CAPA Americas Aviation & LCCs Summit

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
25-26 May 2022
08:00-9:00      Registration & Welcome Coffee
Chairperson's Welcome
CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Advisor, Joe Mohan
CAPA State of the Industry
CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Senior Analyst, Lori Ranson [Download Presentation]
Interview with Frontier Airlines 

Frontier Airlines President & CEO Barry Biffle has more than 20 years of aviation industry management experience, including key roles pioneering the ultra LCC model in North and South America. Prior to taking the role leading Frontier, he served as CEO at VivaColombia in 2013 and 2014. He also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Spirit Airlines, following management positions with US Airways and AMR Corp, where he began his airline career. Mr Biffle holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Frontier Airlines is a Denver based ultra low cost carrier, with a network comprising more than 90 domestic and 30 international destinations. Founded in 1994, the carrier was acquired in 2013 by Indigo Partners, a private equity firm specialising in the low cost business model. Indigo also controls Volaris, Wizz Air, JetSmart and has a partnership with newly rebranded and relaunched Lynx Air.

Frontier focuses on its extensive domestic network, linking Denver and key focus cities such as Orlando, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Cleveland and Atlanta with destinations within a three to four hour flight radius. The carrier has a small but concentrated international network, linking US cities with tourism and leisure destinations in countries such as Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Moderator: Korn Ferry, Senior Client Partner, Michael Bell

Speaker:  Frontier Airlines, President & CEO, Barry Biffle       


Working towards an environmentally sustainable future: are goals actually achievable?


Globally, consumers, communities, corporations, and governments are focusing more intently than ever on the need to arrest growth in carbon emissions and ways to transition to a net-zero future.

Following a dramatic 2021 IPCC report, and the 2021 COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, there has been more pressure than ever for industries to demonstrate decarbonisation strategies and outcomes.

The airline industry is a prominent target, despite generating a relatively small 2.5% to 3.5% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions – but it is a conspicuous target.

In 2016 ICAO, supported by IATA, established CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, which was arguably the first industry to target 2050 emission ceilings. Implementation has now been delayed by the dramatically lower level of aviation emissions caused by the pandemic. As its name implies, the strategy combined reducing emissions, as well as offsetting them.

The industry now potentially faces interim 2030 targets as demands intensify to reduce emissions even faster. This will be an extreme challenge, as most of the anticipated technological solutions are not expected to occur until the 2030s and beyond.

In this session we hear from industry experts as they look to the future to determine when, and if, targets can be achieved.

  • What are the milestones that need to be met in the near term to reach those targets? 

  • What are the biggest challenges the industry faces as it works towards meeting those ambitions?

Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Advisor, Joe Mohan

  • American Airlines, Head of ESG, Jill Blickstein
  • Embraer, Head of Sustainability, Commercial Aviation, Henrique Heidemann  
  • Frontier Airlines, President & CEO, Barry Biffle
  • ICCT, Aviation Director,  Dan Rutherford                         
Puerto Rico Welcome
Speaker: Puerto Rico Governor, Pedro Pierluisi
Interview with Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Matthew Klein is an aviation and distribution executive with more than 25 years of experience. He joined Spirit in August 2016 as its Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and has held his current role since December 2019.

Mr Klein oversees Spirit Airlines’ marketing, pricing & revenue management, network planning & scheduling, and commercial & operational analytics. Prior to joining Spirit, he held positions with lastminute.com, Travelocity, AirTran Airways and at US Airways. Mr Klein has also served on the board of the Airlines Reporting Corporation, an air travel intelligence and commerce company.

Spirit Airlines is the leading ULCC in the US, handling more than 30 million passengers per year across the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The carrier’s network covers more than 50 domestic and 30 international destinations, linking the US South and Northeast with key leisure and tourism destinations in focus markets such as Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Jamaica. With major bases in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and a fleet of 177 A320s in service and another 126 aircraft on order, the carrier has both the momentum and opportunity to continue to grow in the US and internationally.

Moderator: Air Transport World, Editor-in-Chief, Karen Walker

Speaker:  Spirit Airlines, EVP & CCO, Matt Klein

Emerging Urban and Regional Air Mobility Market Opportunities

Nikhil Goel co-founded the Uber Elevate urban aerial ridesharing team at Uber in 2015, which was sold to Joby Aviation in 2020. A technology and mobility investor and advisor, he has deep experience in aviation and the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) sector, having also worked with firms including Whisper Aero, Archer Aviation, FLYR Labs, Aero and SkySelect. Mr Goel has also served as a management consultant for travel and consumer technology companies at McKinsey & Company, and he held product roles at YouTube, Xbox, and Microsoft Office before founding two online marketplace startups.

UAM has been described as the new frontier of aviation. Using small vertical take off and landing aircraft powered by the latest electric technologies, it brings the promise of cheap, convenient air travel to millions, if not billions, of new users. The sector has the potential to not only transform mobility within large urban centres, but fundamentally reinvent short-haul aviation.

In the last decade, hundreds of start-up businesses have raised billions of dollars to support their goal of making mobility cheaper, easier and safer. To accomplish this, an entirely new aviation ecosystem is now under development. These companies are now racing with each other to lead the UAM sector and take the lead in an entirely new type of commercial air transport.

Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Advisor, Joe Mohan
Regional Spanshot: the return of travel on the competitive trans- Atlantic

The trans-Atlantic market has been a competitive marketplace, but recovery is still at an early stage.

Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Senior Analyst, Lori Ranson  

  • Delta Air Lines, Director - International and Regulatory Affairs, Humberto Lopez Mata
  • Transat, V.P. Network, Revenue Management and Pricing, Michèle Barre
  • Air Transport World, Editor-in-Chief, Karen Walker

Airline Workshop: Distribution and retailing at the heart of digital transformation

Consumers are at the heart of Digital Transformation and the pandemic has only accelerated the shift to digital retailing and e-commerce, backed by sophisticated IT platforms. And we have seen how effective the non-travel online retailers, like Amazon, have been – and they’ve grown their wallet share substantially.

Moderator: Korn Ferry, Senior Client Partner, Michael Bell

  • Azul, Chief Revenue Officer, Abhi Shah  
  • Current Aviation, CEO, Brad Beakley
  • Sabre | Radixx, VP and General Manager Latin America, Ana Maria Escobar
Innovation Road Show- Flyr Labs

CAPA Elevate is designed to showcase the most influential innovations transforming aviation in the next decade. In this unmissable session key stakeholders from select CAPA partner organisations will deliver overviews of their products or services and explore its real-world applications.

Showcasing innovation has always been at the forefront of CAPA’s event strategy, and it has never been more important than it is in 2022. Expect to hear from a wide variety of interesting speakers who are revolutionaries in their own right.

This is a 10-minute time slot to showcase an innovation and explore how it is set to change the industry.

Speaker: FLYR Labs, VP of Growth, Matt Brown [Download Presentation]
Masterclass: How Airlines Navigate the Winds of Change

Grounded aircraft. Brexit. Global pandemics. Travel bans. Inconsistent testing, quarantines. Bankruptcy. Soaring inflation. War. Airspace restrictions. Trade sanctions. Pilot shortages. Labor strife. Delivery delays. Jet fuel spikes. Climate change. 

Somehow, some way, airlines manage to navigate through this turbulence. How do airlines survive and thrive during such huge disruptions to travel demand and operations costs?

What are the keys to success in airline or aerospace government affairs? Is normalcy around the corner, and what will it look like? In this session, we’ll get insider tips for effective responses to crisis and events that can buffet smooth flying for the industry, with particular focus on the current state of the market  and how the industry can work with governments to:

  • Ensure more rapid, uniform responses from governments in assistance.

  • Advance methods for managing the COVID-19 virus as it evolves from a pandemic state to an endemic phase.

  • Minimize aviation’s impact on the environment.

  • Allow for consolidation and evolving ownership & control structures.

Moderator: Holland & Knight, Partner, Anita Mosner
  • Airports Council International North America, Executive Vice President, Matt Cornelius
  • JetBlue, Head of Government Affairs & Assoc. General Counsel, Robert Land
  • IATA, Regional Vice President The Americas, Peter Cerda

Delving into the ever changing travel experience 

The travel ecosystem has changed for the foreseeable future. How can two of the industry’s largest stakeholders, airports and airlines, work together to create a seamless travel experience with little or no confusion?

Moderator: APEX/IFSA, Executive Director, Lauren Costello

  • Spirit Airlines, EVP & CCO, Matt Klein
  • Dohop, CEO, David Gunnarsson
  • Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Senior Director Marketing & Air Service Development, Victoria Jaramillo
  • Discover Puerto Rico, CEO, Brad Dean
Regional Snapshot: the Latin American landscape - a story of resilience and opportunity

With little direct government support, despite tight travel restrictions, it has been a tough couple of years for the aviation sector across Latin America.

However, the sector has been relatively resilient and is forecast to experience a strong 2022, with limited travel restrictions and dynamic passenger flows within the region and to/from North America.  

This will help traffic levels return to pre-pandemic levels in Central America in 2023 and South America in 2024, according to the latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) projections.

But, getting standardised rules for international travellers amid the coronavirus pandemic remains a biggest hurdle for Latin America’s airlines. 

Governments across the Americas need to “fundamentally change their mindset” and the way that they collaborate with the aviation industry; otherwise the recovery will stall, IATA regional VP for the Americas Peter Cerda has said recently. 

It is clear that the industry will need much smarter collaboration than ever before.

The fear is that governments across the region will default back to old habits. Over-regulation and damaging tax systems may appear effective tools for recovery, but they are counterproductive for airports, airlines and consumers.

Three of Latin America’s major airline groups – LATAM, Aeromexico and Avianca – are emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As they’ve been working to restructure during the past couple of years their low cost rivals have been preparing to bolster competition with those restructured operators.

Will these new dynamics influence the shape of the industry in the region and bring new opportunities for growth?

Moderator: IATA, Regional Vice President The Americas, Peter Cerda
  • Azul, Chief Revenue Officer, Abhi Shah
  • Viva Air, President & CEO, Mr. Felix Antelo
  • Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Executive Director, Carlos Mercado
  • ALTA, Executive Director & CEO, Jose Ricardo Botelho  


Closing Remarks
 18:45- 22:00
Networking Dinner at Museo de San Juan 

Our host, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, is inviting all delegates to a Networking Dinner at the Museum of San Juan. Busses will depart at 6:45pm from the hotel and take you to old San Juan. After the dinner, busses will take you back to the hotel.

The Museum of San Juan is located within the walls of what, for many decades, used to be Old San Juan’s marketplace. in addition to being a bustling centre where one could acquire everything from spices to fresh seafood to artisanal bread, the structure’s open air central plaza served as the perfect location for the city residents to socialize, make business deals and exchange the latest news. The Museum recently reopened its doors and with its two galleries currently hosting the “A Celebration of History” exhibition a chronicle of the 500-years of history of Puerto Rico’s capital.

Join us at this historic venue to enjoy Puerto Rico’s renowned hospitality and rich cultural and historic heritage. During the evening’s event you’ll be able to sample local fare, the world-famous Rums of Puerto Rico, and relax and mingle surrounded by the tropical rhythms of bomba, plena and salsa.

Dress code: Casual Attire

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