Simply the best

Emirates airline continues to win international awards for its quality service

Emirates, the international airline of the UAE, continues to fly high in 2002, having been recently voted Airline of the Year 2001.

The results of the survey, by Skytrax Research of the UK, were released in April this year.

Skytrax says it was the largest-ever global survey of airline passengers, with 2.7 million votes submitted over a period of nine months from all over the world.

The survey asked passengers to rank airlines by the quality of the product and service provided. Singapore Airlines came in second, Cathay Pacific third, British Airways fourth and Thai Airways fifth.

Skytrax managing director Edward Plaisted said: ''We did not look at frequent flyer programmes or other commercial influences but concentrated on the quality of product and service that a customer experiences."

Monthly ranking snapshots were taken throughout the survey process and Emirates was a strong performer during the whole voting period, resulting in it scooping the Airline of the Year title.

The airline is one of the world's fastest-growing, operating to nearly 60 destinations around the world from its Dubai base.

Maurice Flanagan, Emirates group managing director, said: "We are delighted to be recognised by customers in this world-wide airline survey. The award testifies to the unbeatable product that we offer passengers - a combination of the most modern aircraft, latest on-board facilities and the highest standard of service in the sky. We continually set the standard and as we further expand our operations around the globe, we will continue to put customers first by redefining the quality of our product."

Out of the 2.7 million votes cast, 32 per cent of respondents regularly travelled in first or business class on corporate business; 24 per cent travelled in economy class for corporate purposes, and 44 per cent were leisure travellers in economy class.

Skytrax said its survey was conducted without any form of third-party sponsorship or influence - funding for the project was based on the sale of detailed survey analysis and reports to interested airlines.

The recent award for the Dubai-based Emirates joins more than 190 other international awards it has won for quality service since its inception in 1985.

The airline has also won many awards for its cuisine and the quality of the cabin crew, who are selected from more than 65 different nations.

Emirates provides chauffeur-driven service to and from the airport at each end of the trip for its First and Business class passengers at major destinations on the ground.

At Dubai airport, the airline provides its own check-in service and uses a variety of ground handling agencies at other airports. It also offers what it describes as the 'world's best airport lounges' for First and Business Class passengers featuring bedrooms with showers, massage chairs, Internet stations, hot and cold meals and refreshments.

At other airports, Emirates uses the lounges of premier airlines.

Onboard, Emirates contends it is the market leader with in-flight entertainment in every seat in each class and in the Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s, a phone too.

Emirates says it does not belong to any airline alliance, preferring to remain independent, though it has a number of code-share agreements with United, Thai International, British Airways, South African Airways and SriLankan Airlines.

Emirates has a frequent flyer programme, called Skywards, which provides all the usual benefits such as complimentary upgrades and free tickets.

Last year, Emirates became the first airline to place an order for the A3XX superjumbo currently being developed by Airbus.

The order, for seven of the jets - five for passenger operations and two for freight - is worth $1.5 billion. Emirates has also taken options on a further five of the aircraft. The first delivery is scheduled for February 2006.

Emirates also plans to build a dedicated terminal at Dubai International Airport that will have the facilities to handle the superjumbos.