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Not many have avoided noticing the mark Norwegian Air Shuttle – Norwegian for short – CEO, founder and majority owner Bjørn Kjos has left on Norway’s aviation, travel and hospitality industry in the years following the airline’s launch 26 years ago, in a marketplace characterized by far more expensive flight fares. His importance for the industry is almost unrivaled, making international headlines for aviation “made in Norway”. It should come as no surprises, then, that HSMAI decided to make some fuss, granting him the Special Award during the Norway HSMAI Awards in Oslo Tuesday night.

Close to 500 professionals representing the travel, hospitality and event industry, as well as clients, attend the award ceremony tonight, celebrating individuals and companies excelling within Norwegian hospitality, with awards for events and marketing, as well as to the Young hotelier of the year, the Hotelier of the year and the Young leader of the year.

In addition to these annual awards HSMAI sometimes rewards people who have left a particular mark, and Bjørn Kjos has indeed done so, to such a degree that it simply cannot go unnoticed, on a global scale.

An international giant

Today Norwegian is considered a global force to rely on, granted the following awards, during this last year alone: named the most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes by The International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT); World’s Best Low-Cost, Long Haul Airline, Skytrax World Airline Awards; Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline, Skytrax World Airline Awards; The Ambassador’s Award; Most Innovative Company in Norway, Innovasjonsmagasinet; Best Overall Passenger Experience Low Cost Carrier in Europe, Passenger Choice Awards; Four-star rating, Passenger Choice Awards; Best WiFi in Europe, Passenger Choice Awards; Four-star rating, Skytrax World Airline Awards; Airline Program of the Year, Europe & Africa, Freddie Awards; Best Campaign in Europe/Africa, Freddie Awards.

Mr. Kjos himself has been the focal point of much attention, not least when the U.S. ambassador to Norway rewarded him The Ambassador’s Award for his efforts to strengthen Norwegian-American relations, while securing the airline’s foothold in country after country, all over the world.

An ambassador for Norway

Speaking of ambassadors, Norway couldn’t possibly dream of a better one than Mr. Kjos, promoting Norwegian aviation, innovation, service, entrepreneurship and sustainability in aviation. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that he is now given the HSMAI Special Award, to standing ovations in Oslo tonight.

HSMAI salutes him in awe!

The jury says:

Bjørn Kjos has left an international mark as an ambassador for Norwegian aviation, innovation, service, entrepreneurship and aviation sustainability. For 26 years he has been working with relentless determination, to build a low-cost airline, brick by brick, until it has grown to the international giant it is today, placing Norway in the international aviation hall of fame, as it were. Norwegians abroad can take a glance at a random runway, in an almost 100 percent certainty that he or she will be able to point out an aircraft from back home, thanks to Mr. Norwegian himself. Bjørn Kjos.

In addition to making the world more accessible for Norwegians, Norwegian Air Shuttle has made a substantial contribution to opening Norway for the international audience. Under his management the airline has collected awards world-wide, at a pace likely to take the breath away from even the most blasé. Bjørn Kjos himself was rewarded The Ambassador’s Award by the U.S. ambassador to Norway, for his efforts to strengthen Norwegian-American relations, while securing the airline’s foothold in country after country, all over the world. With a background as a fighter pilot and lawyer, Mr. Kjos is the very definition of a self-made man, widely known for his warm laughter and a smile in store. HSMAI Region Europe awarded him an award already in 2011, for the exceptional development of Norwegian Air Shuttle. If there is such a thing as a deserving recipient of HSMAI’s Special Award, that person would be Mr. Bjørn Kjos.

HSMAI offers its heartfelt congratulations!

Photograph: Chairman of HSMAI Norway Morten Torp, Norwegian’s CEO and founder Bjørn Kjos and HSMAI Region Europe President and CEO Ingunn Hofseth in Oslo, Tuesday the 8th of January 2019. Photographer: Camilla Bergan.

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