Estonian Air takes Silver and Atlantic Airways Bronze
Widerøe’s Flyveselskap has clinched the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) Airline of the Year GOLD Award 2012/13 for the first time. The Norwegian carrier has previously won Silver three times (2001, 2002 and 2011) and Bronze in 2008.
The award was announced last night at the Convention Centre Dublin during a prestigious Awards Dinner which formed part of the Association’s annual General Assembly event. Widerøe’s CEO, Lars Kobberstad was presented with the trophy by Filippo Bagnato, CEO of Award sponsor ATR.
The Silver Award went to Estonia’s national carrier, Estonian Air, while the Bronze Award went to island carrier Atlantic Airways based in the Faroe Islands.
Widerøe’s excellent operational and financial performance, in spite of the challenging weather conditions and terrain it has to operate in, were cited by the judges as the reasons for its win. In the last 12 months, the airline achieved an all-time high economic result, beating off competition from low cost carriers and bucking the trend during the economic downturn throughout Europe. “Widerøe is a well-managed airline that remains predictable at a top level in unpredictable surroundings,” said the judging panel.
Silver winner Estonian Air was esteemed by the judges as an outstanding example of a successful link between an airport and a regional carrier, using a hub and spoke model which has enabled the airline to attract a considerable amount of transfer traffic leading to impressive growth. The carrier’s clear targets, innovative approach and focus on social media were also identified as major achievements.
Bronze winner and Faroe Island carrier, Atlantic Airways successfully introduced the first RNP-AR EASA certified navigation technology on a new aircraft type (Airbus 319) enabling performance enhancements, safety and fuel saving benefits – a considerable achievement for such a small airline. The judges were also impressed with the airline’s management, cost control, identification of new income streams and its involvement in the local Faroese community.
The ERA Airline of the Year is judged by an independent panel comprising senior industry statesmen and respected representatives of the aviation media from all over Europe.