By KarryOn @karryontravel25 Jul 2017In less than a year, Virgin Australia lost a major shareholder only to gain a stronger ally. It expanded its international network to the US and China, introduced a new cabin class and started testing inflght wi-fi. All that while planning quirky marketing initiatives, filming a creative new safety video and standing up for women’s safety. The past 12 months have really put Virgin Australia and its employees to the test but the carrier emerged a winner as ‘Best Domestic Airline’. Virgin received the title at Saturday night’s NTIA Awards, beating its biggest rival, Qantas. Stuart Pike, the airline’s General Manager of Corporate and Industry Sales, said winning the award for a second consecutive year was “humbling” and a nod the employees and their “hard work”. Read below for more of what Pike had to say: What does winning this award mean to you and the business? We are delighted to win Best Domestic Airline for the second year running at the AFTA NTIA. Winning this award is truly humbling given it’s voted for by 5,000 industry travel agents and is the premier industry event of the year. It’s also important as it recognises our teams who work with travel agents and our guests every day. It is a big nod to their hard work over the past 12 months and they should all be extremely proud! What was it do you think that helped you win this year? Virgin Australia has a fantastic relationship with travel agents around the world and this year we’ve really focussed on new customer initiatives such as Economy X, Melbourne to LA flights and our inaugural flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong. Our teams who work with the travel agents are the best in the business and it is so important to have open and honest relationships with all of your clients. All teams across our business from the front line to the behind-the-scenes work hard to ensure the industry can rely on us. How do you think the year ahead is looking so far? The year ahead is shaping up to be an exciting one for Virgin Australia as we continue our expansion into Greater China. On the day-to-day front we are committed to delivering the best travel experience in Australian aviation so we will continue to keep our heads down to achieve that goal. We also have a number of other initiatives that we’re keeping up our sleeve for the time being – so watch this space! Do you have any award winning tips you’d like to share to inspire other businesses to greatness? Firstly, you’ve got to be in it to win it! When you’re a customer-facing business like ours it is imperative to put customers first. We are constantly striving to champion better and improve on what we did yesterday and the day before that. Being recognised by winning awards is wonderful and is an important recognition for hard work and dedication, but you should never rest on your laurels – it is important to continue looking to the future and challenging yourself and your business to improve. What do you think about Virgin Australia’s win? Join us in congratulating them on a job well done. Other stories you may like Airline rivalry heats up as United Airlines competes with Qantas on southern US services Qantas adopts the indigenous spirit of Australia in special Dreamliner livery Qantas Business Rewards is making business travel more rewarding.