American Airlines named Airline of the Year

American Airlines rewarded its 120,000 employees with free plane tickets after the carrier was named the “Airline of the Year” on Tuesday. The award has been given out annually for the past 43 years by media company Air Transport World (ATW). It will be presented at a gala dinner in New York on March 28. It has won the award twice before, in 1981 and 1988.

“The creation of the ‘New American’ has been a remarkable journey for employees, customers and investors,” ATW editor-in-chief Karen Walker said in a release announcing the award. “American Airlines has never been in better shape to deliver more to all of its stakeholders and that is because of the leadership skills of American’s executive team and the dedication and hard work of its employees around the world.”

“It was another phenomenal year for American Airlines, and all the credit goes to our team,” said American chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Our 120,000 team members completed several crucial integration milestones, launched 67 new routes, took delivery of 115 new aircraft, and much more – all while running a solid operation and taking great care of our customers. While we still have much to accomplish, we’re incredibly proud of the work these men and women.”

In a letter to employees, Parker said American is setting a new standard for service.

American Airlines named Airline of the Year American Airlines

The two tickets will be upgradeable to First Class, depending on available space. Employees can begin using the tickets this summer through December 2018. These tickets are for confirmed seats. Unlike the ticket benefits that employees currently receive which can be used for stand-by.

Previous recent recipients of Airline of the Year were Etihad Airways in 2016, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines in 2015, and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines in 2014.

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