Air France-KLM flies high as airline of the year

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (AFP) - European airline Air France-KLM, founded in May by Air France's merger with its Dutch rival KLM, has been named airline of 2005 by Air Transport World air industry magazine, for its "remarkable" transformation and "philosophy of aggressive global growth".

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (AFP) - European airline Air France-KLM, founded in May by Air France's merger with its Dutch rival KLM, has been named airline of 2005 by Air Transport World air industry magazine, for its "remarkable" transformation and "philosophy of aggressive global growth".

Air France-KLM president Jean-Cyril Spinetta and vice president Leo Van Wijk accepted the award late Tuesday during a ceremony that also gave awards to regional low-cost air carriers Air Asia and Virgin Atlantic.

"The merger with KLM and the subsequent privatization of AF are worthy of special recognition," ATW Editorial Director J.A. Donoghue said at the ceremony.

"Combining two of Europe's legendary flag carriers into the largest airline in the world should begin the much-needed rationalisation of capacity while providing substantial benefits from the merger," he added.

In a brief speech, Spinetta recalled what prompted the merger of the two companies: "we were at risk because we were middleweight champions in a heavyweight business."

He also praised the United States as "a country that symbolises optimism and dynamism," and stressed that as the largest economy in the world, "the US is a key market for us."

Other air carriers to carry off awards from ATW included Air New Zealand for its remarkable resurgence after skirting with bankruptcy in 2001, and Luxembourg's airfreight carrier Cargolux and Mesa Air, which serves the North American region.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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