Expanding US gateway Dallas/Fort Worth International has retained its crown as the leading airport in the Americas region after it was once again voted overall winner in the regional Routes Airport Marketing Awards. The facility will now automatically go forward into the final shortlist for the World Routes Awards, which will take place in Abu Dhabi later this year.
The results of the first heat of this year’s Routes Airport Marketing Awards were announced last night at a Networking Dinner in Nassau, The Bahamas. Over 350 aviation professionals were gathered, taking part in the 5th Routes Americas – the only network planning event for all the Americas. The Routes Airport Marketing Awards have become synonymous with recognising and rewarding the highest standards of marketing activities undertaken by airports. They work on the core principal that the people who are best placed to judge an airport’s marketing activities are its primary users: airlines.
Airlines from the Americas region have spent the early part of the year voting for the airports they felt deserved to win with votes based on an airport’s marketing activities over the past year. Dallas/Fort Worth International was commended by the judges for “continuing to demonstrate clearly and succinctly how they focus on their airline relations, applying a creative approach to their route development that delivers results”.
This has translated into a successful past 12 months for the airport with 30 new routes being delivered, including six new carriers – Air China Cargo, Cayman Airlines, Emirates Airline, JetBlue Airways, Qantas and Spirit Airlines. But, more importantly it has demonstrated a strong working relationship with airlines and a creative and innovative approach to air service development.
Speaking exclusively to The HUB last night after accepting the award from Phil Callow, the recently appointed new Chief Executive Officer of UBM Aviation, Luis Perez, Vice President Air Service Development said: “We are delighted to be recognised as one of the airport’s that works hard to obtain the services of airline customers and we look forward to continuing this success and building on our existing relationships to bring more air services to Dallas/Fort Worth International. The arrival of new operators like Emirates Airline and Qantas will help us position ourselves as a worldwide gateway.”
This is Dallas/Fort Worth International’s second success in the Routes Airport Marketing Awards in the space of two years and Luis Perez says this highlights that the airport’s customer service approach and relationships with airline partners are working. “This is an endorsement on our focus on customer service. Our core business as an airport is to secure air services and that is something that we clearly do best, according to our airline partners.”
It is a challenging time for the airport at the current time as its largest airline partner, American Airlines, undergoes a business reorganisation under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to Mark Thorpe, who joined Dallas/Fort Worth as Assistant Vice President of Air Service Development earlier this year, it is important for the airport to work closely with the carrier at this difficult time. “Our strategy is pretty clear that we need to support American Airlines to facilitate growth and allow them to develop a new strategy for when they depart Chapter 11 protection. We feel there is a lot of positives for this airport and we need to look to develop Dallas/Fort Worth International not just as a hub for the US but as a hub for the world.”
Having won the award for two consecutive years, Dallas/Fort Worth International has no plans to rest on its laurels and it is working hard to bring further network expansion that could certainly position it as a frontrunner for the 2013 awards. “Asia continues to be a priority for us,” explained Luis Perez, “and this is something we are working hard towards, especially a link to China. But, it is not just about new airline partners but building with our existing partners and we will look to work with our customers to grow.
Dallas/Fort Worth International was one of seven airports to make it onto the awards shortlist and two others were singled out and presented with Highly Commended status for their strategies at the awards ceremony – Aruba Airport Authority and Boston Logan International Airport.
Aruba Airport Authority was highlighted for its “creative approach to air service development” and in particular its production of what was described as a “quirky promotional video”. The company, which manages and operates Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix, has brought tangible results from the campaign with new routes being introduced in the last year by AirTran Airways, Copa Airlines, jetBlue Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Meanwhile, Boston Logan International had a remarkable year in terms of growth with a sharp increase in passenger throughput. For the judges, what stood out for the airport was not only their development of a significant JetBlue Airways base but a “task force” approach to attracting a first Asian service, a new connection to Tokyo Narita that will be introduced by Japan Airlines (JAL) later this year using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
“Dallas Fort Worth provided a very concise and slick submission and were able to demonstrate their impressive results, together with detailing examples of their marketing communications efforts directed to airlines,” explained Nigel Mayes, Vice President & Commercial, UBM Aviation Routes. “Both Boston and Aruba demonstrated high year on year growth and provided excellent submissions, we continue to be impressed by the standard of submissions,” he added.
The other airports shortlisted for the Routes Airport Marketing Award this year were Curacao-Hato International Airport, Fort Myers Southwest Florida International Airport, Myrtle Beach Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.