The maiden National Aviation Industry Awards, the sole awards scheme that recognises the Ghanaian aviation industry and an African benchmark of airline and aviation excellence, has been held in Accra.

The National Aviation Awards recognises distinctions exhibited in every classification of the aviation industry.

These categories stretch from domestic and international airline operators to service providers, travel and tourism companies, insurance and supportive financial institutions, the local airports and many more.

The 2016 Awards was on the theme: “Recognising the cream of Ghana's Aviation Industry and the unsung heroes of change over the years.”

According to Mr Richard Abbey Jnr, Events Director of Xodus Communications Limited, “this industry gathering and networking forum champions excellence and improves business relationships.”

Purpose of awards

The awards, endorsed by the Ministry of Transport and owned by NineghtyEightz Company Limited, is meant to streamline the provision of good customer service and create awareness of the depth of hard work and due diligence that goes into providing safe and secure compliant travel behind the scenes of the industry.

A total of 33 companies and individuals were recognised at this year's awards. The event brought together over 160 industry professionals and was graced by Mrs Dzifa Gomashie, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture; Mr Simon Allotey, Director General of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA); Dr Samson Fatokun, West Africa Area Manager of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Chief of Aburi, Otubour Nana Djan Kwesi ll.

Dr Fatokun reiterated the need for credibility and integrity to make the awards attractive to the industry to participate in every year. Mrs Gomashie encouraged the nominees to use the opportunity to promote tourism and peace, especially in an election year.

Award winners

The category winners included the Aviation Company of the Year—KLM Royal Dutch Airline; Airline Operator of the Year—Kenya Airways; Africa Airline of the Year—Ethiopian Airlines; Best Aviation Online Payment—GT Bank (Ghana), Aviation Portal of the Year—Wakanow; Aviation Institution of the Year—International Travel And Tourism Institute (ITTI); Aviation Technology Achievement Award—Amadeus IT Group; Best Customer Service Award—Emirates Airlines; Promising Aviation Company of the Year—Aviation Profile and Security Services; Latex Foam Corporate Social Responsibility Award—Delta Air Lines-Ghana; Country Manager of the Year — Axel Metselaar (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines).

Others were Brand of the Year - Turkish Airlines, Accra; Aviation Cargo Transporter Award of the Year- Emirates Airlines; Aviation Professional of the Year - Akosua Okyere Nyarko; Domestic Airline of the Year - Africa World Airlines; Marketing Campaign of the Year — KLM Royal Dutch Airlines; Aviation Service Company of the Year - Aviance Ghana; Logistics Company of the Year- Consolidated Shipping Agencies Ltd (Conship); Aviation Travel Company of the Year- Stellar Travel; Aviation Tourism Award— Kenpong Travel And Tours; International Airline of the Year- Delta Air Lines-Ghana; Promising Airline of the Year—Asky Airlines and Aviation Unsung Heroes Award — J.T Amoah.

Some of the industry gurus and institutions were also conferred with special recognitions. The Aviation Leadership Award went to Air Commodore Victor Kwame Mamphey; West African Airline of the Year—Arik Air; Excellence in Health, Safety, Environment & Quality Award—Africa World Airlines; Aviation Personality of the Year— Mr Kennedy Agyepong (Kenpong Travel & Tours); CEO of the Year—Mr Jacky Hathiramani (Dana Air) Indigenous Company of the Year—Mcdan Shipping Company Limited; Aviation Insurance Company of the Year—SIC Insurance Company; Pioneering Excellence in Domestic Airlines, Alhaji Dr Asoma Banda and Entrepreneur of the Year—Dr Daniel Mckorley (Mcdan Shipping Company Limited.)