The Airtraq® Laryngoscope is a novel intubation device which allows visualisation of the vocal cords without alignment of the oral, pharyngeal and tracheal axes. We compared the Airtraq® with the Macintosh laryngoscope in simulated easy and difficult laryngoscopy. Twenty-five anaesthetists were allowed up to three attempts to intubate the trachea in each of three laryngoscopy scenarios using a Laerdal® Intubation Trainer followed by five scenarios using a Laerdal SimMan® Manikin. Each anaesthetist then performed tracheal intubation of the normal airway a second time to characterise the learning curve. In the simulated easy laryngoscopy scenarios, there was no difference between the Airtraq® and the Macintosh in success of tracheal intubation. The time taken to intubate at the end of the protocol was significantly lower using the Airtraq® (9.5 (6.7) vs. 14.2 (7.4) s), demonstrating a rapid acquisition of skills. In the simulated difficult laryngoscopy scenarios, the Airtraq® was more successful in achieving tracheal intubation, required less time to intubate successfully, caused less dental trauma, and was considered by the anaesthetists to be easier to use.