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airBaltic receives ATW’s Phoenix Award

5th February 2010 Print

Earlier this week, at a gala ceremony in Singapore, Aaron Karp, Senior Editor of the world’s leading aviation magazine Air Transport World presented ATW’s Phoenix Award to Bertolt Flick, President and CEO of airBaltic.

This highly regarded award recognises the fundamental changes that airBaltic has so successfully implemented, despite the exceptional harsh market conditions. ATW’s award ceremony took place at the Swissotel-The Stamford in Singapore.

Bertolt Flick, President and CEO of airBaltic: “We exercised a major business restructuring of airBaltic over the past two years that involved all sides of our business, be it operational or commercial. We are delighted that our achievement has earned global recognition from Air Transport World editors. For us in the airline industry ATW Phoenix Award has the same value as Oscar award for filmmakers.”

ATW Editorial Director Perry Flint: “The Phoenix Award was created to recognize those airlines that have achieved a commercial rebirth through a life-changing business transformation. This perfectly describes airBaltic, which successfully changed its operating model from a point-to-point carrier to a network airline."

The editors cited airBaltic's successful decision to change its business strategy from a focus on point-to-point traffic in favour of a network model making Riga a connecting hub between East and West. Since making the transition, airBaltic has experienced significant improvements in traffic and financial performance, including a 33% rise in passengers at its home airport in the first nine months of 2009.

"airBaltic responded swiftly and decisively to the dramatic economic crisis of 2008-09 that hit Latvia particularly hard. By adopting a network model it has been able to replace lost point-to-point traffic and create success in the face of extreme adversity," said ATW Editorial Director Perry Flint.

"airBaltic successfully lowered unit costs while increasing unit revenue and achieving record passenger load factors. This was achieved by innovations in business model and commercial execution. These changes have enabled it to maintain strong traffic growth and positive cash flow during the current downturn and positioned it well for the inevitable recovery. airBaltic's rapid expansion has been accompanied by significant improvements in operational performance. Customer complaints declined by a third between 2008 and 2009, missed connections fell by 3.5 percentage points and it is among the leaders in punctuality in Europe." observed ATW's editors.

Air Transport World ( is the leading monthly magazine serving the airline and commercial aircraft manufacturing and support industries. It launched its awards program in 1974 to recognize excellence. Originally a modest program, the ATW Awards over the intervening decades have gained in importance and stature to become one of the most coveted and valued honors a company or a person in the airline industry can receive. 

The ATW Award winners are selected by the magazine's editorial staff after a lengthy consultative process. Nominations are solicited from the magazine's editors around the globe, and also are accepted from any person or organization within the industry ATW Phoenix Award has been previously received by airlines such as Malaysia, Royal Jordanian, Korean, Air New Zealand, Aer Lingus.

Further information about airBaltic's award is available in the February issue of ATW.