CAPA Airline CEOs in Sydney

Sydney, Australia
5-6 Jun 2018

‘Meeting of the minds’ with CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison Qatar Airways, Group CEO, H.E. Akbar Al Baker IAG, CEO, Willie Walsh

Airline CEO Q&A with CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman Peter Harbison Virgin Australia, Group Executive, Rob Sharp

Airline CEO Q&A with CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison Cathay Pacific, CEO, Rupert Hogg

Avianca Brazil chairman Jose Efromovich discusses the initial performance and upcoming growth of the airline’s international operation. Avianca Brazil launched flights to Miami, New York and Santiago in 2017 using a new fleet of four A330s. It plans to add a second daily flight to Miami and a third daily flight to Santiago in 2H2018 as two more A330s are delivered. Avianca Brazil also plans to continue rapid domestic growth with a focus on adding frequencies on existing routes. It has been the fastest growing airline in Brazil the last several years and plans domestic capacity growth of approximately another 20% in 2018.

Lithium Technologies GM Asia Pacific Andrew Sandes, explores how social media channels introduce new challenges for airlines. These include: extreme customer expectations; unpredictable and high volumes and noise during one off and crisis events and; a high risk/reward ratio for customer management. Mr Sandes discusses how crises can produce volume surges in social media postings, and how Lithium can assist with dealing with this.

Kenya Airways, Group MD & CEO, Sebastian Mikosz

Embraer, CEO, John Slattery

LOT Polish Airlines, President & CEO, Rafał Milczarski

airBaltic, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Martin Gauss

Virgin Australia Airlines group executive Rob Sharp, speaking at CAPA Airline CEOs in Sydney, stated (06-Jun-2018) the end of its partnership with Air New Zealand, and the announcement of a new Air New Zealand/Qantas codeshare agreement, means the carrier will be the “challenger brand” in the country. Mr Sharp said Virgin Australia will undergo a “network shake up” in New Zealand, including adding two new routes. He added there will be a “headline increase in capacity” building on its existing share of the market and the Virgin Australia brand presence in New Zealand will “certainly rise with this change”.

Avianca Holdings and Synergy Group chairman German Efromovich discusses the performance so far and the expansion plans for Avianca Argentina. Avianca Argentina commenced operations in 2017 and is part of Synergy Group, the parent company for Avianca Brazil and the larger shareholder of Colombia-based Avianca Holdings. Avianca Argentina currently operates two ATR 72-600 turboprops to five domestic destinations. Mr Efromovich said the airline is about to add four more ATR 72-600s which will be used to expand in Argentina’s regional domestic market. He also revealed airline’s first two A320s are expected to be delivered by August and be used to launch international services from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo. Avianca Argentina plans to end 2018 with three A320s along with seven ATR 72-600s. Mr Efromovich said Avianca Argentina plan to add another seven A320s in 2019. Avianca Argentina will operate two class A320s on international routes, with a small business class cabin, and single class A320s on domestic trunk routes.

Politics, regulation, security, environment, new competition, disruption in distribution, costs and revenues…. No-one ever said the airline business was easy. And it doesn’t get any easier. It’s often hard to know which issues to prioritise. But the job of a CEO is to do just that. They can’t all be top priority, so which ones to deal with and when – while trying to make money. We ask the industry’s leaders how they address this complex challenge.


  • Avianca, CEO, Hernán Rincón
  • IAG, CEO, Willie Walsh
  • LOT Polish Airlines, President & CEO, Rafał Milczarski
  • WTTC, President & CEO, Gloria Guevara

China’s One Belt One Road strategy essentially follows in concept the old Silk Road, a trading route linking East Asia with Europe and other regions along the way. As trading links are re-established and expanded, the One Belt seeks to accelerate and enhance the natural trend.China is helping fund much of the infrastructural development of the new “road”, either directly or through loans, and the geographic scope of the road extends southwards into the Middle East and Africa.There is a natural presumption that enhancing trade routes will be accompanied by a liberal access market regime.The strategy has not attracted a great deal of attention in aviation terms, but it would seem likely that market access principles will filter down into the aviation sector. This panel takes a high level look at current and future potential impacts for airlines, Chinese and non-Chinese.

  • What are the implications for airlines of China’s Belt and Road plan?
  • How will China’s Belt and Road strategy affect the aviation market – in both short and long term?
  • What is in the next Five Year Plan for Belt and Road?
  • Are China’s airlines adapting their strategies to align with the “road”?

Moderator: AAPA, Director General, Andrew Herdman

  • Agri-nomics Australia, Director, Barry Parsons
  • Cathay Pacific, CEO, Rupert Hogg
  • LOT Polish Airlines, President & CEO, Rafał Milczarski
  • SriLankan Airlines, CEO, Suren Ratwatte

Like their peers elsewhere, carriers in the Middle East face ongoing challenges to their business models. Competition from ambitious new entrants such as the Chinese carriers are threatening the big three Gulf carriers’ position as the chief global superconnectors, who are themselves slowing down as they recalibrate their market positioning. The region’s airlines also have to contend with challenges unique to the Middle East, such as declining oil revenues, regional conflict and overcrowded airspace. We ask Middle Eastern airline CEOs how they are navigating through the current commercial and operating challenges and the future outlook for the region’s aviation industry.

  • How do the region’s smaller carriers differentiate and compete against the big three Gulf carriers?
  • Do Middle Eastern airports and air navigation service providers have the capacity to accommodate the growth ambitions of the region’s carriers?
  • What lessons can be learnt from airport privatisation here and abroad?
  • Finding the right service proposition for domestic and long haul – traditional full service or unbundled?
  • What strategies need to be adopted to meet the distributions unique distribution challenges eg around late bookings?
  • How to reconcile the aim of open skies with creating a market for a national airline?

Moderator: CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison

  • AACO, Secretary General, Abdul Wahab Teffaha
  • Gulf Air, CEO, Krešimir Kučko