The ERA Airline of the Year Award was established in 1991 and aims to recognize excellence and achievements of intra-European airlines. The price is awarded every year on the base of quality, economy and position of the airline.
This year Norwegian Widerøe went all the way to the top. Feedback from the judging panel on the gold medal is that Widerøe is a well-managed airline that remains predictable at a top level in unpredictable surroundings.
–This is a great honor and recognition of the work and effort put in by all Widerøe’s employees, states Managing Director in Widerøes Flyveselskap, Lars Kobberstad. It is particularly exciting to win an award rewarded by the industry itself, continues Kobberstad.
ERA’s Airline of the Year Award is presented every year. Competition is fierce between the various airline members of the European Airline organization. Widerøe has previously won both bronze and silver, however this is the first time the company wins the gold medal and is awarded Airline of the Year in Europe.
–Of course it is fantastic for a small Norwegian company to go all the way to the top, states Kobberstad, and promises that there will be a big celebration when he returns to Norway with the trophy.
In his Dublin speech Thursday night, Director General of ERA Mr. Mike Ambrose stated that the judging panel was impressed by Widerøe’s performance in many aspects. In particular Widerøe’s ability to excel in all operational and financial parameters impressed the judging panel.
The judging panel also points out Widerøe as a truly regional airline and even if the airline operate in challenging weather conditions, most of the measures of performance are at the top.
Lars Kobberstad approach is slightly more humble; -This is truly a great acknowledgement. However, new challenges present itself every day and we cannot afford to slow down in our efforts to increase the quality and efficiency of our service offering. This is never the less an important step towards fulfilling our vision of becoming the leading regional airline company in Europe.
Widerøe is a regional airline in Norway and part of the SAS Group. It operates to 41 domestic and 6 international destinations. The largest regional airline in the Nordic countries, Widerøe has a turnover of NOK 2.9 billion, 2 million annual passengers, 1,400 employees and makes 400 take-offs and landings each day. The public service obligation services (PSO) with the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications on the regional airport network account for slightly less than half of Widerøe’s operations. The remaining services consist of services on primary airports in Northern Norway, and services from Sandefjord Airport, Torp to other primary airports, and some international services from Oslo/Gardermoen, Sandefjord/Torp, Kristiansand/Kjevik, Stavanger/Sola, Bergen/Flesland and Trondheim/Værnes.
The company has its head offices in Bodø, although it retains a large administration in Lysaker. The main bases are Sandefjord Airport, Torp, Bodø Airport, Tromsø Airport, Bergen Airport, Flesland and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Widerøe’s operations are focused on point-to-point transit, although the airline essentially feeds medium-haul and international airlines at the bases. Widerøe retains interlining agreements and participates in EuroBonus for international flights.
The airline was founded in 1934, and started with air shows, aviation schools, advertisement flights, cartography and other general aviation. In 1936, Widerøe started scheduled sea plane flights and from 1940 also ambulance flights. During the 1940s and 1950s, the airline increased its sea plane routes, and established a main fleet of DHC-3 Otters and Noorduyn Norseman. From 1968, Widerøe started flying to the STOLports built in Northern and Western Norway using DHC-6 Twin Otters, and later also with Dash 7. In 1989, Widerøe bought Norsk Air and started services from Sandefjord. During the 1990s, replaced all its aircraft with Dash 8; in the 2000s it was bought by the SAS Group and took over SAS Commuter’s operations in Northern Norway. In 2010, Widerøe took over the regional SAS services in Western Norway.