The double-decker A380 was launched last June, just 12 months after the manufacturer started assessing market demand for the all-new aircraft and only six months after authorisation to offer the aircraft was approved by the Airbus board.

Airbus secured 50 firm commitments and 42 options from six customers in record time, forming the launch base for the aircraft.

The judges were unanimous in their selection of the A380 as the winner of the Air Transport category. One judge commented: "The launch of the A380 is in my view the most significant development of the past 12 months for the commercial aviation sector. In terms of new design, latest technology, capacity and range, this aircraft is setting a new standard for the twenty-first century."

Finalists were Boeing for the certification, delivery and entry into service of the 767-400ER, and Embraer for the market success of the ERJ-135 and ERJ-145.

Boeing¹s 767-400ER programme team had a busy year. In August, the first three 767-400ERs were delivered to launch customers Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines, with the aircraft entering service in September and October respectively.

Last year Embraer emerged as the dominant player in regional aircraft sales.

Although late to the regional market, Embraer soon established itself as a major manufacturer with its 50-seat ERJ-145 and 37-seat ERJ-135.

In 2000 deliveries surged by more than 60% compared with 1999, with 157 ERJ-135s and ERJ-145s handed over. Last year also saw the manufacturer securing a record number - 378 - of firm orders.

Source: Flight Daily News