Excellence in Irish aviation recognised at the Aviation Industry Awards 2015

1 June 2015

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive, International Airlines Group (IAG) was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Aviation award at the Aviation Industry Awards, which took place at a gala ceremony in Dublin on the 28th May. The Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the aviation industry. Sponsored exclusively by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the event attracted 650 people from over 80 companies.

Willie Walsh was recognised for his many significant achievements to the aviation industry over the years, including the successful reconfiguration of Aer Lingus during the global aviation downturn following 9/11; the restructuring of British Airways into a profitable airline and for his lead role in the merger of BA with Iberia, which created the International Airlines Group.

The Aviation Company of the Year award went to Ryanair (having already been declared the winner of the Customer Service category) for their “Always Getting Better" programme, which was recognised for revolutionising Ryanair’s business over the last 18 months by placing customer service as a cornerstone to the company philosophy and contributing to its €867 million profit last year.

Air Contractors was declared as the winner of the Aircraft Operator category for the introduction of the trans-Atlantic services on behalf of Aer Lingus on their fleet of three Boeing 757 aircraft, helping Air Contractors to carry over 400,000 passengers during 2014.

As well as other major industry players, such as AerCap (winner of the Leasing Achievement category), GECAS (for Innovation), Eirtech (for MRO), and Stobart Air (for Safety), Captain Kieran O’Connor of the National Flight Centre received a Special Recognition Award for his pivotal role in the Irish aviation training sector over many years.

In his key-note address, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, TD, took the opportunity to highlight the momentous decision by the Government to approve the sale of the State’s 25.1% shareholding in Aer Lingus to IAG, which was subsequently approved by the Dáil. The Minister also endorsed the work of the newly establish Irish Historic Flight Foundation.

Speaking after the ceremony, Eamonn Brennan, IAA Chief Executive said, “We’re delighted to sponsor these Awards for a second consecutive year. Many congratulations to all of the winning companies, as well as the runners-up for making the shortlist. I am particularly pleased to see due recognition go to Ryanair, Air Contractors and of course, Willie Walsh for his outstanding contribution to aviation.

From the IAA’s perspective, these Awards celebrate key achievements of businesses and individuals who work tirelessly to grow this sector, create jobs and to ensure a safe and efficient aviation industry. Ireland is a ‘centre of excellence’ for aviation and the success and immense growth of the aviation sector in Ireland would not be possible without the outstanding work carried out by individuals and businesses across the entire island, from airlines to airports, pilots, engineers, finance and leasing companies, support services, researchers, training institutions, safety and security professionals, and, of course, the general aviation enthusiasts.”

The Awards were adjudicated by an independent judging panel from across the aviation industry.

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