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Skyways takes gold award in ERA airline of the year 2000

Skyways, Sweden`s largest regional carrier, is the winner of the millennium European Regions Airline Association (ERA<.>) Airline of the Year Gold Award

Skyways, Sweden`s largest regional carrier, is the winner of the millennium European Regions Airline Association (ERA<.>) Airline of the Year Gold Award. Skyways CEO Jan Palmer, and Chairman Sven Salen received the award at the Association`s 20th Anniversary dinner at Interlaken on Thursday, 28th September.

The award, which throughout its nine years has seen its profile increase dramatically, has been enhanced with the introduction of a Gold, Silver and Bronze structure this year in celebration of ERA`s 20th Anniversary and in recognition of the quality of the entries.

The winner of the new Silver Award was Eurowings of Germany, one of the largest independent regional carriers in Europe. The Bronze Award was presented to Aegean Airlines of Greece, one of the youngest regional airlines from among ERA`s members.

The independent panel of aviation journalists from throughout Europe based their decisions on a wide range of criteria, including financial growth, technical and operational achievements, fleet composition and network development, as well as passenger load factor, punctuality, marketing and business strategy, customer services and passenger perception.

Skyways` shrewd business strategy leading to an exclusive and highly successful partnership with Sweden`s national carrier without loss of the company`s brand identity was seen by the judging panel as a significant factor in their decision.

Other factors which won it credit were:

* its strong passenger growth and financial success

* an aggressive marketing approach

* its attention to customer service quality

* a cost-effective use of different aircraft types

* the company has embraced new technology in areas of ticket reservation and payment, maintenance support as well as resource management.

CEO, Jan Palmer, as a founder member of the lobby organisation Svenskt Flyg and Chairman of the Board of the Swedish Aviation Association, has been instrumental in abolishing a Swedish aviation fuel tax in 1996 and overturning a decision to impose environmental tax on Sweden`s aviation industry in 1998.

Eurowings was strong competition, having achieved significant financial success in 1999 despite rising fuel prices and increased rival airlines. Some of its individual success factors included:

* running a separate scheduled charter services operation in an extremely competitive environment

* customer-focused marketing strategy for both business and leisure passengers

* an innovative approach to new technology in customer services and personnel.

Mr Friedrich-Wilhelm Weitholz, CEO of Eurowings, is a member of the advisory committee to the DFS, German Air Traffic Control and represents the interests of German regional airlines with respect to ATC delays and airport congestion.

The judges were pleased to name Aegean Airlines as Bronze Award winner in recognition of the company`s dynamism, persistence and fighting spirit in a difficult political environment. Despite incredible odds it achieved considerable passenger growth and financial success in only one year of commercial operations. It was unanimously regarded as an airline destined to go far.

Aegean Airlines General Manager, Antonis Simigdalas, has set up a young modern fleet and achieved extensive regional network linking within the island communities with a high quality customer service and on-time performance.

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