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ATW Reveals 2023 Airline Industry Achievement Award Winners

Winners to be honored this June at Gala Dinner in Istanbul, Turkey

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES, February 14, 2023 / -- Aviation Week Network today announces the winners of the Air Transport World (ATW) 49th annual ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards. ATW is the leading media brand serving the information needs of the global airline and commercial air transport communities and is a division of Informa.

The ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards recognize excellence across a broad range of airline operations and are widely considered the most coveted in the air transport industry. They are selected by a panel of editors and analysts at ATW, Routes, Aviation Week and CAPA.

The 2023 ATW winners include Singapore Airlines, which is the recipient of Airline of the Year, the top award. In addition, awards will be presented to two individuals who have made important and significant contributions to the global air transport industry. Emirates President Sir Tim Clark will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Korean Air Chairman and CEO Walter Cho will receive the Excellence in Leadership Award.

“We are thrilled to reveal this year’s winners in what was the most competitive field yet. The final selections illustrate the strength of the market recovery across the air transport industry, and it is particularly heartening to see that also reflected among airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. We look forward to honoring and celebrating these deserving winners,” said ATW Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker.

The 2023 ATW winners are:

Singapore Airlines, Airline of the Year: By May 2020, in the face of global travel restrictions related to COVID, the SIA Group’s passenger carriage had sunk by 99.7% to under 10,000 – down from 3.4 million in January 2020. As an international hub carrier with no domestic market, the closure of international borders was an existential threat. The airline’s management team, led by CEO Mr. Goh Choon Phong, responded rapidly and decisively. They raised S$22.4 billion ($17 billion) in fresh liquidity, the most by any airline during the pandemic. In addition, multiple cost-cutting and innovative initiatives kept the company on a strong footing and be ready to re-enter the market strongly when borders reopened. And SIA has done exactly that, posting record passenger load factors while restoring passenger capacity more quickly than its regional peers to capture the pent-up demand, with deeper strategic airline partnerships, a multi-hub strategy that leverages its Indian joint venture with Tata Sons, and a 2023 summer schedule that will take it above pre-pandemic levels in the Americas, Europe, and South-Asia markets. Mr. Goh said, “This accolade is a testament to the indomitable spirit of everyone at Singapore Airlines. My colleagues demonstrated unwavering resilience over the last few years as we navigated the depths of the pandemic and dedicated ourselves to ensuring that we emerged stronger than before as international passenger travel resumed. The award is also a recognition of SIA’s firm commitment to the three pillars of our brand promise – product leadership, service excellence, and network connectivity. We will continue to strive to exceed our customers’ expectations in their end-to-end travel journey and set new standards in the airline industry.”

Sir Tim Clark, Lifetime Achievement: Sir Tim Clark joined the founding team of Dubai-based Emirates in 1985 as head of airline planning and became President in 2003. He’s been instrumental in Emirates' transformation into the global hub it is today and in reshaping how all airlines, suppliers and passengers think about long-haul travel. A visionary leader, he has been an industry gamechanger who applied out-of-the-box thinking to network planning and coupled it with new standards of service in the air and on the ground. Sir Tim said, "The Emirates story is entwined with Dubai's – the bold airline and the visionary city, each propelling the other to success on the global stage. I'm a firm believer in the value and enrichment that aviation brings to economies, communities, and people. However, ours is a tough industry, and as we face the many challenges ahead, I hope we never forget the spirit that first inspired mankind to explore flight and then made it possible for millions of people to fly across the globe each year. It's this same pioneering energy and restless pursuit of progress that has led Emirates to bring numerous 'firsts' to the market. We reach for the skies and then make the seemingly impossible happen through careful planning, and sheer hard work. I'm honored to be recognized by ATW and would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, especially our Chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed, and our many industry partners who continue to make world-class aviation at Emirates and in Dubai a reality. There's much more to be achieved, and we're on it."

Walter Cho, Excellence in Leadership: Since taking the helm at Korean Air in 2019, Walter Cho has rapidly gained a worldwide reputation for industry vision and dynamic management. His exceptional and compassionate leadership through the pandemic has earned him strong loyalty across the company. His nimble and out-the-box thinking, particularly with regard to airline partnerships — especially the transpacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines — and the company’s cargo business, made Korean stronger than ever through the worst times of the pandemic. He is leading the airline to even bigger things with the acquisition of Asiana. As chair of the SkyTeam global alliance board and a member of the IATA board of governors, Mr. Cho has emerged as an excellent leader at Korean and across the industry. Mr. Cho said, “The unprecedented pandemic crisis has proven the importance of connectivity, our industry’s core value. The entire Korean Air team, along with our partners, combined our efforts to maintain connectivity for both passengers and cargo, even when strict border controls were in place. I genuinely appreciate ATW’s recognition of our efforts and am humbled to receive the award on behalf of everyone at Korean Air. I trust the year 2023 will be dynamic and exciting for all of us, and Korean Air will adapt to changes and provide reliable services to our customers and partners, and keep evolving."

American Airlines, Eco-Airline of the Year: As the first airline in the world to receive validation for its 2035 immediate carbon reduction target from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), American continues to take a multifaceted approach to sustainability. The world’s largest airline partners with agencies and suppliers to scale up the use of sustainable aviation fuel, making it the first airline in North America to report using more than 1 million gallons in 2021 and doubling its usage in 2022. A new application used at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and Miami International Airport optimizes gate assignments, saving an estimated 1.4 million gallons of fuel and 13,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually., Airline Market Leader: has become the UK's 3rd largest airline and just this week sister company Jet2holidays became the UK’s largest tour operator. has developed a network of leisure services across Europe, focusing on Mediterranean destinations and in many of these markets, the airline holds the number one position with an increasing amount of sales accounted for by package holidays booked through tour operator Jet2holidays. is focused on profitability, operational reliability, customer service and a net zero strategy that is committed to developing and growing leisure travel sustainably at every stage of the journey.

Spirit Airlines, Value Airline of the Year: U.S. ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit set a company record during the summer of 2022 with a 99.2% completion factor, outperforming all major legacy carriers. It has introduced several customer-pleasing initiatives, such as new, wider seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, and optional extra services for guests with disabilities or those who want personalized help with ticketing, checking bags, clearing security, navigation, carrying items and translation. Spirit was recognized as one of America's best employers for diversity in 2022.

Cathay Pacific Airways, Cargo Airline of the Year: Hong Kong-based Cathay has a long and proud history in cargo operations; Cathay Cargo has continued to grow and innovate and adapt through some of the most challenging pandemic restrictions. It introduced a three-tiered priority system that provides greater choice and better-defined service options to customers related to speed, capacity and assurance for every shipment. Cathay also expanded the digitalization of its processes and extended its passenger airline Fly Greener carbon offset program to its cargo operations. Among other milestones achieved were the new Pharma Handling Center at the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal and becoming the first carrier to ship the green-skinned pomelo fruit from Vietnam to the US.

Etihad Airways and SATAVIA, Eco-Technology Achievement: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and UK-based company SATAVIA are recognized for their ground-breaking contrail management partnership, which builds on a previous proof-of-concept engagement to expand the scope for contrail management within day-to-day flight operations. SATAVIA’s contrail management platform, DECISIONX:NETZERO, enables eco-conscious operators to optimize commercial flight plans for greener operations. The partnership also incorporates an agreement to collaborate on the generation of future carbon credits from contrail management activity.

The 49th ATW Awards, sponsored by CFM International, will be presented at a gala dinner on Friday June 2, ahead of the 79th IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit.

For more information about the Awards, attending the Award ceremony and sponsorship opportunities visit or contact Gabriel Balmes at


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