oneworld carriers swept the board again in the latest industry awards. The grouping’s partners accounted for four of the six 2004 Airline Strategy Awards presented last night by leading industry magazine Airline Business.Ê Members of other alliances did not receive one mention between them.
The top prize, for Executive Leadership, was won by Aer Lingus Chief Executive Willie Walsh. It means this honour has been retained by oneworld airline bosses since its inception in 2002. Last year’s recipient was British Airways’ Rod Eddington, with Xabier de Irala, then Chairman and Chief Executive of Iberia, collecting it in its debut presentation.
Airline Business editor Kevin O’Toole paid tribute to the turnaround achieved by oneworld’s Irish member under Willie Walsh’s leadership, from being virtually bankrupt to generating one of the industry’s healthiest profit margins while competing against among the most vigorous of no-frills operators.
The award for Marketing was presented to the alliance’s Latin American partner for the rebranding of LAN CHILE and its LAN PERU, LAN ECUADOR AND LAN DOMINICA affiliates under the single, unified LAN alliance, as part of the group’s strategy to establish itself as the region’s leading air services provider and one of the world leading airlines, recognizing that to do so requires the group to push beyond the national boundaries of its main carrier. Its President and Chief Operating Officer Luis Ernesto Videla traveled to the UK to collect the honour.
The Operations award went to American Airlines, recognising its successful smoothing out of peaks at its Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth hubs as part of the airline’s turnaround programme. Vice-President Capacity and Planning Walter Aue received the award on behalf of the carrier.
British Airways became the second oneworld carrier in three years to pick up the Technology prize, following Finnair in the awards’ inaugural presentation, for the UK airline’s efforts to use its website to enable its customers better to manage their own journeys - from buying tickets through to changing their seat. Chief Information Officer Paul Coby accepted the trophy.
The Airline Strategy Awards are designed to “recognise the crucial role that management talent plays in shaping the success of the industry.” Airline Business works with aviation industry headhunters Spencer Stuart and judges who include former airline chief executives and leading industry consultants, analysts and academics, to select the winners.
The two other awards went to US operator Pinnacle in the Regional Airlines category and America West for Finance.
The results were announced last night at a gala ceremony in London on the eve of the Farnborough Air Show, the biggest aviation event of the year.
oneworld’s success maintains its record of winning more accolades than members of its two main competitor alliances combined in the industry’s recent major award schemes.
Airline Business’ US counterpart Air Transport World also presented more awards to the grouping’s partners than to members of other global alliances at its prize-giving ceremony in January, selecting Qantas as its overall Airline of the Year, with another special award for Aer Lingus.
The alliance’s members have fared as successfully in schemes based on consumer research. Its eight partners took five top places in the 2004 OAG Airline of the Year Awards. Êoneworld members also outshone their rivals in the number of nominations received - 19 in total.
oneworld airlines emerged with flying colours too in what claims to be the largest independent survey of the airline industry, winning more plaudits than carriers in the other two global alliance alliances combined in the Skytrax Airline of the Year “barometer of airline passenger opinions”. The alliance’s partners took 17 placings, more than members of both other airline groupings.
oneworld itself was named the World’s Leading Airline Alliance in the most recent World Travel Awards, which describes itself as the travel industry’s number one awards scheme, based on votes cast by 80,000 travel agencies professionals from more than 200 countries.
These awards underline oneworld’s lead as the quality airline alliance. Its eight airlines and their affiliates carried more than 220 million passengers last year on a combined fleet of almost 2,000 aircraft, earning revenues of some US$50 billion. Members of any oneworld airline’s frequent flyer programme can earn awards and points on eligible fares and redeem them throughout the alliance’s network.