At a glittering awards ceremony held last night at the JW Marriott Resort in Phu Quoc, Vietnam the great and the good of the aviation industry gathered for the 24th annual World Travel Awards. The WTA celebrates the travel brands that “push the boundaries of industry excellence” and is recognised as one of the travel industry’s highest honours.
This year, Haikou-based Hainan Airlines stole the show, scooping up multiple trophies including the World’s Leading Airline for Business Class, Inflight Entertainment, Inflight Service and Cabin Crew.
The airline’s flight attendants fought off stiff competition from the likes of Emirates, Singapore Airways and Qatar Airways to pick up the accolade for the second straight year in a row. Etihad Airways had previously held the prestigious cabin crew award from 2013 to 2015.
But Russian carrier, Aeroflot may well have stolen the show with its stratospheric rise to the top. The often derided airline was named as the World’s Leading Aviation Brand 2017, in what Aeroflot called “a well-deserved result.”
The airline’s chief executive, Vitaly Saveliev said of the result:
“The World Travel Awards are the Oscars of the tourism industry, and to triumph in such a prestigious category has taken many years of work. Today Aeroflot is one of the world’s top-20 airlines by passenger numbers.”
Saveliev continued: “I am proud that we have been recognised as the world’s leading aviation brand. Aeroflot will do everything it can to hold on to this title going forward.”
Earlier this year, Aeroflot was upgraded to a Four Star airline by airline rating agency Skytrax and was recently named a Five Star Global Airline by passenger experience association APEX. At the regional World Travel Awards, Aeroflot also won the award for Europe’s Leading Airline Brand and Europe’s Leading Airline for its Business Class.
On top of that, Brand Finance stunned many observers by naming Aeroflot as the world’s most powerful airline brand earlier this year.
Other key winners at the World Travel Awards, include:
- World’s Leading Airline: Singapore Airlines
- World’s Leading Airline – Business Class: Hainan Airlines
- World’s Leading Airline – Economy Class: Oman Air
- World’s Leading Airline – First Class: Emirates
- World’s Leading Airline – Premium Economy Class: Vietnam Airlines
- World’s Leading Airline Alliance: Oneworld
- World’s Leading Airline Brand: Aeroflot Russian Airlines
- World’s Leading Airline Inflight Entertainment: Hainan Airlines
- World’s Leading Airline Rewards Programme: Emirates Skywards
- World’s Leading Airport: Changi Airport, Singapore
World Travel Awards President and Founder, Graham Cooke, said of the awards: “We have recognised the leading lights of global tourism tonight and I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners.”
Of course, like so many industry awards, the funding and criteria used by the organisers is always a little opaque when its not been opened to a public vote. But that’s probably enough said on that point.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.