The aviation industry is hardly short of awards events, but the Airport Awards can perhaps claim to be different. Uniquely, these awards aim to recognise the success of airports in developing and implementing marketing strategies - not just for the benefit of passengers and profits, but in partnership with the airlines that remain their primary customer.

The Awards sprang out of the Routes event launched five years ago by Airline Business and the UK consultancy Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM) in order to bring airports and airlines under the same roof to discuss network development. Routes, now established as the world's leading route planning forum, seemed a natural setting in which to launch an awards programme designed to recognise airport strategy and partnership. And at this year's event in Rome, the Airport Awards presentations took place during a gala dinner in the magnificent setting of the Palazzo Colonna, a splendid Roman palace belonging to one of the city's oldest families.

Awards have been held at previous Routes events but this year marked a new departure, with a revised set of categories more closely aligned around the strategic marketing theme and judged by an independent panel of experts who assembled in London at the start of September. The panel members remarked on the impressive amount of work that had been put into the entries, with well over 60 detailed submissions received from around the world.

The panel's task began with the Airport Marketing section which focused on the success of achieving strategic goals in route development over the past year. Not all airports are, or should be, pursuing the same targets, so awards have been made in four broad sub-categories, covering: Regional Airport; City Airport; International Airport; and Major Hub.

Next was the Marketing Communications category, open to all airports, with judges looking at how effectively each organisation had communicated its strategy through marketing materials. Finally, Airline Business hosted a special award designed to recognise the organisation which has contributed to fostering a relationship between airlines and airports.

Source: Airline Business