around the world would not be possible without the generosity and involvement of the aviation industry and its leaders. Together, we are utilizing aviation’s unique reach and speed to save and improve lives.”

  • Aviation Technology Achievement, to the Airbus A220, a highly efficient and comfortable airliner that is now scoring high marks with airlines worldwide and is embarked on a new trajectory since becoming part of the Airbus portfolio. “I am extremely proud that the A220 has been recognized by ATW for Aviation Technology Achievement,” said Philippe Balducchi, CEO, A220 Partnership. This award is testament to the thousands of women and men in Quebec and worldwide who have put their brains, hearts and souls into designing, producing and now supporting this revolutionary aircraft. The A220 is reshaping the 100 to 150 seat segment of aircraft to the great satisfaction of our customers and their customers, operating day in day out on a fast-growing number of routes around the globe.”             

The final 2019 ATW Airline Industry Award for Airline of the Year will be announced later this month.

The 45th ATW Awards, sponsored by CFM International and Pratt & Whitney, will be presented on March 26, 2019, at a gala dinner at the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York.

For more information about the awards, attending the award ceremony and sponsorship opportunities, visit awards.atwonline.com.

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