CAPA Americas Aviation & LCCs Summit

Ontario, United States of America
26-27 Apr 2023

Day 1 – Wednesday 26 April 2023



1 hour

Registration, Networking & Coffee



5 mins

Chairperson’s Welcome



10 mins

Host Welcome


Ontario International Airport, CEO, Atif Elkadi



15 mins

CAPA Outlook: State of the Industry {Download Presentation}


CAPA, Senior Analyst Americas, Lori Ranson



30 mins

Airline Leader Briefing with Indigo Partners, Managing Partner, Bill Franke


Indigo Partners, Managing Partner, Bill Franke

CNN, Anchor & Correspondent, Richard Quest



45 mins

CAPA Think Tank: North America Market Overview

CAPA will host a selection of North American aviation leaders in a roundtable discussion covering some of the most important topics to the air transport industry. Join these high-profile speakers as they offer their insights into the state of airlines and airports in the region, the outlook for market consolidation, the changing nature of passenger expectations and the onboard experience, progress on industry financial recovery and more.

Key themes to be discussed during this Think Tank include but not limited to:

  • Consolidation: US lawmakers and regulators have recently spoken out against the consolidation of the US airline market. Five airlines now control more than 80% of domestic seats and nearly 50% of international seats. Given the concentration in the market, will there be more regulatory opposition to future attempts at mergers and consolidation?
  • Share buyback: US airlines are projected to make around USD9 billion in profits in 2023. In the previous decades, US airlines spent much of their available cash on share buybacks. These have attracted significant negative attention from consumers, unions and lawmakers in recent years. Is there an expectation that share buybacks will resume or are airlines going to take a more circumspect approach?
  • Workforce: Airlines have invested heavily in their workforces in the last 12 months, expanding employment above pre-pandemic levels in order to avoid a repeat of recent operational issues. Yet, employee and skills shortages remain an issue. What are the key bottlenecks for staffing in the sector and how do airlines ensure that these don’t ripple out into yet more operational issues?
  • Unions: Airlines remain one of the most unionized industries in the US, and the end of the pandemic has also brought with it an uptick in labor unrest and union activity. With unemployment continuing to drop, staffing shortages and unions threatening strike action, has the balance of power in the workplace shifted?
  • Leasing: With demand back to normal, slow OEM delivery rates and interest rates climbing, lease rates climbed sharply in 2022. What is the outlook for aircraft lease rates for 2023 and what can airlines do to get more aircraft out into the market?
  • Debt: US airlines took on more than USD50 billion in debt to ensure their survival during the pandemic. As interest rates continue to rise, how are airlines coping with the increased debt load?
  • Passenger experience: US airlines continue to receive criticism over the passenger experience onboard the aircraft and delays and cancellations on the ground. 2022 saw the US DOT levy an all-time record for civil penalties against airlines. What do airlines do to restore passenger confidence in their operational reliability and how do airlines ensure that the onboard experience is more enjoyable for passengers?
  • Airports: Is there any political reality in coming years which will normalize/encourage the adoption of PPP agreements at airports in North America?
  • ULCCs: What sort of impact has the expansion of the ultra low cost, leisure focused model had on the industry?


Moderator: Holland & Knight, Partner, Anita Monser


A4A, SVP Legislative & Regulatory Policy, Sharon Pinkerton

Cranky Flier, President, Brett Snyder

Sun Country, Chief Revenue Officer, Grant Whitney

Boeing, VP Commercial Marketing, Darren Hulst



30 mins

Coffee Break & Networking



50 mins

Sustainability – North American airlines leading the way, but much more work to be done

Sustainability came into focus as an issue like never before during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the issue remains one the most important topics in the travel sector today. Airlines in North America have been at the forefront of developments in aviation sustainability, yet there is a huge gap between the industry’s stated ambitions and progress. Adding to this is the persistent public perception that air travel is climate unfriendly and that airlines aren’t doing enough to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

  • With targets in place and multiple sustainability efforts ongoing, what are the next steps for airlines to improve their environmental performance?
  • How do airlines continue to enhance the sustainability of their operations without drastically increasing the cost of doing business?
  • How do airlines support the continued growth of air travel while aligning with the sector’s ambitions around Net Zero growth and cutting emissions?
  • With sustainable aviation fuel now moving into the mainstream, what challenges do alternative fuels bring with them?
  • Is enough being done to push airlines environmental credentials? 
  • Should the messaging be coming from individual airlines, or from an industry wide perspective?

Moderator: A4A, SVP Legislative & Regulatory Policy, Sharon Pinkerton


GE Aerospace, Customer Sustainability Leader, Jeffrey Shaknaitis

United Airlines, Director Sustaianbility & ESG, Frannie Levar

Neste, VP Americas, Michael Sargeant

Boeing, Sustainability Lead, Tasha Jackson



10 mins

FLYR Labs - Keynote Presentation {Download Presentation}

The Formula for Transitioning to Offer & Order

Using an AI-first approach to create tailored customer offers

FLYR Labs, Head of Sales Engineering, Tiffany Sauquest



30 mins

Airline Leader Briefing with Breeze, President, Tom Doxey

Breeze, President, Tom Doxey

CNN, Anchor & Correspondent, Richard Quest



60 mins

Lunch Break & Networking



45 mins

Improving traveler behavior through retailing, distribution and digital transformation

COVID-19 produced an immense impetus for changes in aviation distribution and retailing. On the customer side, buying patterns and expectations about selling, booking and personalization all shifted. On the airline side, the pandemic saw many airlines reevaluate their distribution, retailing and technology approaches. For the intermediaries and other third parties, an opportunity was created to adopt new approaches and technologies and negotiate new partnerships. 

  • How is the distribution landscape shifting as airlines, their customers and suppliers map out new relationships? 
  • As passengers continue to seek more personalized and flexible content, what digital strategies are being embraced to meet this demand shift?

Moderator: Travel Again, Chairman, Mike McCormick


Swoop, Leader Distribution & Sales, Tia McGrath

IBS Software, President and Head of Global Sales and Marketing, Jitendra Sindhwani

Southwest, Managing Director Sales Strategy and B2B Channel, Rob Brown

Skyscanner, VP of Strategic Flights & Industry Partnerships



10 mins

CAE - Keynote Presentation {Download Presentation}

Revolutionizing Flight Operations As You Know It

How can CAE's suite of Flight Operations Solutions help in driving efficiencies for our Airline Partners

CAE, Vice President, Product and Services Delivery, Flight Operations Solutions, Prasanna Gowdar



40 mins

Operational integrity – Is the system stable and what lessons have been learned?

US carriers experienced tough operating conditions in 2022, for a variety of reasons. Despite returning operational performance to normal levels, issues across the national aviation system are yet to be fully ironed out, as clearly indicated by several high-profile instances in late 2022 and early 2023. 

  • Have operations really stabilized, and what changes are operators making to ensure they have an enhanced ability to quickly recover from irregular operations? 
  • Will the consumer angst triggered by those disruptions spur more stringent regulations regarding passenger refunds and accommodation? 

ModeratorCAE, Vice President, Product and Services Delivery, Flight Operations Solutions, Prasanna Gowdar


Sun Country, EVP & COO, Gregory Mays

Ontario International Airport, COO, James Kesler

Amazon Global Air, Director Air Safety & Operations, Alison Faddis



30 mins

Coffee break & Networking



45 mins

The return of long-haul travel – trans-Pacific

Asian markets have now largely lifted international border restrictions that had delayed its COVID-19 recovery and this is already leading to a rapid upturn in travel to and from North America.  

While the rapid removal of COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese domestic and international travel has not delivered as strong an initial spike in demand as anticipated – partly instigated by new testing requirements – it still bodes well for the continued strong trans-Pacific market recovery from the pandemic throughout the year. 

Most international airlines adopted a wait-and-see approach before restoring capacity at any scale, but confirmation in mid-Mar-2023 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the end of mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers from China will help build confidence. 

Asia-Pacific airlines posted a +376.3% increase in Jan-2023 international traffic compared to Jan-2022, by far the strongest year-over-year rate among all the world’s regions, but off of a very low base. Capacity rose 167.1% and the load factor increased 36.6 percentage points to 83.3%, the highest among the regions. 

With widebodies continuing to be pulled out of storage and connectivity being re-established, this session addresses the dynamics of the return of long-haul travel in this market. 

  • What are the dynamics in different trans-Pacific country pairs as carriers see a return to normalcy on long-haul routes? 
  • Do existing bilateral agreements have the scope to meet demand? Are countries open to coming to the table to discuss new access? 

Moderator: Arthur Little, Principal, Sabine Reim


Air China, VP & GM North America, Zhihang Chi

Cathay Pacific, SVP Americas, Chris van den Hooven

Japan Airlines, Managing Director Strategic Accounts & Sales Support, Eric Kuroki

Strong Port Strategies, President, Joel Szabat



45 mins

The return of long-haul travel – trans-Atlantic 

Traffic and capacity between North America and Europe have largely recovered and this summer could see record numbers of flights across the North Atlantic.  

The soaring transatlantic market has resumed the momentum seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, and airlines operating across this key global aviation market are bullish about the future. In fact, if future schedules for Jul-2023 hold, more flights will cross the North Atlantic than in any month in the history of commercial aviation. 

This is being driven by legacy airlines supported by a strong leisure demand market willing to pay premium fares and a continued business travel recovery. It is also being supported by a renewed dynamism in the Europe to North America low cost market, which has undergone a reboot since the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With widebodies continuing to be pulled out of storage and connectivity being re-established, this session addresses the dynamics of the return of long-haul travel in this market. 

  • What are the dynamics in different trans-Atlantic country pairs as carriers see a return to normalcy on long-haul routes? 
  • As increasing numbers of the new generation of long-haul narrowbody aircraft enter service, what does this mean for operating profiles on some long-haul routes? 
  • How will new partnerships, including Emirates’ agreements with Air Canada and United, shape the long-haul market going forward? 

Moderator: Holland & Knight, Partner, Anita Monser


Norse Atlantic Airways, President, Charles Duncan

Delta Air Lines, SVP Alliances, Perry Cantarutti

Etihad, VP Americas, Simon Newtown-Smith

CAPA, Senior Analyst Americas, Lori Ranson


Day 1 Closing Remarks