Flying in Luxury: Air Nippon Airways Wins Airline of the Year

Johnathon Tews, Contributing Writer

Every year, Air Transport World (ATW) rewards one airline for a successful year with the title ATW Airline of the Year. For the third time in the last eleven years, the award belongs to Air Nippon Airways (ANA). The award is given to the airline that exhibits excellent management, financial discipline, consistent safety records, a strong community role, excellent labor relations, and good customer service, according to atwonline. ANA is only the second foreign airline that is not based in the United States to win the award in the last five years.

Regarding safety, ANA was given a 7/7 rating from airlineratings.com. Not only is the airline allowed to fly in and out of all countries, but it has also gone ten years without a single accident. The reason for such extreme safety? The airline does not take any risks. In 2016 after one engine failed on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Air Nippon, pulled the entire 787 fleet for engine inspection.

Customer service and experience was another strong spot for the airline in 2017. Receiving 6.5/7 stars for product rating– in regards to comfort, food, seats, and entertainment– shows the airline provides all the desired services for its passengers. Air Nippon, unlike many American carriers now, has a very young fleet. The average age across the fleet is just under ten years, according to planespotters.net. While ten years may seem old, it is imperative to remember that a good retirement age for planes is twenty years, meaning their fleet is not even half of its expected life. A major reason for their young fleet is the delivery of their first Airbus a321neo aircraft. The airline currently has 92 aircraft on order, with plans on phasing out many of the older planes in their fleet. Not only does ANA make the flight experience comfortable, but also quick. As reported by Travelandleisure.com, ANA had 85.54% of flights arrive on time, ranking it sixth among international carriers, less than 3% behind KLM, the top airline for on-time arrivals.

2017 was a strong year financially for Air Nippon as well. The airline made nearly $1.3billion in operation profits, according to ANA. The reason for such strong financial success is their management-labor relations. ANA has established unions for all its employees and encourage events as a company, including community mission work and sports days. Additionally, Air Nippon is part of the world renown Star Alliance. The alliance is made up of 27 airlines including United and Air Canada.

While ANA is headquartered in Tokyo, it does fly in and out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The airline serves 19 destinations from O’Hare: many spots in Japan, India, Australia, and China. So, the next time you are waiting for your flight at O’Hare, keep an eye out for the long white planes with tall blue tails… and the letters ANA in big, white font.