New Zealand has some of the best filmmakers, rugby players and seafood in the world, and now according to Air Transport World, we've also got one of the best airlines.
For the second time in three years, Air New Zealand has won ATW's prestigious Airline of the Year award – the first time any airline has done so in ATW's 40-year history.
The ATW judges applauded Air New Zealand for its environmental initiatives and described the airline as a trendsetter for its product innovation.
The judges were highly impressed with the way the airline stepped up to assist affected communities during the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.
“Winning ATW Airline of the Year in 2010 was in my view one of the greatest accolades that had ever been bestowed on Air New Zealand – in our industry it’s equivalent to winning an Oscar,” said Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe.
“Air New Zealand will never be afraid to push the boundaries in striving to deliver a fabulously memorable experience to customers at every point in their journey, both on the ground and in the air.”
Fyfe said the airline had come a long way since receiving the ATW Phoenix Award in 2005, an award that recognised “a commercial rebirth through a life-changing transformation”.
At the time, judges commented that "Air New Zealand survived a near-death experience in 2001 to remake itself into a profitable and innovative competitor across different markets. In just three years, Air New Zealand has become an industry leader in both product and culture".
Since then the airline has gone on to win the ATW Passenger Service Award in 2008 and the ATW Public Relations Award in 2009, an award that hadn’t been presented since 1997.
Last year it won more than 25 awards across the business – including for its innovation, inflight product, design, brand and marketing strength and customer service.
Prime minister and tourism minister John Key said Air New Zealand was a vital part of the country's tourism infrastructure.
“Often, the first experience incoming visitors have of New Zealand is with the national carrier, and those first impressions count.”
Fyfe will travel to Singapore next month to collect the ATW award at an international ceremony.