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AirAsia/AirAsia X scoop top award at Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation's annual Awards for Excellence

(Beijing, 28 October 2009) AirAsia and AirAsia X were named the joint winners of the prestigious Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Airline of the Year Award for 2009 at a gala reception in Beijing this evening. The Awards Ceremony was held as part of this year’s sixth annual Asia Aviation Outlook summit, showcasing airline and airport CEOs from around the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

Enter the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence 2009 gallery.

The CAPA Airline of the Year is awarded to the airline that has had the greatest impact on the development of the airline industry in the region, establishing itself as a leader, and the benchmark for others to follow.

AirAsia has had another superlative year amid some of the toughest conditions to hit the airline industry on record. An innovator in revenue generation, with a strongly developing network and consistent focus on maintaining its world leading low cost base, AirAsia was the outstanding performer in 2009. AirAsia and AirAsia X are leading the way in developing short-haul to long-haul connectivity in ways which promise to revolutionise the international marketplace”, said Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Other winners of this year's CAPA Awards included:

Beijing Capital International Airport, named the CAPA International Airport of the Year

Beijing Airport has had an outstanding 18 months, handling the demands of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and performing with distinction amid a difficult market environment", said Mr Harbison.

Air Arabia was named CAPA Low Cost Airline of the Year

Air Arabia has again demonstrated its contribution to the development and expansion of regional air markets, with continued growth at its primary Sharjah hub and exciting new cross-border ventures in Morocco and now Egypt. Air Arabia has maintained a disciplined business model over the past 12 months and, headed by a strong management team, is one of the world’s best positioned LCCs to benefit from the growth in economic development and liberalisation of aviation markets”, said Mr Harbison.

Minister Li Jiaxiang, Minister of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China was recognised as the CAPA Aviation Minister of the Year

Mr Harbison stated, "Minister Li has provided strong leadership of and support to the Chinese aviation sector that is both confronted by tremendous opportunities, as well as significant challenges. Minister Li oversaw a highly successful air transport operation during the Olympic Games and has continued the task of developing China’s aviation infrastructure and policy settings as it takes a leadership role in global aviation this century”.

Mr Kong Dong, Chairman of Air China, accepted the CAPA Aviation Executive of the Year

“Our Executive of the Year has been a tireless advocate for the reform and streamlining of the structure of the Chinese aviation industry and has effectively guided Air China through a difficult period for the sector. The airline is well positioned to benefit from the upswing in Mainland and SAR aviation markets and the vast opportunities presented in North Asia and beyond in the coming years", said Mr Harbison.

Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group Bhd joined the CAPA Hall of Fame, when he accepted the CAPA Legend’s Award

He joins Ray Webster (fmr Chief Executive Officer of easyJet), Dr Cheong Choong Kong (fmr Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Airlines) and Maurice Flanagan (Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline) and Dato' Seri Bashir Ahmad, Managing Director of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd in the CAPA Hall of Fame.

"This award honours strategic leadership, vision, innovation and influence in the aviation industry. Tony Fernandes is the youngest inductee into the Hall of Fame, but his impact on Asia Pacific aviation has been profound. Pioneering the cross-border joint venture model in Asia to open up new opportunities beyond its Malaysian base in Thailand and Indonesia, as well as low-cost long-haul services to link the region globally, the AirAsia Group is on track to handle 24 million passengers in 2009 – some 30% more than in 2008, despite the global economic slowdown. But AirAsia’s impact is much more than its generation of strong traffic growth. The airline is catalysing positive change in the way governments, suppliers and its rivals are thinking and acting. We are delighted to recognise Tony Fernandes’ leadership role in driving our industry forward”, said Peter Harbison.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company received the Award for the New Airport Development of the Year

Mr Harbison noted, “Abu Dhabi’s excellent new terminal facilities, which came on line in March this year, provided the breathing space the airport needs ahead of its exciting multi-billion dollar midfield terminal development that will deliver further capacity next decade to spearhead Abu Dhabi’s development as a global aviation centre. Abu Dhabi Airports Company is to be commended for its active pursuit of airline partnerships, which has helped propel the airport forward”.

Incheon International Airport received the new Award for CAPA Airport City of the Year

Incheon International Airport is leading the way in the region as a multi-service airport hub, offering an array of logistics, transportation, leisure, accommodation and attractions infrastructure that is unparalleled in the region. The developments have raised South Korea’s regional competitiveness and positioned it well to benefit from the coming recovery in the aviation business”, said Mr Harbison.

Melbourne International Airport was named the CAPA Low Cost Airport of the Year

Melbourne International Airport has been one of the world’s best performing airports amid the global economic downturn, regularly attracting new domestic and international services. Management’s focus on delivering outstanding facilities and services at affordable rates for the airline sector is driving results, as Melbourne continues to win new business from full service and low cost carriers, which is growing the aviation, trade and tourism opportunities for the local area and the wider State of Victoria”, said Mr Harbison.

Tianjin Airlines accepted the CAPA Regional Airline of the Year

Mr Harbison stated, “Tianjin Airlines is a relatively new face in the regional Chinese aviation market, but it is having strong early success as it continues to roll out an aggressive fleet and network expansion agenda. We look forward to witnessing the airline’s continued growth in what remains a very high potential segment of the overall Chinese aviation opportunity”.

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore accepted the new award recognising the CAPA ANSP Provider of the Year

This CAPA Award is a new one in 2009, in recognition of the increasingly vital role that ANSPs and their governments can play in helping improve air traffic systems, thereby supporting airline efficiencies and particularly in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CAPA ANSP of the Year is awarded to the air navigation services provider that has shown leadership in addressing the operational and costs needs of the industry and to promoting environmentally-friendly procedures, so as to offer a benchmark.

CAAS, in coordination with the airlines and with ICAO, has allocated financial and human resources in ways that have substantially improved Singapore’s ATM and runway procedures, helping reduce flight times and improve traffic flow. From an already high base, this has produced a model for others to imitate. CAAS’ leadership also extends to this year’s move to restructure CAAS and corporatise the operations of Changi Airport, improving functionality and accountability”, said Peter Harbison.

Cathay Pacific accepted the new award recognising the CAPA Airline Environmental Performance of the Year

Mr Harbison stated, “Cathay Pacific has shown outstanding environment leadership and concern, spanning practical applications to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, to championing big picture policy issues that will impact the sector for decades to come. The industry thanks leaders like Cathay Pacific to drive a thoughtful agenda to minimise aviation’s impact on the environment.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport accepted the new award recognising the CAPA Airport Environmental Performance of the Year

GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), which opened in March 2008, represents a new era in India’s airport infrastructure development. Mr Harbison stated, “GHIAL is to be commended for incorporating sustainability in the airport development, as a result of which it is the first airport in Asia to achieve a LEED Silver certification  for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the US Green Building Council. This sets a benchmark for other airports in the region to follow”.

About the judging process: Asia Pacific airports, airlines and the industry are reviewed constantly through the year via the Centre's extensive data and information services gathering and reporting. This daily performance analysis, along with feedback from our Members, is accumulated into a series of recommendations. A highly experienced aviation advisory panel – including industry CEOs - reviews and decides on our recommendations.