JAL Airline of the Year and John Borghetti CEO of the Year - CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence


Japan Airlines; Mr John Borghetti of Virgin Australia; Changi Airport; IndiGo; SilkAir; Ibaraki Airport; SITA and Malaysia Airlines; Christchurch Airport and Sendai Airport take top honours

Japanese aviation is the big winner in this year's CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence, reflecting the beginning of a new era in aviation in Japan and North Asia. Japan Airlines has been named CAPA Asia Pacific Airline of the Year 2011, while Ibaraki Airport near Tokyo was named Low Cost Airport of the Year and Sendai Airport received a Special Airport Leadership Award from CAPA in recognition of its community and industry leadership and teamwork in responding to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster this year. Singapore aviation was also strongly represented, as Singapore Changi Airport and SilkAir were both major category winners.

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

This year's winners, announced in Singapore on Thursday evening at the annual CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence gala dinner, are:

Japan Airlines - Airline of the Year 2011

"Since January 2010, Japan Airlines has undertaken a remarkable process of restructuring. This restored what was an almost irretrievable situation of a high cost airline, with an uncompetitive route network. JAL has since established a full metal neutral joint venture with its oneworld partner on US routes and is exploring a European equivalent.

"JAL has returned remarkably to profitability, despite serious natural disasters in northern Japan, and now looks to be well placed to remain profitable. JAL has since established a full metal neutral joint venture with its oneworld partner on US routes and is exploring a European equivalent.

"Most recently JAL has established the framework for a joint venture low cost airline with Qantas/Jetstar, which should assist it to address that fast growing sector. These features together establish JAL as a market leader which has established a benchmark in achieving profitability in exceptionally challenging circumstances", said Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman of CAPA.

Changi Airport - International Airport of the Year 2011

Changi Airport was named CAPA's International Airport of the Year in 2011, recognising the airport being the most innovative and influential airport in the Asia Pacific region.

"Changi Airport has consistently stood as a benchmark for global aviation excellence, providing facilities at a standard and price that makes the airport attractive to airlines and passengers alike. As Singapore celebrates its 100 years of civil aviation, its airport stands as a testament to the achievements of the country. Its integration as a key ingredient of the overall economic development of Singapore is held up as a model that many others have tried, some more successfully than others, to emulate.

"Changi Airport has had a particularly strong year, even by its excellent standards, by strengthening its focus on airline and industry partnerships. Changi is an outward focused organisation, evidenced by its expanding links to key markets in North and South Asia, the Middle East and beyond", Mr Harbison said.

John Borghetti, Virgin Australia - CEO of the Year 2011

The award to the executive who has had the greatest individual influence on the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region was bestowed on Virgin Australia's John Borghetti.

"In a little over a year as the head of Virgin Blue/Virgin Australia, Mr Borghetti has undertaken a remarkably wide range of initiatives that served substantially to redirect the operations and nature of the group. This included establishing expansive joint venture arrangements in key global markets with Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, as well as achieving regulatory approval for previously announced alliances with Delta and Air New Zealand.

"Through his vision and commitment to implementing an innovative airline model, he has pushed the boundaries of industry thinking. As very much the second force in Australia's domestic and international market, he has exposed a rapid expansion and repositioning strategy which is there for others to follow", said Mr Harbison.

IndiGo - Low Cost Airline of the Year 2011

IndiGo.png" alt="" class="c1" />

India's IndiGo was named the CAPA Low Cost Airline of 2011, a title for the most innovative and influential LCC in the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region.

"Since its startup in 2006, IndiGo has been a standout in the Indian market, carefully following a low cost model and working its way to profitability under notoriously turbulent conditions. Most recently IndiGo has signalled extensive expansion plans, recently adding its 50th aircraft, and is rolling out an international route system that promises to establish the carrier as a major player in Asia. Orders for another 225 aircraft make that intention plainly clear.

"These features together establish IndiGo, India's "Coolest Airline", as a market leader that has established the benchmark for how to achieve profitability in a highly competitive market against the backdrop of rising fuel prices and economic uncertainty", Mr Harbison said.

SilkAir - Regional Airline of the Year 2011

SilkAir is the recipient of CAPA's award to the regional airline that has had the greatest impact on the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Mr Harbison said, "SilkAir is deserving of the Award for the role it has played as an effective regional feeder to its parent over a period when new competitive threats abounded. In a very crowded marketplace SilkAir continued effectively to exploit its market niche.

"At the same time SilkAir delivered its Singapore Airlines parent important traffic feed, as well as a substantially enhanced profit. As other airlines in the region explore suitable models to remain competitive in the future, SilkAir offers a valuable precedent."

Ibaraki Airport - Low Cost Airport of the Year 2011

Ibaraki.png" alt="" class="c1" />

Ibaraki Airport received the CAPA Low Cost Airport award for being the most innovative and influential in the Asia Pacific region.

"Over recent years, Ibaraki Airport has established itself as a valuable access point to northern Tokyo and to the surrounding region. It has done this by providing an airline-responsive environment and supporting the operations of low cost airlines. Also, in 2011, despite serious setbacks following the March earthquake and tsunami, Ibaraki has continued to provide outstanding service to the low cost airline industry.

"In a challenging and increasingly competitive environment, Ibaraki Airport north of Tokyo has demonstrated it is at the vanguard of change in Japanese aviation, adopting an innovative and proactive approach to market development", said Mr Harbison.

SITA and Malaysia Airlines - IT Innovation of the Year 2011

SITA and Malaysia Airlines were lauded in a new category this year recognising the establishment of an effective industry model to deliver innovative IT solutions.

"SITA has established an effective industry model, working with Malaysia Airlines, through its SITA Lab, to deliver a number of innovations. These include the first kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad, as well as an augmented reality application for the Apple iPhone to allow customers to pick up the best airline deals from nearby airports. Together Malaysia Airlines and SITA also developed MHbuddy, which takes flight bookings effectively into the realm of social media.

"Uniquely, MHbuddy passengers can check in for their flight on Facebook and during seat selection be shown the seats selected by any of their friends who are travelling on the same flight. These may well be the precursors of similar initiatives and, as such, provide a model for replication by others", said Mr Harbison.

Christchurch International Airport & Sendai Airport - Special Airport Leadership Award

Christchurch.png" alt="" /> Sendai.png" alt="" class="c1" />

CAPA this year is awarding two special Airport Leadership awards to recognise the community and industry leadership and teamwork displayed by Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand and Sendai Airport in Japan respectively in responding to uniquely challenging circumstances this year.

"Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region have suffered extreme hardship over the past year, experiencing two major earthquakes and a succession of subsequent after shocks. In the aftermath of the February 2011 earthquake, Christchurch Airport and its dedicated team played a vital role in helping restore normalcy to the community, even while its staff were themselves suffering personally. CAPA has the deepest admiration for their efforts over recent months and wish them well in the months ahead", said Mr Harbison.

"In the wake of Japan's earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March this year, images flashed around the world of Sendai Airport being inundated by sea water, carrying with it thousands of tons of debris. Vehicles, aircraft and helicopters were swept away. This CAPA Award is in recognition of the extreme hardship faced by Sendai and its surrounds and the vital role that Sendai Airport has played in securing its recovery, supported by Japan's Self Defence Forces, United States Air Force specialists, U.S. Marines and Army, and many Japanese organisations", concluded Mr Harbison.

About the judging process

Asia Pacific airports, airlines and the industry are reviewed constantly through the year via CAPA'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.

Photos of the awards winners will be available online from Friday afternoon 21-Oct-2011 for free use at: https://centreforaviation.com/

For inquiries:
Derek Sadubin
+61 2 9241 3200

About CAPA - Centre for Aviation

Established in 1990, CAPA - Centre for Aviation is the leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services, covering worldwide developments. CAPA's analytical reports and industry research enable senior executives to stay ahead of trends and developments in this fast changing, complex and dynamic industry.

CAPA re-branded earlier this year from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation to reflect its global coverage and outlook.

Want More Analysis Like This?

CAPA Membership provides access to all news and analysis on the site, along with access to many areas of our comprehensive databases and toolsets.
Find Out More