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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

SINGAPORE AIRLINES NAMED AIRLINE OF THE YEAR 2008


"For the 3rd time in 10 years, Singapore Airlines has been named World's Best Airline, winning the 2008 Airline of the Year title in the latest World Airline Awards" said Edward Plaisted (CEO of Skytrax). "We extend our congratulations to them for this notable achievement, coinciding with the time that Singapore Airlines was the world's first airline to fly the Airbus A380."

Over 15 million eligible survey interviews were completed during the 11 month Survey period. From Seoul to Sao Paulo, Copenhagen to Cape Town, the scale and breadth of the 2008 survey further strengthens the well-established reputation as the World's Largest Passenger Survey. The Top 10 airlines in the 2008 World Airline Awards :


1 Singapore Airlines
2 Cathay Pacific
3 Qantas
4 Thai Airways
5 Asiana Airlines
6 Malaysia Airlines
7 Qatar Airways
8 Air New Zealand
9 Emirates
10 Etihad Airways

Singapore Airlines also collected the Award for Best Business Class in a very competitive section of the survey. "Business Class standards continue to be upgraded by airlines across the world, and Singapore Airlines managed to retain their title amidst this growing level of competition" said Edward Plaisted. "It is the whole business class package that is evaluated, from airport lounges, ground services to the quality of cabin seating, inflight entertainment, catering and of course the cabin staff service."

CEO of Singapore Airlines, Mr Chew Choon Seng said ""We thank our customers who have supported Singapore Airlines once again. We are honoured to receive this award for the second year running. However, we take nothing for granted in our business. This award will inspire every one of us in the company to work harder to exceed our customers' expectations."

Cathay Pacific takes 2nd place overall in the 2008 Awards (up from 3rd in 2007), and picks up the Award for World's best First Class, giving due recognition to their new onboard 1st Class product and service concept.

Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer John Slosar said "We are excited about receiving the Best First Class honour, which highlights the strength of our new cabin design as well as the superior service provided by our cabin crew. For the premium market you have to provide something that really stands out from the crowd, and with our new First Class – designed with the right balance of personal attention, interaction and privacy - we believe we’re providing a travel experience that exceeds all expectations."

Qantas is ranked 3rd worldwide (5th in 2007) and collects the Award for Best First Class Lounge - achieved in a period where the airline has seen competition ramped up both in its domestic and regional market. "The global rating for Qantas is interesting" says Edward Plaisted. "When we look at more localised studies, reporting etc, we found that Qantas comes under fire from some media that clearly contradicts a more widespread view of Qantas customers that voted for the airline in the survey. We do find that many countries flag-carrier airlines suffer fairly vitriolic levels of reporting in their local regions, and the airline industry remains a business that some areas of the press seem to love-to-hate!"


BEST AIRLINES BY WORLD REGION


Asia: Singapore Airlines

Australasia: Qantas

Africa: South African Airways

Europe: Lufthansa

Middle East: Qatar Airways

North America: Continental Airlines

South America: LAN


"Another closely contested Survey category, the Best First Class Lounge Award is a true recognition of top-end quality being delivered, and Qantas have set a clear benchmark with their First Class facilities at Sydney Airport. This lounge in Sydney is the flagship for Qantas. Designed by Australian Marc Newson, the lounge concept for both product and staff service has been modelled around the finest quality you would expect to find in a 5-star hotel or restaurant, and the best part is that the concept is being so well delivered by Qantas" added Plaisted.

Thai Airways maintained a strong ranking, placed 4th worldwide (2nd in 2007) together with picking up 4th place in the Best Cabin Staff section of the Awards.

Asiana Airlines was one of the biggest improvers across the 2008 results, ranked 5th worldwide (up from 12th in 2007), as well as taking the sought-after World's Best Cabin Staff Award and also collecting the Award for Best Economy Class. "This is clearly an airline on the move upwards" says Edward Plaisted. "Smaller than it's national counterpart Korean Air, Asiana Airlines are developing an ever-increasing level of customer support, achieving some of the highest levels of customer satisfaction across today's airline industry. Some innovative cabin service concepts clearly contribute towards their success, but it is more apparent that Asiana Airlines is gaining a worldwide reputation based on the concept of superb customer service."

Malaysia Airlines ranked 6th worldwide (as in 2007), and was also the very close runner-up for the title of World's best Cabin Staff. "Repositioning itself during 2007 as the 5-star value carrier, we see it as a real achievement for Malaysia Airlines to have retained it's high global ranking. For them not win the Best Cabin Staff award is naturally a disappointment, although their hold on that particular award does occasionally have to be relinquished!" said Edward Plaisted.

Qatar Airways is another 5-Star airline achieving a top-10 ranking (placed 7th worldwide), and collecting the Award for Best Airline and Best Cabin Staff for the Middle East region, as well as the Best Business Class Catering category.

The results continue to recognise Qatar Airways ambitious efforts to provide passengers with the best onboard service in the global aviation industry, according to Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Mr Akbar Al Baker, "we place an emphasis on providing the best quality product and service for our passengers, and to have our customers recognise Qatar Airways' efforts in these awards is very satisfying. For an airline that is barely a decade old, we have already achieved phenomenal success. However, Qatar Airways will continue to strive further ahead to reach our ultimate goal of being voted Best Airline in the World. Recognition must also be given to the airline's staff, who are committed to delivering the best levels of service in the skies. It's their efforts which ultimately determine how the airline is judged" added Al Baker.

Air New Zealand is ranked 8th worldwide (7th in 2007), and also collects the 2008 Award for Best Airline Transpacific, ahead of Qantas in that category.

Emirates maintained the same ranking as last year, placed 9th worldwide and offering clear recognition of the airline's aggressive marketing and growth policy. "Echoing the trend of Dubai where everything now has to be the biggest, it is undeniable that Emirates is well recognised around the world" says Plaisted. "Such growth is never an easy time to maintain quality levels, but Emirates has managed to maintain its global rating this year, and can now use its Airbus A380 aircraft to try and impress passengers in the coming year."

"Four must be a lucky number for Emirates, as they pick up the Award for Best Airline Inflight Entertainment for the 4th year in succession. This was another very hotly contested section of the World Airline Survey, and we witnessed the closest finish ever in terms of Emirates final push for 1st place ahead of Singapore Airlines in 2nd. We congratulate Emirates for retaining their distinctive reputation in this Survey category, and determination to remain at the forefront of inflight entertainment concepts" added Plaisted.

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates VP Passenger Communications and Visual Services, said "to win this award for the fourth consecutive year is a fantastic achievement, proving yet again that Emirates’ significant investment in the inflight entertainment product is appreciated by our customers. We also make significant investments in the latest technology to ensure our passengers enjoy not only the widest range of entertainment, but also the capacity to communicate with family and friends on the ground."

A new entrant to the world's Top-10 airlines is Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, securing 10th position in the 2008 Awards. Following in the footsteps of Emirates and Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways is continuing it's rapid expansion with new route openings and aircraft acquisitions, and is delivering a high quality product and service offering to passengers.

A repeat win was achieved by Virgin Atlantic in being named winner of the Best Business Class Lounge Award, having secured the title in 2007 for their Clubhouse facility at London Heathrow Airport.

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic said "We’re thrilled that our Heathrow Clubhouse has been chosen as the world’s best haven for business travellers for the second year running. This confirms that our Clubhouse is a real winner with our Upper Class passengers and with the new private security corridor they can now get through to it in record time! Thank you to everyone who voted for us."

Cathay Pacific win the Best First Class Onboard Catering Award, with their new First Class concept clearing being a success with customers. In the year that Austrian celebrates it's 50th anniversary, the airline has another honour to mark the achievement, winning the Award for Best Business Class Onboard Catering for the second year running. Austrian has developed a very strong reputation amongst customers for the high standards of long-haul business class catering, and their gourmet cuisine prepared by Do & Co continues to impress. Qantas was named winner of the Best Economy Class Onboard Catering Award, based on their longer haul, international operations.

Dragonair was named Best Regional Airline SE Asia - the first time the carrier has won in this category. "It is a great honour for the airline to receive this award. It shows that Dragonair is being recognised not only in Mainland China - our key market - but also in Southeast Asia. This is a resounding recognition of our product and service quality both inflight and on the ground. Credit must go to all our staff for working to provide the very best service experience," said Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Kenny Tang.

CSA Czech Airlines celebrate being named as Best Airline Central Europe for a consecutive time, as well as picking up the Award for Best Cabin Staff Central Europe. Czech Airlines President, Radomír Lašák, commented on the award "We very much value our placement in the World Airline Awards ranking, as these honours are awarded on the basis of the votes of millions of passengers from all over the world. The fact that Czech Airlines has maintained its position as the leader in the region, even at a time when a cost crisis is crushing the entire aviation sector, shows that the present situation has no impact on the quality of Czech Airlines’ services and product."

"A strong performer in earlier year Surveys, 2008 is the time for easyJet to truly celebrate as they walk off with the accolade as World's Best Low-Cost Airline" said Edward Plaisted. Commenting on the award, easyJet CEO, Andy Harrison said "It is an honour to be receive the 2008 award. We have an ambition to be recognised as the world's best low fares airline and the global nature of the SKYTRAX survey makes this a very important milestone for us."

Amongst other Awards to low-cost airlines, Air Arabia was named Best low-cost airline Middle East for the second consecutive year. AK Nizar, Head of Commercial at Air Arabia, said "We are extremely pleased to have been named Best Low-Cost Airline in the Middle East in The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2008. Winning this award for the second consecutive year reinforces our commitment to quality and excellence in customer service. This award is especially significant as it is based on the feedback of our passengers" he added.

Source: www.airlinequality.com

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