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AsBAA presents Icons of Aviation 2018 award winners
Now in its fourth year, AsBAA's Icons of Aviation Awards night has grown into a well-attended awards event. This year the theme was James Bond - Diamonds in the Sky and the event raised over $30,000 for charity.
AsBAA board members David Best, John Riggir, Jenny Lau and Mike Walsh with (centre) Zoe Davis and Alan Smith.

AsBAA, Asia's non-profit representative body for the business and general aviation industry, hosted VIPs, industry leaders and around 380 representatives of the industry at its annual charity gala dinner, the Icons of Aviation Awards. The James Bond-themed charity event raised more than US$30,000 for AsBAA's corporate social responsibility projects, which include donations to Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the coveted Mike Davis Award, a lifetime achievement award presented by his daughter Zoe to former Hawker Pacific CEO Alan Smith. Zoe Davis said: “The award has really grown over the years to be one that is very meaningful and a great honour for the recipient. Alan has made enormous contributions to the industry and we recognise this in my late father's name.”

The Best AOC Charter Operator Award went to VistaJet for its industry-first achievements and exceptional operational standards. In the first half of 2018, the company's passenger count increased by 18 per cent and flight hours rose by 23 per cent compared to the previous year in Asia; by the third quarter these figures have risen to 37 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. It launched The Jet Traveler Report, a customer-centric analysis on the private aviation industry, partnered with British Polo Day for its 2018 worldwide tournament and curated the global art tour of The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller whose sale raised over $832 million for philanthropic causes.

VistaJet also received the Most Innovative Company Award recognising creativity and innovation. In 2018 the company launched a children's private travel programme for passengers aged one to 16 that turns cabins into playrooms and party venues, and has also trained all of its cabin hostesses at early education specialist Norland College.

President of Asia and US Leona Qi says: “It's truly an honour to receive recognition for VistaJet's continual effort on delivering exceptional cabin services. With a team of over 1,000 aviation specialists of 50 nationalities, every single flight is performed smoothly and to the highest safety standards, anytime, anywhere around the globe. Innovation is at the core of VistaJet's values; by thinking ahead of customer requests, we are committed to creating enriching experiences through creative strategies and initiatives.”

AsBAA chairperson Jenny Lau adds: “AsBAA added the innovation award in 2018 to recognise and encourage technological advancements and creative 'out of the box' thinking in our industry. VistaJet has achieved exactly that with its new children's services. The entertainment, catering and Alice in Wonderland themed package for children is inspired.”

Jet Aviation was recipient of the Best MRO Provider Award in the region for the fourth consecutive year. Twenty employees attended representing its regional MRO, FBO and aircraft management and charter businesses, including VP business development and former AsBAA vice chairman David Best and VP regional operations Asia and general manager Singapore John Riggir.

“It's a great honour to receive this award and have our MRO operations lauded by the industry,” said Riggir. “I am very proud of the team and pleased to see their collective efforts recognised. They give everything they have to ensure our customers remain safe and mobile. Their commitment to the highest standards is unwavering.”

Jet Aviation acquired Hawker Pacific earlier this year to expand its footprint and customer offer across Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and Best said of Smith's award: “I am delighted to see Alan recognised for his life's work and commitment to the business aviation industry. He's a true professional.”

Jetcraft Asia was awarded the best aircraft sales broker 2018 for the fourth year in a row. President David Dixon says: “We would like to thank our industry peers and all members of AsBAA for their vote of confidence in Jetcraft for the past four years and beyond. We will continue to work hard to meet and exceed your expectations and to stay focused on our core strengths, delivering the best in the business of aircraft sales, acquisitions and trading. I am personally humbled and honoured by your support.”

Lau went on to announce further winners: Bombardier was best manufacturer and Asian Sky Media won for best media. This latter was to recognise the company's original and informative way of breaking down various segments of the Asia Pacific business aviation industry, and managing director Jeffrey Lowe said: “Being awarded Best Media Outlet by AsBAA for the third consecutive year is a testament to all of the work we do, aimed at providing insightful data and concise information on respective industry segments. This award is a truly an honour and we're excited to receive it after a year of hard work and effort put into each report. Our success with these reports would not be possible without AsBAA and our fellow industry members, who have offered continued support throughout the year.”

Further awards were made to Air Charter Service for best charter broker; Universal Weather and Aviation for best operational support; Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre for best ground handling agent; and JSSI for best business service provider.

TAG Aviation Asia was awarded best management company. “We are proud and delighted to receive the AsBAA award for the fourth time and the recognition again marks the quality of our services. Our people make the difference," says CEO and accountable manager Jolie Howard. This is the fourth consecutive year that it has been voted for and received an AsBAA award, having previously won the award for best operator at the inaugural awards ceremony in 2015 and as best management company and operator in 2016 and 2017.

The Trailblazer of the Year Award went to Sarah Kalmeta of Universal Weather and Aviation and AsBAA board of governors.

The Icons of Aviation 2018 was sponsored by previous winner of the Best Manufacturer Award, Gulfstream, whose regional senior vice president, international sales, Asia Pacific Roger Sperry said: “Gulfstream Aerospace is proud to serve as the title sponsor for the Icons of Aviation Awards. The event not only celebrates Asia's aviation community, it supports corporate social responsibility through opportunities to give back to local charities.”

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