At an evening ceremony at The Park Lane Hotel in London, OAG named Continental Airlines the Airline of the Year for the second year running. Continental also won the 2005 Best Executive/Business Class category, was voted Best Airline based in North America, and was short listed in two other categories. Last year, Continental became the first US based carrier to win the title since the awards were established 23 years ago. United Airlines took home Best Transpacific Airline in a closely fought category, and American Airlines won Best Economy/Coach Class. LAN Airlines retained the title Best Airline based in Central/South America & Caribbean.
New York JFK was voted best airport in the Americas but lost out to Singapore Changi for the Best Airport global title.
The awards, based on votes polled by a worldwide audience of business travelers, attracted an array of senior figures from the aviation industry. UK television personality, Eamonn Holmes, presented the awards.
OAG presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Maurice Flanagan CBE, Vice Chairman and Group President of the Emirates Group. Eddie Bell, Chairman of OAG, praised Maurice Flanagan’s remarkable industry career spanning more than 50 years, saying, “Maurice is an inspiration to many in the airline industry. We are pleased to present him with this well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.”
For the first time, the Outstanding Service Award went to an airline president, Mr. Jaroslav Tvrdik of CSA Czech Airlines. This award is presented to an individual at an airline or airport who has acted above and beyond the call of duty. After the atrocities of Beslan, Mr. Tvrdik personally led a team of CSA staff in implementing a program to fly a group of traumatized children to a rehabilitation spa in Karlovy Vary.
“The Award is very highly valued, and I feel it as more than just personal privilege,” said Tyrdik. “I am accepting the Award primarily as a token of appreciation addressed to all Czech Airlines’ personnel who, being fully aware of the company’s wider social responsibility, willingly offered their help.”
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, Eddie Bell, Chairman of OAG, said, “Congratulations to Continental Airlines on winning the OAG Airline of the Year Awards for the second year running, and to the winners in all categories who have been recognized by OAG customers for delivering excellent service for their passengers.”