ATW announces 2023 Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards Winners

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350XWB.

Credit: Airbus

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has been named the 2023 Air Transport World Airline of the Year in the 49th Annual ATW Airline Industry Awards, which recognizes excellence across a broad range of airline operations. The annual awards ceremony will be held June 2 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Singapore flag carrier was selected by a panel of editors and analysts at ATW, Routes, Aviation Week and CAPA. In making their decision, they cited how the company responded rapidly and decisively to the global travel restrictions related to COVID-19 by raising S$22.4 billion ($17 billion) in fresh liquidity—the most by any airline during the pandemic. In addition, multiple cost-cutting and innovative initiatives kept the company on a strong footing so it was ready to re-enter the market strongly when borders reopened. Since then, SIA has posted record passenger load factors while restoring passenger capacity more quickly than its regional peers to capture the pent-up demand, with deeper strategic airline partnerships, a multi-hub strategy that leverages its Indian joint venture with Tata Sons, and a 2023 summer schedule that will take it above pre-pandemic levels in the Americas, Europe, and South-Asia markets. 

ATW will present awards to two individuals who have made important and significant contributions to the global air transport industry: Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Korean Air chairman and CEO Walter Cho will receive the Excellence in Leadership Award.

Clark is being recognized for being instrumental in transforming Dubai-based Emirates into a strong global hub and reshaping how all airlines, suppliers and passengers think about long-haul travel. A visionary leader, editors said he has been an industry gamechanger who applied out-of-the-box thinking to network planning, coupled with new standards of service in the air and on the ground.  

Cho was selected by editors for his exceptional and compassionate leadership of Korean Air through the pandemic with his nimble and creative thinking, particularly regarding airline partnerships—especially the transpacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines and the company’s cargo business, which made the South Korean flag carrier stronger through the worst times of the pandemic.

Other 2023 ATW winners include American Airlines (Eco-Airline of the Year); (Airline Market Leader); Spirit Airlines (Value Airline of the Year); Cathay Pacific Cargo (Cargo Airline of the Year); Etihad Airways and SATAVIA (Eco-Technology Achievement); and Istanbul Airport (Airport of the Year).

Eco-Airline of the Year was awarded to American Airlines for being the first airline to receive validation for its 2035 immediate carbon reduction target from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Dallas/Fort Worth-based American has teamed up with agencies and suppliers to scale up the use of sustainable aviation fuel, making it the first airline in North America to report using more than 1 million gallons in 2021 and doubling its usage in 2022.

UK-based low-cost leisure carrier was recognized as Airline Market Leader for becoming the UK’s third largest airline while its sister company, Jet2holidays, being the UK’s largest tour operator. has developed a network of leisure services across Europe, focusing on Mediterranean destinations and in many of these markets, and holds the number one position with an increasing number of sales accounted for by package holidays booked through tour operator Jet2holidays.

US ULCC Spirit Airlines was named Value Airline of the Year after it set a company record during the summer of 2022 with a 99.2% completion factor, outperforming all major legacy carriers. The Fort Lauderdale-based ULCC has introduced several customer-pleasing initiatives, such as new, wider seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, and optional extra services for guests with disabilities or those who want personalized help with ticketing, checking bags, clearing security, navigation, carrying items and translation. 

ATW’s Cargo Airline of the Year went to Cathay Pacific Cargo for continuing to grow, innovate and adapt through some of the most challenging pandemic restrictions. The Hong Kong-based carrier introduced a three-tiered priority system that provides greater choice and better-defined service options to customers related to speed, capacity and assurance for every shipment. Cathay also expanded the digitalization of its processes and extended its passenger airline Fly Greener carbon offset program to its cargo operations. 

For Eco-Technology Achievement, editors recognized Etihad Airways and SATAVIA for their ground-breaking contrail management partnership, which builds on a previous proof-of-concept engagement to expand the scope for contrail management within day-to-day flight operations. SATAVIA’s contrail management platform, DECISIONX:NETZERO, enables eco-conscious operators to optimize commercial flight plans for greener operations. 

ATW Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker said the final selections “illustrate the strength of the market recovery across the air transport industry,” adding, “It is particularly heartening to see that also reflected among airlines in the Asia-Pacific region.” 

The 49th ATW Awards, sponsored by CFM International, will be presented at a gala dinner on Friday, June 2. For more information about the awards, attending the award ceremony and sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Gabriel Balmes at