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Wideroe and SATA Air Acores take Silver and Bronze respectively

Air Nostrum strikes gold for fifth time

Air Nostrum has won the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) Airline of the Year 2011/12 GOLD Award for the fifth time. The carrier has previously won the Gold Award in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2007.

Mr Carlos Bertomeu, President and CEO of Air Nostrum, was presented with the trophy by Mr Filippo Bagnato, CEO of Award sponsor ATR at the ERA annual Awards Dinner at the Marriott Park Hotel in Rome, Italy.

The Silver Award went to Norwegian carrier Wideroe, while first-time winner SATA Air Acores took Bronze.

The judges were impressed with the manner in which Air Nostrum resolutely continued its aircraft restructuring plans in spite of the economic situation in its home market and increased competition from high speed rail and low fares airlines. Its impressive financial history enabled it to finance the aircraft transition, and the replacement of small aircraft with larger capacity aircraft has resulted in a dramatic reduction of unit costs. In addition to this, the judges felt Air Nostrum deserved high praise for its ability to retain a positive working relationship with its employees throughout the fleet restructuring process, enabling the carrier to successfully return to sustained profitability.

Silver winner Wideroe was commended for cutting 4,000 tons of CO2 in the last year by reducing cruise speed whenever possible and using a new satellite-based approach system. The satellite-based approach system for STOL airports has also contributed to the airline’s excellent punctuality record under very difficult operational conditions and will also improve safety and emissions. Its reliability record was crucial in the decision of the airline’s mother company to hand over its Bombardier Q400 operation to Wideroe.

Bronze winner SATA Air Acores, founded in 1941, is receiving an ERA Award for the first time. The judges’ attention was caught by this carrier’s role as the unique people mover in its home market of the Azorean archipelago. The airline’s complete fleet renewal, with limited own resources, has dramatically improved on-time performance.  It has also increased fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, thereby facilitating and strengthening its role in providing public services that are vital for the islands’ territorial and social cohesion.

The ERA Airline of the Year is judged by an independent panel comprising senior statesmen of the industry and respected representatives of aviation media from a variety of European countries.

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