CAPA Americas Aviation & LCCs Summit

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
25-26 May 2022
08:00-9:00        Registration & Welcome Coffee
Chairperson's Welcome
Speaker: CAPA - Centre for Aviation,  Global Content & Marketing Director, Marco Navarria
Interview with Viva Air Group President & CEO

Viva Air Group President and CEO Felix Antelo has more than 20 years experience in the aviation industry, working across Latin America. He joined the carrier in 2018, having previously served as CEO of LATAM Airlines Peru from 2014 to 2018. In addition, he has held a variety of positions at LAN/LATAM Group, including as Commercial Director in Ecuador; Sales Director and Commercial Director in Argentina and Commercial Vice President in Chile and in Brazil. Mr Antelo is also Business Administrator of the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Argentina and was the Director of AMCHAM Peru (American Chamber of Commerce of Peru).

Viva Air is one of the leading ultra low cost carriers in Latin America. Founded by LCC development pioneer Irelandia Aviation and launched in 2012, the carrier has expanded across Latin America and launched its own subsidiary, Viva Air Peru, in 2016. From its bases in Medellin and Bogota, the carrier’s network covers 18 domestic and five international destinations. With 23 A320neo aircraft due to be added to its fleet by the end of 2024, Viva Air plans to expand rapidly throughout Latin America in the next few years.

Moderator: IATA, Regional Vice President The Americas, Peter Cerda
Speaker: Viva Air,  President & CEO, Mr. Felix Antelo
09:35 - 10:20
With an unprecedented crisis come unprecedented opportunities: meet the new entrants

With an unprecedented crisis come unprecedented opportunities. It may sound counter-intuitive that at a time when an industry has contracted considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, strong consideration should be given to starting up a new business. But in fact there is evidence that it could actually be the perfect opportunity to turn a start-up idea into a reality. 

There’s nothing like an actual crisis to uncover new pains and needs, or amplify an existing problem, or add a huge breadth of available talent, providing access to potential funding and cheap assets. And then the fact that any new business would be lean and minimise expenditure, preserve cash, and avoid corporate debt and you have a positive pathway to success.  

In the aviation industry new airlines will cause more pain for incumbents.

As incumbent airlines of whatever colour are weighed down by debt and high costs, conditions are perfect for new entry: money is cheap, there is a glut of skills, and of cheap aircraft. Even airport slots are opening up.

The time is as right as it has ever been – but at a time when the incumbents can least afford it.

Since the coronavirus pandemic struck in early-2020 no less than 80 new airlines have prepared, or are in the throes of preparing, to operate. These new entrants will be fundamentally low cost and mostly narrowbody, supporting the latest trends in the industry. 

While most of them are relatively small, many are well funded and more than sufficient to disrupt existing markets.

The questions remain:

  • What opportunities exist across North America and the Caribbean for potential new entrants?

  • How are some of the new arrivals performing and what progress are others making in reaching their goals to launch?

  • How do their prospects look as demand begins to rebuild? 

Moderator: Arthur D. Little, Principal,  Sabine Reim
  • Arajet, Executive Officer & Founder, Victor Pacheco
  • Flair Airlines, President & CEO, Stephen Jones
  • Global Crossing Airlines, Chairman and CEO, Ed Wegel
  • Northern Pacific Airways/Flycoin, President & Co-Founder, Tom Hsieh 
11:00 - 11:45
Changing traveller patterns remain a challenge for evolving airline network planning strategies

Airlines are redefining their criteria to selected routes and they expect new support mechanisms from airports and service providers. Whether full service or LCC, focused on domestic or international, airlines across all business models have pivoted part of their networks during the pandemic as travel patterns have shifted.  

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that airlines have been “redefining their criteria to select routes and they expect new support mechanisms from airports and service providers” as they seek new network opportunities.

But will this be a permanent change? 

Airlines have been creative with their network planning, launching new routes and chasing the existing demand, but whether these routes will remain part of their networks as the recovery process is yet to be seen.

  • What shifts are under way in the way that operators approach network planning in the near to medium term?

  • How will the slower recovery in business travel impact flight frequency as question marks remain over the scale of recovery in this area?

  • Will the strength of hubs be diluted by travellers seeking more point-to-point options?

  • Will changing fleet structures influence future network strategies?

  • Will sustainability become an increasing factor in the route selection criteria?

Moderator: ASM Global Route Development, Managing Director, Mr. Dave Stroud
  • Embraer, Airline Strategy Director, Americas, Mr. Vagner Ricardo
  • Swoop, Head of Commercial & Finance, Bert Van Der Stege
  • Virgin Atlantic, VP Networks, Alliances and Commercial Planning, Rikke Christensen
11:50 - 12:30
Regional Snapshot: leisure-focused Caribbean reliant on arrivals and visitor spend

Avoiding reintroducing restrictive air travel measures that would jeopardise the recovery of the aviation and tourism industry will enable the Caribbean to maintain its recovery path.

The region is among the most tourism-dependent in the world, and that means it was particularly hit hard in 2020. However, it also recovered much faster than expected, although it is not expected to exceed 2019 traffic levels until 2025, according to IATA forecasts. 

The Caribbean Tourism Hotel Association projected that travel and tourism’s contribution to gross domestic product would rise by almost half in 2021. Advance bookings of hotel stays and airline ticketing for 2022 also indicate a potential recovery to more than 70% of 2019 levels. 

The Caribbean’s strong leisure focus will support an important influx of visitors in the short term, stimulating economic activity as tourists spend money on restaurants, hotels, retailers, tour operators, and on other consumer goods and services. 

Islands across the region are investing in infrastructure and new resorts, hoping that their popularity as pandemic escapes can translate into returning visitors.

Some have already seen annual arrivals exceed the levels in 2019, with many travellers, particularly those from the United States, drawn to the Caribbean as a pandemic holiday spot for its proximity and relatively good record in curtailing COVID-19.

This focus means there is expected to be a continued high level of capacity deployed into the Caribbean from North and South America as well as Europe, These are all markets that are also enjoying an increasing freedom from restrictions and experiencing a strong return in demand.

A concern is that this could ultimately result in an oversupply, which will only damage the industry in the longer term.

  • Will a potential oversupply put increasing pressure on the industry?

  • Is there a need for Caribbean countries to come together and create some uniform regional travel guidelines? 

Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Senior Analyst, Lori Ranson
  • Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Director of Tourism, Rosa Viola Harris
  • Silver Airways, CEO, Steve Rossum
  • Route Developers, Senior Consultant, Juan Nadal
  • Caribbean Airlines, Acting CCO, Herbert Ghent
  • ALTA, Executive Director & CEO, Jose Ricardo Botelho
12:30 - 12:50
A Showcase of Puerto Rico's Airports Capital Improvement Projects

Presentation by Puerto Rico Ports Authority

Speaker: Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Executive Director, Joel Piza [ Download Presentation]

12:50 -13:00
Chairperson's wrap up