Qatar Airways, AirAsia bag Skytrax best airline awards


BusinessWorld Online

PARIS, FRANCE -- Qatar Airways emerged as the World’s Best Airline at the Skytrax 2017 World Airline Awards on Tuesday, while AirAsia was named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for the ninth straight year.

Known as the “Oscars of the aviation industry,” the Skytrax World Airline Awards are based on over 19.87 million customer surveys completed worldwide from August 2016 to May 2017.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said winning the award for the ninth straight year was “unbelievable.”

“Considering we’ve been around for 16 years and nine of them we’ve been world champions. It’s a good feeling,” he said in a press briefing at the sidelines of the International Paris Air Show.

Mr. Fernandes attended the award ceremony, but did not go up the stage to receive the award. Instead, AirAsia Group Cabin Crew Head Suhaila Hassan accepted the award, together with Canadian musician-songwriter David Foster and Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos.

“Why did I not accept it? Because the airline is more than just about me,” he said. “We’re all about dreams and we hope that with people like David and Roberto Carlos, we can make some people in Southeast Asia hopefully become as talented as they are.”

AirAsia was also named Best Low-Cost Airline in Asia, while low-cost, long-haul carrier AirAsiaX received the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Premium Cabin award. The two carriers have together won 25 World Airline Awards since the awards started in 2001.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker dedicated the Airline of the Year award to his country, which has been reeling from the decision of four rival Arab states to cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar.

“At a time of illegal ban on flights from my country by big bullies, this award is not for me, not for my alliance but for my country,” Mr. Al Baker said, after receiving the award for the Doha-based carrier for the fourth year in a row.

Other winners of the World Airline Awards include Garuda Airline (World’s Best Cabin Staff), Saudia (World’s Most Improved Airline), Bangkok Airways (World’s Best Regional Airline) and World’s Best Low-Cost Long Haul Airline (Norwegian Airlines). -- Cathy Rose A. Garcia


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