CAPA Americas Aviation Summit

Denver, United States of America
18-19 Mar 2019

Sun Country Airlines CEO Jude Bricker talks about investments the company is making in aircraft configurations and IT infrastructure, the airline’s growth plans and Sun Country’s network strategy.

Japan Airlines VP Marketing, Strategy and Research Akihide Yoguhchi discusses the airline’s strategy for resuming expansion, the company’s excited about new service to Seattle and route evaluations for its new LCC Zipair.

Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson concludes the biggest challenge for airlines going forward in implementing IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) is hunkering down, making investments and “getting it done”. He also discusses the influence of Amazon and Google on the travel industry.

Skyscanner’s director of strategic partnerships Hugh Aitken provides insight into how airlines are building NDC APIs to Skyscanner, and the realisation by airlines of the investment necessary for APIs. He also offers some perspective into how travelers using mobile to book travel desire a more branded experience.

US DoT Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation and International Affairs David Short discusses the agency’s top priorities for 2019 and the “landmark’ agreement with the UK that will “snap into place” as soon as Brexit happens.

  • CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Senior Analyst, Americas, Lori Ranson
  • Lufthansa, Director Sales Steering and Development, Thomas Dionisius

Session Provocateur: Travelport, Global Head of New Distribution, Ian Heywood

Sun Country Airlines, President & CEO, Jude Bricker

Airlines for America SVP Legislative and Regulatory policy Sharon Pinkerton outlines the association’s top regulatory priorities for 2019 including ensuring only trained support animals are allowed on aircraft. She also discusses the opportunities for expanding the use of biometrics in the US.

Air China VP and GM for North America Zhihang Chi discusses how trade tensions are affecting demand between the US and China, and the effects of currency fluctuations on travel between the two countries.

American Airlines VP of operations and Industry Affairs Lorne Cass offers insight into ways to improve management of the US airspace system and the airline’s work with US government agencies on a pilot programme to combat delays at its Charlotte hub.

International Presidents of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson believes progress has been made during the last year in combating sexism against flight attendants, and the industry needs to use that progress to stamp sexism out in order for flight attendants to feel safe.

Delta Air Lines EVP and Chief Legal Officer Peter Carter talks about the airline’s combined efforts with its partners to remove friction from the passenger experience and the types of technology the airline is using to improve the customer experience.

Expedia VP Transport Partner Services Julie Kyse talks about the importance of using new technologies to meet the expectations of Millennials and the positive feedback Expedia is receiving from airline partners on new data report showing how painters are performing in Expedia sites. She also discusses branded fares and ensuring customers make informed choices about products they are purchasing.

Denver International Airport’s VP of Air Service Development Laura Jackson discusses destinations on the airport’s radar including China, Brazil and more service to Europe. She also talks about maintaining a positive customer experience as Denver undertakes a terminal overhaul and revamp of its facilities.

IATA Regional VP of the Americas Peter Cerda outlines challenges airlines face as Mexico’s government adopts a policy of three airports serving Mexico City. He explains that strategy could place Mexico City at a disadvantage from a connectivity standpoint compared with other hubs including Panama City, Houston or Miami. Mr Cerda also outlines infrastructure challenges operators will face in Argentina.

LATAM Airlines Group VP of Corporate Affairs Gisela Escobar discusses the company’s outlook for 2019 in both domestic and international markets, the positive effects of LATAM’s new fare structure and the company’s plans to nearly double its capacity in Colombia’s domestic market during the next three years.

Lufthansa’s director, sales steering and business development Thomas Dionisius discusses the growing VFR, leisure and bleisure passenger segments and harmonising a seamless customer experience with Lufthansa’s JV partners.

Orlando International airport senior director of marketing and air service development Vicki Jaramillo offers insight into the airport’s solid mix of airlines operating under various business models, provides an update on the airport’s biometric programme and the airport’s desire to establish links to London Heathrow.

Travelport’s global head of New Distribution Ian Heywood concludes travel agents are “a lot more onboard now” with NDC; however he explains the technology is still being built out, and as agents get access to that technology, they’re in discussions with airlines and aggregators to determine how the technology could work better.

VivaAerobus CEO Juan Carlos Zuazua talks about demand in in domestic and international markets, the performance of the Airbus A320neo and growth prospects for Toluca in light of cancellation for a new airport for Mexico City. In that context, he explains that VivaAerobus operates from several bases, and the airline is not reliant on a hub and spoke system.

As the originator of the swathe of open skies agreements in the 1990s and the early part of the 21st century, the US is a vital part of the modern liberal bilateral system. Now Brexit prompts a vital review of the North Atlantic multilateral agreement, while the US is seemingly wavering in its commitment to the principles of a li laissez-faire international marketplace. Meanwhile Canada remains committed to its (dark) Blue Skies protectionist policy. In the wake of the US big three’s recent onslaught on the Gulf carriers, there is still a lack of clarity over the US position on liberal market access, a question made more poignant by the Trump administration’s attacks on free trade generally. However, some comfort can be drawn from Washington’s apparent reluctance to intervene in a protective way.

  • How does the industry navigate the crossroad between trade and travel?
  • Does the US big three vs ME3 white paper still have a role to play in the future of the region?
  • Ownership and control limitations – encouraging investment into airlines and infrastructure
  • Should antitrust immunity be expanded or contracted?

Moderator: Baker McKenzie, Principal, Kenneth Quinn 

  • APEX, CEO, Dr. Joe Leader
  • Delta Air Lines, Executive Vice President – Chief Legal Officer, Peter Carter
  • FedEx Express, Vice President, International Regulatory Affairs, Ralph Carter
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, David Short

Legacy distribution systems have for decades presented airlines with the twin problems of high costs and product commoditisation. In efforts to address these issues carriers from around the world 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. The GDS has embraced its need to evolve in order to remain relevant and to compete effectively against other intermediaries and aggregators such as metasearch companies (some of which now have direct booking capabilities), as well as digital behemoths such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook – to gain a slice of the pie.

But as airlines work on enhancing their retail offering and improving their merchandising capability via both direct and indirect channels, a resounding message from industry players is that airlines need to consider the importance of mobile and messaging platforms, which are slowly replacing the desktop as the preferred interface for researching and booking travel.

  • Is this increasingly fragmented and complex commercial and technological distribution landscape sustainable? How will business models evolve in response? Is there a need for a direct connect aggregator?
  • Should airlines build lots of direct connects or revert back to lean, centralised distribution channels?
  • Who is going to be offering services to bridge the gap between airlines/aggregators that are NDC compliant and those that aren’t? Will it be the GDS and IT providers, other airlines or speciality providers?
  • How are newer intermediaries adding value to airline distribution? How do airlines enhance their digital shopfront? Are airlines over-emphasising the importance of airline.com over mobile messaging platforms and bot technologies?

Moderator: Travelport, Global Head of New Distribution, Ian Heywood

  • American Express Global Business Travel, Director Global Content & Distribution Strategy, John Bukowski
  • AmTrav, CEO, Jeff Klee
  • United Airlines, MD Merchandising, Jeff Christensen
  • Where to next for airline stocks? What’s outlook for the key drivers: economic growth, capacity and fuel?
  • Who are the ROIC stars and why? How are airlines valued relative to other industrials?
  • Which airlines are better placed to weather economic storms?
  • How can the industry learn to deal with fuel prices volatility?
  • How are airlines faring in containing non-fuel costs?

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

  • Barclays Capital, Director, Senior Equity Analyst, Brandon Oglenski
  • CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Senior Analyst, Americas, Lori Ranson
  • Cowen, Managing Director, Helane Becker
  • Deutsche Bank Securities, Managing Director, Michael Linenberg

The discussion will seek to draw out the key underlying challenges with today’s system and look to ways of “fixing” it.

Part One: Commercial implications for the market

  • How effective have the majors segmented fares been in combating LCC and ULCC competition?
  • Can the ‘big three’ continue to meet margin goals even where fuel prices rise back to higher levels?
  • What are the development and cost challenges facing the domestic market and are policy makers listening?
  • As low cost competition increases, how is this affecting network planning and route development?

Part Two: Operational implications for the market

  • Are US airline and airport infrastructure and service levels appropriate to what US consumers and communities should expect?
  • What impact does this have for airlines on the competitive access environment?
  • What funding solutions can be learned from overseas experience to improve standards?
  • What steps can be taken to help medium sized airports recover connectivity?
  • Would a national aviation policy be of value?

Moderator: CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Advisor, John Thomas

  • A4A, SVP, Legislative and Regulatory Policy, Sharon Pinkerton [Download Presentation]
  • ALPA, First Vice President, Bob Fox
  • American Airlines, Vice President – Operations & Industry Affairs, Lorne Cass
  • Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, International President, Sara Nelson
  • PASSUR Aerospace, President & CEO, James T. Barry
  • Sun Country Airlines, President & CEO, Jude Bricker

US majors have comfortably dominated capacity on routes between North and South America for decades, but new aircraft technology and a raft of new airline entrants are set to change the competitive dynamics of this market. Long range narrowbodies enable US ULCCs and LCCs to compete against the majors by bringing the deep south of Latin America within flying range from South Florida. Latin American LCCs such as Interjet and Volaris are also taking advantage of new technology to go further into the US, but long haul international markets within Latin America also offer promising growth opportunities.

  • What are the prospects for air service expansion on the crucial North-South axis?
  • How is technology influencing network planning on North-South markets?
  • Which hubs will be the winners?
  • Are US ULCCs or Latin America LCCs set to usurp the dominance of the US majors in this arena?

Moderator: CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Advisor, John Thomas 

  • IATA, Regional Vice President The Americas, Peter Cerdá
  • ICF Aviation, Principal, Carlos Ozores
  • LATAM Airlines, VP Corporate Affairs, Gisela Escobar

New generation aircraft offer game changing economics and range for LCCs, and those low cost operators are increasingly using new generation narrowbodies on longer haul routes.

The 787 and A350 widebodies have also changed operating economics on ultra long haul routes, offering a much more profitable proposition than older generation twin aisle jets. But the right aircraft type is just one factor in successful route development. Although new generation aircraft open up opportunities for numerous new routes, maintaining consistent demand in those markets is paramount, especially once airport incentives are no longer available.

  • What examples of implementation of new aircraft types has been successful around the world?
  • What opportunities still exist to tap into new aircraft types?
  • What routes will be opened up to the Americas thanks to new aircraft technology?
  • How much reliance is there on premium traffic to make ultra long haul routes sustainable?

Moderator: ASM, Consultant, Lee Lipton


  • Denver International Airport, VP Air Service Development, Laura Jackson
  • Orlando International Airport, Senior Director Marketing & Air Service Development, Vicki Jaramillo
  • Spirit Airlines, Vice President, Capacity Planning, Mark Kopczak
  • What can the US do to entice more inbound travel from across the Pacific?
  • How are carriers utilising new fuel efficient aircraft to unlock network connectivity between Asia and the US? Singapore Airlines: Singapore-New York Ultra Long Haul route.
  • What are the prospects for capacity growth from the growing South East Asia markets?
  • Role of JVs e.g. Qantas/American

Moderator: InterVISTAS Consulting, Senior VP Airline Network Strategy, Sabine Reim


  • Air China, Vice President & General Manager, North America, Zhihang Chi
  • Charlie Pappas International, Principal, Charlie Pappas
  • Japan Airlines, Vice President, Marketing & Strategy Research, Akihide Yoguchi
  • Qantas, Senior Executive Vice President The Americas, New Zealand, Pacific Islands & Japan, Stephen Thompson

Millennials have come of age in an era where digitalisation and the widespread availability of cheaper flights have made travel more attractive and accessible. Inquisitive and constantly connected, millennials are embracing the internet and mobile technologies during their travels and have been at the forefront of driving changes in the way travel is distributed and consumed. We profile the travel preferences of this crucial traveller segment, who continue to drive much of the demand for LCC seats especially.

  • What are the travel patterns of the millennial traveller? How are airlines engaging with this particular customer segment?
  • How are intermediaries, tech companies and airports evolving their products in response to the unique expectations of millennials for holistic and personalised travel services?
  • How do millennial traveller needs differ from travellers of previous generations?
  • What do airlines need to do to evolve into proper travel retailers? What can they learn from other travel suppliers who excel in this arena?
  • How will travel retail evolve after basic merchandising?
  • What other/newer distribution technologies are required to enable further airline growth?
  • Which airlines are ahead or behind the digital innovation curve?

Moderator: CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Advisor, John Thomas


  • Expedia Group, VP Transport Partner Services, Julie Kyse
  • Farelogix, CEO & President, Jim Davidson
  • Viva Aerobus, CEO, Juan Carlos Zuazua