Cathay Pacific named best airline by Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport has celebrated the performance of airlines and operators who use their airport at an awards event in Auckland tonight.

The airport said each of the organisations represented play a huge role in New Zealand's tourism industry - but the coveted title of Airline of the Year went to Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific.

The airline has invested in its services to New Zealand over the past two years, including flying the ultra-modern Airbus A350 direct to New Zealand from Hong Kong.

The hall of fame inductees were Cheryl Coldicutt from Air New Zealand, and Peter Lewis from NZ Customs.

The gold star for best on time performance on short haul flights - which includes domestic, Pacific Island and Trans-Tasman flights - went to Air New Zealand. The airline will be expanding its short-haul fleet over the next two years.

The best on-time performance for long haul flights - which is those longer than six hours - went to Qatar, who operate one of the world's longest flights between Auckland and Doha.

There was also recognition for the Civil Aviation Authority - which received an accolade for safety leadership - and SkyBus, which won service provider of the year after it recently launched regular bus services from the North Shore to Auckland Airport.

"The services provided by our airlines and operations partners help to ensure that our travelling guests have a great experience at Auckland Airport," the awards organisers said.

"For more than 70 percent of all international visitors to New Zealand, they play a vital role in visitors' first or last impressions of our country."

Anna Cassels-Brown, Auckland Airport's general manager of operations, says Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways stood out this year because of its commitment to giving customers varied choices on the ground.

Its experience in the air was also thought to be at a high standard by the airport team. It was also praised for introducing new self-check-in kiosks, and launching A350-900 aircraft on the Hong Kong route.

Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and other operators celebrated at the awards have been approached for comment.