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Cathay grabs record win; easier connections; Air India joins alliance

Cathay grabs record win

Cathay Pacific Airways has been named the “World’s Best Airline” in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards. The carrier’s fourth win of the prestigious award marks the most ever by a single airline. Cathay Pacific also won in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

Skytrax conducts one of the most comprehensive customer satisfaction surveys in the airline industry, measuring standards across 41 key performance indicators.

The latest awards were based on a survey, which ran from August 2013 to May, of 18.85 million airline passengers from more than 160 countries and covering 245 airlines worldwide.

“As the home airline of Hong Kong, we take great pride in putting the city on the international stage by winning this prestigious award once again. The World’s Best Airline award is particularly important to us because it was decided by the votes of close to 19 million travelers from around the world. Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” said Ivan Chu, the airline’s chief executive, who collected the award during the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K.

Easier connections

AirAsia and AirAsia X have introduced 139 new Fly-Thru routes, making it easier to use connecting flights without requiring numerous check-ins, transit visas or multiple baggage transfers. Passengers will be issued an onward flight boarding pass from the original point of embarkation and they can bypass immigration at the airline’s Fly-Thru hubs in Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) or Bangkok-Don Mueang (DMK). All checked baggage will also be transferred automatically to connecting flights.

Some popular routes on the services are on flights from Narita, Haneda and Kansai airports to Bali via Kuala Lumpur, and to Phuket via Bangkok.

With these new routes, AirAsia customers can enjoy more than 700 Fly-Thru routes, with connection times between 90 minutes and six hours.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO, AirAsia X Berhad, said, “With the convenience of our Fly-Thru flights, guests from our long-haul network and that of the AirAsia Group may connect seamlessly to over 85 destinations across the group’s network. The hassle-free travel experience will indeed open up new horizons for commercial activities and boost tourism in the ASEAN region.”

Air India joins alliance

Air India has joined the Star Alliance network after the group unanimously approved their membership at a meeting of its chief executives in London on June 23.

The Star Alliance network now has 27 member airlines, offering 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 destinations in 195 countries.

Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns program and those of the existing member carriers are also available, providing customers with more options in earning and redeeming their mileage as well as upgrading their Star Alliance status.

Air India currently offers three flights every week to Delhi from Narita and Kansai airports.