CAPA Aviation for Excellence Award winners announced in Singapore

8 November, 2017

CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence are regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation. From 2003, when the Awards were established, through until 2011 they were limited to Asia Pacific including the Middle East. In 2012 the Awards became global and began including recipients from all regions. In 2014 CAPA started two award events, one covering the global industry and one for Asia Pacific including the Middle East.

CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence are intended to reward airlines and airports that are not only successful but have also provided industry leadership in adjusting to a new environment. At a time of industry upheaval, our winners are adopting strategies that offer new directions for others to take up. The CAPA Awards for Excellence are not driven by customer surveys or sponsorship.

Vietnam Airlines was awarded CAPA Asia Pacific Airline of the Year

Vietnam Airlines was selected for its rapid growth, high level of profitability and successful partial privatisation. V

"Vietnam is among the fastest growing markets in the world and is attracting much added competition. Vietnam Airlines has emerged as a successful and fast growing full service airline group despite intensifying competition in its home market,” CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison said. “The group’s dual brand strategy with Jetstar Pacific and pursuit of strategic partnerships have significantly improved its long term position. These strengths helped the airline achieve a highly successful partial privatisation in early 2017 while maintaining a high level of profitability. This airline is going from strength to strength!"

Akbar Al Baker received the CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Executive Award

This is awarded to the airline executive who has had the greatest individual influence on the aviation industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction for the growth of their business and the industry.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker has not let his airline lose its shine during one of its most testing years. Qatar Airways has recalibrated its network to function without neighbouring countries. At the same time, the carrier has continued with growth plans and created more expansion.

Mr Harbison said: “Akbar Al Baker has not let Qatar Airways lose its shine during one of its most testing years. Under his guidance, the airline has recalibrated its network to function without access to several neighbouring countries. At the same time, Qatar Airways has continued its expansion plans and created new avenues for growth. He has turned a setback into an opportunity. This is truly a remarkable achievement.”

AirAsia Berhad was awardedCAPA Asia Pacific Low Cost Airline of the Year

AirAsia Berhad, also known as AirAsia Malaysia, was selected for its consistent industry leading financial performance and innovative expansion from secondary bases.

AirAsia Malaysias had a record 87% annual passenger load factor in 2016, representing a 6ppt improvement compared to 2015. Passenger traffic was up 9% to 26.4 million and, most impressively, yield was up despite intense competition, bucking an overall industry trend of declining yields. AirAsia Malaysia generated a pre-tax profit of more than USD500 million in 2016 with an industry leading 31% profit margin.

Rex was awardedCAPA Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the Year

In FY2017, Regional Express, Rex, reported a nearly quadrupled operating profit, achieving an AUD17.8 million profit before tax, compared to AUD4.3 million in FY2016. The carrier also forecast double digit profit growth for FY2018. This impressive growth has resulted in a significant share price growth exceeding 30%. In the last two months alone, Rex's share price increased from AUD1.05 to AUD1.38, the highest result the airline has achieved since Feb-2008.

"Rex has flourished in a difficult domestic operating environment, expanding while improving profitability, a creditable performance," said Mr Harbison. "Over the years Regional Express secured a solid base and has now used this to expand more widely and strategically."

Air Seoul was awarded CAPA Asia Pacific Start-up of the Year

Air Seoul was resolute in its need to enter Korea's competitive LCC market in order to help parent owner Asiana Airlines. Air Seoul gives Korea's #2 airline a low cost presence in the country's largest market. With the slogan "It's mint time", Air Seoul is a visually distinct departure from Asiana's traditional experience yet Air Seoul continues the legacy of Asiana's network and aims to bring smaller and competitive destinations to profitability.

Philippine Department of Tourism was awarded CAPA Asia Pacific Tourism Organisation of the Year

The Philippines has managed to achieve double digit growth in inbound tourism over the past three years, on the back of a concerted campaign. This has included an active and targeted effort to attract new airlines and new air services to the Philippines. In doing so it has managed to maintain a good broad cross section of tourist origins, without relying too heavily on any one market. With two successful international airlines spreading their wings internationally, as well as a growing number of foreign airlines, continuing this form of expansion requires initiative and a positive branding proposition. Under the guidance of the Tourism Administration this strong record looks set to continue into the future.

Singapore Changi Airport was awarded CAPA Asia Pacific Large Airport of the Year

Singapore Changi Airport was selected for the opening of Terminal 4 and its commitment for further capacity increases over the next decade.

T4 increases Changi’s capacity to 84 million passengers. The airport handled 58.7 million passengers in 2016 as traffic increased by 6% - the largest increase since 2012. Passenger traffic was up another 6% in the first three quarters of 2017 to 46 million, putting Changi on pace to easily break the 60 million mark for the full year.

Changi has started an even bigger project that will boost capacity by another 50 million passengers per year through the construction of a massive fifth terminal and third runway. While other airports in the region are struggling with infrastructure constraints and operating above capacity, Changi is committed to staying ahead of the growth curve and maintaining its position as a premier air hub.

Perth Airport was awarded Asia Pacific Medium Airport of the Year and
Sunshine Coast Airport was awarded Asia Pacific Small Airport of the Year

Perth Airport ranks fourth largest in Australia on all parameters and 172nd in the world in terms of capacity and – an indication of its remoteness and therefore the importance of connectivity – a much higher 92nd when measured in ASKs. The city’s closeness to Asia and isolation from the rest of Australia’s major cities makes for a highly internationally focused airport.

"The fact that it currently has two widely separated terminals for domestic and international has made it that bit harder for the airport to capitalise in any way on its relatively high mix of flights for onward connections, however management has clearly had the foresight required to plan for future development," said Mr Harbison.

The airport reported that it plans to expand its infrastructure over the next seven to 10 years using AUD2.5 billion, CEO Kevin Brown confirming the expanded airport "will help unlock the full economic potential of WA".

Sunshine Coast Airport enjoyed record passenger movements in 2016/17, handling one million passengers for the first time. This included a record 296,000 international arrivals for the year ending Jun-2017, up 11.6% year-on-year. For the full year ending Jul-2017, the airport topped the list of airport growth in Australia, with a 10.4% increase.

After the owners, Sunshine Coast Council, concluded a commercial agreement in Feb-2017 with Palisade Investment Partners who will operate, invest and develop the airport under a 99 year lease, the airport is shortly commencing construction of a new 2450m runway and upgrade existing terminal and apron facilities. "Sunshine Coast has leapt into a position where it has the potential for a substantial expansion which promises to provide an immense benefit for tourism and for the economy of the surrounding region,' said Mr Harbison.