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20 of the airline industry’s key C-suite leaders, Berlin at CAPA’s World Aviation Summit

The latest decade has been one of relative stability for the aviation industry, but the tide has almost certainly now turned, and it is certainly not for the better. A rise in fuel costs, increased global trade restrictions, political uncertainty and the potential for excess capacity have been among the biggest influencing factors from the past 18 months. But, what can we expect for the year ahead? What are the risks and opportunities in 2019?

CAPA – Centre for Aviation will once again attempt to address those questions with its World Aviation Outlook Summit (27/28-Nov-18, Berlin), which has more than nine hours of agenda content designed to provide a market outlook for 2019 and review the commercial and operational pillars that will drive global airline strategic decision-making. 

CAPA's World Aviation Outlook Summit: industry experts assessing the outlook

The latest decade has been one of relative stability for the aviation industry, but the tide has almost certainly now turned, and it is certainly not for the better. A rise in fuel costs, increased global trade restrictions, political uncertainty and the potential for excess capacity have been among the biggest influencing factors from the past 18 months. But, what can we expect for the year ahead? What are the risks and opportunities in 2019?

CAPA – Centre for Aviation will once again attempt to address those questions with its World Aviation Outlook Summit, which has more than nine hours of agenda content designed to provide a market outlook for 2019 and review the commercial and operational pillars that will drive global airline strategic decision-making.

This year, the CAPA World Aviation Outlook Summit, held in conjunction with the CAPA World Aviation Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, will be hosted in Berlin by Berlin Airports, and will welcome a diverse array of airline leaders. It will take place at the Grand Hyatt Berlin on 27/28-Nov-2018. Berlin, as a city steeped in history, is an ideal location for the summit, with the city and Germany great case studies of the industry’s changing dynamics following the collapse last year of airberlin.

Meet 20 of the airline industry’s key C-suite leaders in Berlin at CAPA’s World Aviation Summit, including:

 

Lufthansa's Carsten Spohr keynote address: Air Travel - Engine of Globalisation

In his first CAPA event appearance, Lufthansa chairman and CEO, Carsten Spohr, will deliver the summit’s airline keynote, focusing on the growth and direction of Europe’s largest airline group. Only recently he stated that the sector “has reached its maximum growth rate” and that aviation has to moderate its expansion plans to ease the pressure of problems with airspace, airports and the delivery of aircraft by manufacturers. His insights in Berlin will prove further evidence on the future strategy of Lufthansa Group.

Ahead of that, to introduce proceedings, industry leaders will combine forces to review in-depth a big picture overview of the global aviation industry and its outlook.

IATA chief economist, Brian Pearce will deliver observations on the global macroeconomic outlook and its implications for airline profitability, while the big manufacturers will also share their thoughts on the development of the industry as Airbus, SVP business analysis & market forecast, Bob Lange and Boeing Commercial Airplanes, director, market forecasting, Wendy Sowers provide insight into their 20 year outlooks. In a meeting of the minds session with the presenters, CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison will delve below the headline data from the three sessions to bring some additional context to their presentations.

Brexit, Europe and the North Atlantic: what now?

As the UK government struggles to come to grips with the decision to exit the EU, it's hard to review aviation's outlook without addressing Brexit's likely impact on the airline industry. The opening morning on 27-Nov-2018 will highlight what has become one of the biggest talking points in European aviation… Brexit. The UK’s exit from the EU is fast approaching - yet uncertainty remains, especially in relation to the UK’s position within the single aviation market and the potential need for a new bilateral air service agreement with the rest of the bloc in order to ensure traffic rights for its airlines.

In The outlook for UK-Europe, the trans-Atlantic and open skies: How are airlines preparing for the post-Brexit world?, a session moderated by John Byerly, responsible for many of the world's liberal air service agreements, ALPA, regulatory counsel & senior attorney, David Semanchik; former Ryanair and Etihad general counsel's Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting, aviation consultant, Jim Callaghan; ERA, director general, Montserrat Barriga; European Commission, director for aviation, Filip Cornelis; and Whitaker Air Space, principal, Michael Whitaker; will attempt to unravel the truth behind what’s in store from Mar-2019.

What issues are involved in the UK renegotiation and what are the positions of the protagonists? Are the region’s airlines at risk of operating under more restrictive norms? Will unions intervene to wind back the provisions of the North Atlantic? And could Brexit actually provide a catalyst to reform the entire bilateral system that underpins aviation governance? These are all questions that the session will attempt to answer.

Where to, German aviation?

The morning session will conclude with a focus on the summit’s home market, but not until Berlin Brandenburg Airport, CEO, Engelbert Luetke Daldrup has delivered a keynote address. Berlin may be Germany’s capital city, but in aviation terms it is in the shadows of Frankfurt and Munich, where Lufthansa has its hub operations.

The much delayed Brandenburg Airport project hasn’t helped, but it is set to finally open in Oct-2020 and could provide the platform for development.

In the subsequent panel session, entitled The German market outlook: the more things change, the more they stay the same?, AIRBORNE Consulting, managing partner, Gerald Wissel and his panellists, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, CEO, Engelbert Luetke Daldrup; DLR, German Aerospace Center, director DLR institute of air transport and airport research, Johannes Reichmuth; Germania, managing director, Johannes Klinsman and SunExpress, chief commercial officer, Peter Glade; will look at life in Germany one year on from the collapse of airberlin. In particular they will look at how the likes of Lufthansa, Eurowings, easyJet and Ryanair have filled that void, but also the role of Germany’s four other indigenous airlines, who are quietly embarking on expansion plans of their own, their collective growth outpacing that of their larger competitors.

Will LCCs continue to drive growth in the local market? How are Germany’s other airlines set to grow their share of the market and what role will these operators play in the medium term? Can airports in Europe survive without network carriers as anchor tenants? Are all notable questions to be answered, as is the sustainability of the self-hubbing strategy that is becoming more prevalent across Europe. Is this a viable trend are modern travellers actually ready to build their own LCC to LCC connections?

Emerging market growth: a look at the fast expanding regions and their drivers

The afternoon of 27-Nov-2018 will start with a look at other developing global markets. In ‘Emerging markets outlook: What’s driving growth in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa?’ leaders of carriers from the high growth, high potential markets within Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East will share their current commercial and operating challenges and the future outlook for the regions’ aviation industry.

What are the implications of rising oil prices and growing trade protectionism for global airlines? How are incumbent carriers adapting their strategies and business models to compete against new entrant competitors? What is the current state of play of JVs and alliances and how effective is it as a mechanism for bolstering network coverage? How to reconcile the aim of open skies with creating a market for a national airline and does every country actually need a state owned/national carrier?

These are some of the agenda questions the panellists will attempt to answer. These will include AAPA, director general, Andrew Herdman; airBaltic, chairman of the board & CEO, Martin Gauss; Gulf Air, CEO, Krešimir Kučko and LOT Polish Airlines, CEO, Rafał Milczarski.

Optimising revenue as pricing conditions change

In a world of digital transformation, it is a firm belief that airlines are now in a great position to differentiate themselves by becoming world-class retailers. Creativity is key in the ability to capture revenue and increase their audience. Fortunately, emerging technologies pave the way for untapped opportunities, leading to new levels of profitable growth while positively impacting customer experience. Christophe Viatte, director of Sabre Airline Solutions, will deliver a keynote address on the viewpoint that dynamic pricing is the key to an intelligent retailing philosophy.

Low fuel prices and new competition have forced airlines to pass on savings directly to consumers, which has led to a surge in supply driven traffic growth as price sensitive travellers take advantage of low fares. But rising oil prices bring into question the sustainability of continued fare decreases, and could temper demand from leisure markets. In the session The commercial outlook: What revenue optimisation strategies are airlines pursuing in an increasingly price sensitive global market?, senior airline and technology experts will look at the options open to airlines. Simply, as they adjust to the new operating conditions, they can opt to maintain growth, at the expense of profits, increase fares and dull demand, undertake non fuel cost cutting initiatives or seek alternative revenue optimisation strategies. But what are the benefits and pitfalls of each path? Finnair’s, outgoing chief commercial officer, Juha Jarvinen; Amadeus, head of revenue generation consulting, Michael Kanacher; LEVEL, CEO, Vincent Hodder; Sabre Airline Solutions, director, Christophe Viatte; Volantio, CEO, Azim Barodawala and WOW air, CEO, Skuli Mogensen will share their own observations.

Selling tickets. Distribution is transforming the industry - but how?

Legacy distribution systems have for decades presented airlines with the twin problems of high costs and product commoditisation. In efforts to address these issues, a handful of carriers have invested heavily into establishing their own API channels with agents, while the concurrent push by IATA for airlines to implement the NDC standard has encouraged the industry to adopt a retail focused approach to distribution.

After a keynote from Travelport, global head of new distribution, Ian Heywood, on the journey to NDC a special distribution outlook session, Dawn of a new era? How will airline distribution models evolve as the NDC standard and direct connect channels become commonplace?, will explore this new modernised distribution landscape, which itself is reflective of wider consumer expectations and personalisation.

How does airline.com compete in the era of conversational converse and new mobile, bot and voice technologies? Is this increasingly fragmented and complex commercial and technological distribution landscape sustainable and how will business models evolve in response?

PASS Consulting Corporation, CEO, Michael Strauss; Caravelo, chief commercial officer, Jonathan Newman; Lufthansa, head of distribution & revenue management strategy & business intelligence, Christian Popp; Finnair, chief commercial officer (soon to be Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer), Juha Jarvinen; and Travelport, global head of air, Damian Hickey will attempt to answer those questions.

And what is Blockchain anyway?

Among the paths to new generation airline systems is blockchain, something that has undoubtedly been brought up as an agenda item in plenty of airline boardroom meetings over the past year. However, the lack of real world applications in the aviation industry to date has made it hard for CEOs to understand how the technology is supposed to be used in their business. In fact recent research shows executives are dropping blockchain buzzwords less on earnings calls and during presentations to analysts and investors. Analysts are also asking about it less.

In the final session on 27-Nov-2018, Demystifying blockchain technology and its potential in aviation, Winding Tree, head of strategy & partnerships, Dave Montali, will unpack the value of blockchain technology by providing examples of real and potential uses cases within the aviation sector. For airlines, blockchain enables data to be shared in a more enhanced, risk free manner and promises to reduce complexity, cut costs and improve the traveller experience.

It can also be deployed in a wide array of areas within the business from distribution to loyalty to operations and maintenance. Lufthansa calls blockchain a “computer without hardware” - a gigantic decentralised database duplicated on multiple computers that allows information to be distributed securely without being copied, manipulated or hacked.

DAY 2

Keynote from Wizz Air's Jozsef Varadi

Day two of the Summit on 28-Nov-2018 opens with a keynote address from Jozsef Varadi, CEO of Wizz Air. Since co-founding Wizz Air back in 2003, Mr Varadi has spearheaded the airline's growth into the largest operator in its focus market of Central and Eastern Europe. Over the decade to FY2018, Wizz Air's fleet increased from 18 to 93 aircraft and its passenger numbers grew at an average of 21% per annum, while its load factor rose from the low 80%s to more than 91%.

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. He will provide some insights into the journey and a growth that will see Wizz Air has transform its fleet from A320ceo domination to one that is dominated by A321neos in a search of even lower unit costs.

The airline in a digital economy. Trying to keep up with millennials

The digital economy has transformed consumer expectations around the way they research, purchase and experience the airline product. As a result airlines need to work hard to differentiate their product offering and deliver a personalised and seamless experience for customers throughout the entire travel process. In a digital outlook session to start the day’s panel discussions, entitled True, fast and profitable innovation - Speeding up the transformation of the industry, will look at how airlines are now looking at themselves more as digital companies rather than just transportation companies enabling passengers to get from A to B.

There is now a greater inclination for experimentation, and many airlines (and other sectors) leaning on creative technology start ups to find solutions for their technology, operations and customer service problems.

Made by Many, founder, William Owen; Bluebox Aviation Systems, CEO, Kevin Clark; CellPoint Mobile, CEO, Kristian Gjerding; Lufthansa Group, vice president, Christian Langer; and Skyscanner, senior director, strategic partnerships, Hugh Aitken; will discuss how this is creating interfaces between large aviation organisations and the growing global travel technology scene. Skyscanner’s Hugh Aitken will also present his thoughts on what airlines need to do in the continually evolving mobile travel marketplace.

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Perhaps the biggest challenge for the future: environmental sustainability

We can’t look forward without doing what we can to preserve the past. The aviation industry has been proactive in implementing environmentally sound practices. Global governing bodies such as ICAO and IATA, as well as individual member companies have made pledges of varying degrees to promote environmental sustainability. But, we are increasingly seeing of the effects of over-tourism, a major side effect of the rapid growth of air travel and sustainability has become an essential part of the evolution process.

An environmental outlook session, Aviation growth and environmental sustainability. Are the two goals mutually exclusive?, will look at how the industry is working to safeguard the environment, from today’s new generation fuel-efficient to tomorrow’s electric aeroplanes; the scaling of alternative sustainable aviation fuels and air traffic system modernisation.

Meanwhile, the industry's carbon offsetting scheme, CORSIA is set to come online in 2019. But are airlines ready for CORSIA? Is the industry’s carbon offsetting scheme compromised by its lack of universal application? How can government support the growth of and encourage investment into SAF? When will alternative fuels become commercially viable? Moderator Michael Gill, executive director, ATAG will question Avinor Oslo Airport, CEO, Øyvind Hasaas; DLR, German Aerospace Center, head of department cloud physics, Christiane Voigt; EUROCONTROL, head of environment, Andrew Watt and Finnair, director of corporate sustainability, Kati Ihamäki to learn their views.

The Great Debate. Can aviation unions be a force for good?

Day 2 of a packed agenda concludes with CAPA’s ‘The Great Debate’. In Berlin this will address the question Can aviation unions be a force for good? Looking at the European market, all the continent’s major carriers have overhauled their cost structures in the last decade or so in the face of liberalisation, the rise of LCCs and increasing competition. Each wave of change has been met with inevitable resistance from traditional labour forces, who have had a comparatively disproportionate impact on the aviation sector compared with other industries, in the process stymieing management restructuring efforts (and massively disrupting everyday operations) for the sake of workers’ rights.

ALPA, regulatory counsel & senior attorney, David Semanchik; CityJet, CEO, Pat Byrne and Vereinigung Cockpit director international affairs, Robert Spuerk will be among those taking sides in the discussion, while Aviation Strategy & Concepts, managing director, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus keeps order.

Current Market Outlook: A meeting of the minds

The outlook for UK-Europe, the trans-Atlantic and open skies: How are airlines preparing for the post-Brexit world? 

Digital outlook: True, fast and profitable innovation - Speeding up the transformation of the industry

Environmental outlook: Aviation growth and environmental sustainability. Are the two goals mutually exclusive?

Distribution outlook: Dawn of a new era? How will airline distribution models evolve as the NDC standard and direct connect channels become commonplace?

The German market outlook: the more things change, the more they stay the same?

To hear more on the global aviation outlook for 2019, join us in Berlin (27/28-Nov-18), at the CAPA World Aviation Outlook Summit. More information here.

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