The 2006 Business Traveller awards were revealed this week at a star-studded ceremony at the London Hilton Park Lane. Presented by this year's guest of honour astronaut Dr Buzz Aldrin, the awards are recognised throughout the industry as the premier awards for business travel, and span 43 categories from hotels and airlines to car rental and luggage brands.
The biggest winner was once again British Airways, walking away with six awards. Chief executive Willie Walsh collected the awards on behalf of the airline, which included Best First Class, Best Economy Class, Best Short and Long Haul Airline, Best Frequent Flyer Programme and Best Airline overall.
BA didn't have it all its own way though, with Virgin Atlantic scooping the awards for Best Business Class (won by BA in 2005), and Best Premium Economy Class for the fourth year running – chief executive Steve Ridgway was present to collect the airline's awards. Best Low Cost Airline went to Easyjet ahead of Ryanair, Flybe and Air Berlin, while Emirates won Best Middle Eastern Airline and Singapore was voted Best Asian Airline.
Sheraton was voted Best Business Hotel Chain Worldwide, with Hilton picking up the awards for UK and Europe. Marriott received the award for Best Business Hotel Chain in North America, while Jumeirah and Shangri-La came out top in the Middle East and Asia Pacific respectively. Shangri-La also picked up two awards for its property in Singapore, being voted Best Business Hotel in Asia Pacific and Worldwide.
Singapore Changi Airport once again won the award for Best Airport in the World, with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport being voted Best Airport in Europe and New York JFK scooping the award for North America. Singapore Changi also regained its award for Best Airport for Duty Free Shopping, having lost it to Dubai Airport in 2005. Best Airline Alliance went to Star Alliance, with Oneworld in second place, and Sky Team third.
Avis was voted Best Car Rental Company in Europe and Worldwide, both for the third time running, while Hertz walked away with Best Car Rental Company in North America. There were also two new awards this year, with Virgin trains winning Best Domestic Train Service and Samsonite voted Favourite Luggage Brand.
Report by Mark Caswell