Qantas has been named airline of the year at the CAPA Centre for Aviation awards.
CAPA, an international aviation consultancy, said the award was for the airline that had been the biggest standout strategically during the year, had the greatest impact on the development of the airline industry and provided a benchmark for others to follow.
"Qantas has had yet another remarkable year, posting a record profit for financial year 2018 and for the first time connecting the antipodes non-stop by launching non stop flights from Perth to London," CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison said from the awards ceremony in Berlin.
In March, Qantas launched a non-stop service from Perth to London, marking the first ever non stop link between Australia and Europe. It is the third longest non stop service in the world.
Qantas has also used its new Boeing 787 fleet to launch flights from Melbourne to San Francisco and replace 747-400s on several existing long haul flights, driving efficiency improvements and frequency increases.
Meanwhile, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has pushed Airbus and Boeing this year to develop a new ultra-long range widebody aircraft capable of operating non stop flights from Sydney to London with a full payload of 300 passengers across four classes.
"Linking Australia and the UK non stop is a major milestone for aviation in Australia and globally. Qantas is now pushing the envelope even further with preparations for non stop services from Sydney to London, what it correctly claims will be the 'holy grail' of flights."
The Qantas Group had turned in operating profits of at least US$1 billion ($1.47b) in its last three fiscal years while generating revenue of US$12b to $13b, with return on invested capital well in excess of its target of 15 per cent, the CAPA citation said.
Qantas this year entered into a domestic code share deal with Air New Zealand.
CAPA was established in 1990 and has a network of aviation researchers and analysts located across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
Its aviation executive of the year is Jozsef Varadi, who co-founded Hungarian airline Wizz Air.
He was selected for growing Wizz into the largest airline in Central and Eastern Europe. Varadi co-founded the airline in 2003 and the airline now carries over 34 million passengers a year with a fleet of 105 aircraft.
Wizz won the CAPA low cost airline of the year in 2016.
It has since grown, profitably, by nearly another 50 per cent, recording passenger growth of 24 per cent in 2017 and 20 per cent through the first 11 months of 2018.
The airline has managed this growth, while also developing a consistent track record as Europe's second most profitable airline company by operating margin over the past four years.
"Jozsef Varadi has shown remarkable courage and vision in building a profitable low cost airline in a market historically associated with state owned, bureaucratically run, loss-making flag carriers," Harbison said.
WOW air from Iceland was awarded low cost airline of the year for pioneering the long haul low cost connecting model, using its Reykjavik hub to offer one-stop services between Europe and North America.
WOW started operations in 2012 and has grown its seat capacity at an average of 28 per cent during the past five years.
Icelandair earlier this month announced that it had agreed to take over privately owned WOW in an all share purchase to create a bigger Icelandic competitive force on the North Atlantic.
"It is a mark of WOW air's success that its biggest and closest competitor's only response is to buy it," Harbison said.
Europe's CityJet was awarded regional airline of the year and Air Malta the turnaround airline of the year.
Orlando International Airport was awarded large airport of the year for those airports handling more than 30 million passengers.
It was selected for its creative adoption of new technology and rapid growth.
Passenger numbers reached nearly 45 million in 2017 compared to less than 35 million in 2010 and Orlando should reach the 50 million milestone in 2019.
Avinor Oslo Airport was awarded medium airport of the year (over 10 million passengers a year) for environmental initiatives and the opening of a second terminal.
Oslo traffic has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2010, when it handled only 19 million passengers. It is on pace to handle around 29 million passengers in 2018, making it the second biggest airport in the Nordic region despite Norway having the smallest population apart from Iceland.