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CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit

Adelaide, Australia
3rd week of Sep 2022

Air Niugini has seen (on average) K 400 million per annum in revenue lost due travel restrictions during 2020/2021 due to the Covid-19 crisis. Despite this Air Niugini is expecting a small profit for 2021 based on latest reforecast. During this short period the team has removed circa 36% of Air Niugini’s pre-Covid cost structure, with circa 24% of these savings are permanently embedded. Air Niugini has during this period managed to keep almost all staff on full pay and has been able to operate the fleet through the whole Covid period.

Our purpose-built software platform represents a departure from decades-old methods that have become the brittle foundation of revenue management. Cirrus applies the latest AI innovations to maximize revenue, deliver measurable results, and add clarity to revenue decisions.

Presented by:

Aviation Week, Senior Air Transport Editor - Asia-Pacific, Adrian Schofield

Moderator:  APAC Network, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder (Former Anchor CNBC), Oriel Morrison

Fiji Airways, Executive Manager Strategy, Networks and Alliances, John Checketts

FLYR is an intentional team of industry and domain experts passionate about improving the practice of revenue management. Our purpose is the relentless application of advanced and intuitive technologies to help transportation leaders achieve their highest potential.

Moderator: ASM Australasia, Director, Hans Mitterlechner

Panel:

  • Albury City Airport, Airport Operations, Nick Politis
  • Emerald Airport, Manager, Salomon Kloppers
  • Rex, Executive Director, Chris Hine
  • Cairns Airport, Manager Aviation & Business Development, David Nye

Nick Jones is the Executive Director of the Destination Development Group, with the key focus of driving the supply side of the South Australian tourism industry. Nick has played a key role in increasing the accessibility to South Australia, attracting new hotel and infrastructure development, and regional tourism development. He oversaw the negotiation and introduction of new international airlines to South Australia, record cruise visitation growth and the development of the South Australian touring routes to capitalise on the significant self-drive market. He is a member of the Regional Visitor Strategy 2025 Steering Committee. His team also managed the $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund, designed to help regional tourism operators improve and diversify their offerings to grow visitation. Nick and his team continue to work hard to help South Australia’s tourism industry reach its full potential and capitalise on significant post-COVID opportunities. Nick joined the SATC after a number of years in senior consumer and trade marketing, sales and management roles with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, at the time, the owners of Channel Nine Network and Australian Consolidated Press.

Chris is an Executive Director of Rex and the Executive Chairman of the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and Ballarat, Victoria). He has over 25 years of aviation experience and has been with the Rex since its inception in August 2002. Chris was the Rex Chief Operating Officer, General Manager Flight Operations and Chief Pilot, and prior to Rex worked for Kendell Airlines holding various Check and Training Captain positions. He has also lectured in Cockpit Systems Management for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Aviation) degree at the University of South Australia.

Andrew Barr has led a progressive and ambitious agenda for Canberra and the Australia Capital Territory (ACT) since being elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2006 and becoming Chief Minister in 2014. As ACT Treasurer and Minister for Economic Development, Andrew’s long term economic reforms have contributed to over 3 decades of consecutive economic growth in Canberra, and an increasingly resilient and diverse economy. He has worked to improve the lives of Canberrans through major changes to the ACT’s tax system, investing in world-class healthcare, city transforming public transport infrastructure and excellent schools, reaching 100% renewable electricity and making Canberra the most LGBTIQA+ friendly city in Australia. By leading one of the best public health responses to COVID-19 in the world, the ACT became one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions on the planet. This response has led to low mortality rates from COVID and a resilient and confident community and economy. Andrew has been the ACT Tourism Minister for the past 17 years, making him Australia’s longest-serving Tourism Minister, leading significant growth in tourism and business travel to Canberra, particularly by bringing major domestic and international aviation partners to the ACT and growing and diversifying the cities hotel stock which has enabled a booming events and hospitality industry. Since Andrew became Chief Minister, Canberra has been ranked by the OECD as the best city in the world to live, and by Lonely Planet as one of the best cities in the world to visit.

Jayne Hrdlicka is the Chief Executive Officer of the Virgin Australia Group. Jayne has over 20 years of leadership experience in the aviation, consumer and industrial sectors, and prior to her appointment with the Virgin Australia Group, Jayne was formerly Chief Executive Officer of a2 Milk Company. Jayne also held various leadership roles at Qantas Group for nearly a decade. She was instrumental in the design of Qantas’ loyalty program and was Chief Executive Officer of Qantas Loyalty and Digital Ventures, as well as Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Group. Jayne is a former senior partner with Bain & Company in the firm’s Customer Strategy and Marketing Practice and also led Bain’s Customer Practice for the Asia region. Jayne is the Chair of Tennis Australia and is a member of the Hawaiian Airlines’ Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Sydney Medical School’s Advisory Board, and a member of Chief Executive Women.

John Checketts joined Fiji Airways in October 2018 as Executive Manager of Network Planning & Strategy; and in 2022 also assumed responsibility of Airline Partnerships. John has nearly twenty years of experience in the airline sector, focused primarily on strategy, network and fleet development and profitability optimization. Prior to joining Fiji Airways, John spent nearly 15 years at JetBlue based in New York with experience in Revenue Management, Finance/FP&A, and the majority of his time in Strategy where he served as VP Network Planning.

The airline industry, already under significant heat to reduce aircraft emissions, is now facing increasing pressure from corporate customers and investors to quantify what is actually being done to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Envest Global, an international practice specialising in carbon reduction strategy, says corporations are reviewing their spending on employee travel, not only to cut costs after COVID-19, but also to ensure that their chosen travel suppliers, including airlines, are treating climate change seriously.

Investors, too, are increasingly insisting on proof of meaningful decarbonisation actions and outcomes from companies in which they are shareholders. And strong investor collectives are forming to force changes to the climate plans and board compositions of companies which they deem to be under-delivering on sustainability.

These developments, and other key perspectives, are detailed in a comprehensive new report being jointly produced by CAPA and Envest Global to assess climate-related challenges and mitigation options for the airline industry.

Australia’s tight border restrictions and strict COVID-19 health measures meant the recovery of international travel lagged well behind the domestic market. However, with Australia’s borders now largely open and testing requirements easing, international travel has returned to approximately 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Local and foreign airlines are increasingly restoring international links with Australia, but attracting international tourists requires a lot more than just adding more flights and seats.

In this important discussion we hear directly from key Australian Aviation & Tourism Leaders as they look to drive international recovery even further. 

  • What are the key triggers to get passengers and travelling again?

  • How is the industry managing increased capacity? 

  • What support can the government provide to ensure the industry can manage this increase?

Moderator: APAC Network, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder, Oriel Morrison

Panel:

  • South Australian Tourism Commission, Executive Director of Destination Development, Nick Jones
  • Austrade, General Manager - Visitor Economy and Client Programs Division, Samantha Palmer
  • ACT Government, Chief Minister, Andrew Barr

Asia recovery continues to be watched very closely by the rest of the world. For carriers in the region, strict and enduring travel restrictions (notably in China), along with an uneven vaccine rollout, have seen the region lag in the recovery to date. As the restrictions diminish, travel demand is expected to increase quickly.

China was the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2019, accounting for around 1 in every five dollars spend globally. However, the country’s near zero tolerance approach to COVID has proven a significant obstacle to a resumption in inbound and outbound travel, and Chinese nationals have indicated a strong preference for travel only to destinations where there is a very low risk of COVID transmission. Australasia – particularly the South Pacific island states – will depend on a recovery in Chinese outbound travel if there is to be any hope of a proper recovery for their tourism markets.

In this session, we further understand the recovery in Asia, how airlines are performing and what opportunities exist for attracting airlines and tourism to the South Pacific. 

Moderator: Aviation Week, Senior Air Transport Editor - Asia-Pacific, Adrian Schofield

Panel:

  • Japan Airlines, VP Asia Oceania Region, Strategy Research, Akihide Yoguchi
  • PNG Air, CCO, Simon Pitt
  • CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Head of Research, Simon Elsegood

COVID-19 saw businesses drastically curtail corporate travel, with some eliminating all bar essential trips. Business travel is returning, but the pandemic produced a structural change in the way it operates. With the move to remote working, near universal adoption of video-conferencing technology, greater corporate focus on sustainability/emissions and duty of care, new layers of executive approvals and ongoing reluctance concerning face to face meetings, what does the future of business travel look like?

Moderator: Envest, Executive Director, Steve Limbrick

Panel:

  • LEK Consulting, Partner, Emily Davis
  • CTM, General Manager VIC & TAS, Susan Connor
  • Optus, Corporate & Finance Operations Manager, Lisa Ashton

Consumers are at the heart of digital transformation and the pandemic has only accelerated the shift as we enter a new era of travel and aviation. Digital retailing and e-commerce, backed by sophisticated IT platforms, continue to be a focus for the entire industry.

We are starting to see how effective the non-travel online retailers, like Amazon, have been – and they’ve grown their wallet share substantially. These new players have gathered more data and learned more about us over the past two years than ever before and the worry is, for a heavily indebted and struggling airline industry – can it keep up and regain its fair share of the ‘economic wallet’ and unlock new revenue streams, as well as meeting shifting customer needs.

Airlines are at a disadvantage in that their starting point are often ageing tech systems of IT platforms, software and hardware. Added to this, an ever-more demanding customer, who wants greater ticketing flexibility, instant refunds, better service, disruption recovery that’s fast and effective and a seamless online and journey experience. The digital experience expectation also extends into the role of the airline’s loyalty programme, as well as its alliances and partnerships.

New selling strategies are also going to be key for the region. From branded fares to subscription services, airlines are shifting the ways they sell tickets.

  • How is the distribution chain adapting to changing strategies?
  • What are other trends in selling that are emerging that will work well in this region?
  • What are some of the creative approaches that airlines take to leverage their loyalty programs?
  • How can airlines flip the global flight credits conundrum into a customer engagement opportunity?

Moderator: Skyscanner, VP Commercial, Hugh Aitken

Panel: 

  • IBS Software, VP & Region Head, Sunil George
  • Travelport, Head of Asia Pacific, Air Partners, Sue Carter

Australia’s domestic and regional market situation – a review

With Omicron behind us and state borders reopened, Australia’s domestic market is undergoing a round of rapid growth and transformation. Virgin Australia’s fall into administration and the pandemic response of Qantas/Jetstar create significant space in the market. With domestic demand now nearly recovered, a new battle for market share is heating with up new entrants Rex and Bonza seek to challenge the incumbent operators. This has the potential to trigger the kind of fare war last seen in the Australian domestic market in 2016.

Panel:

  • ASM Australasia, Director, Jayne Davey
  • ASM Australasia, Director, Hans Mitterlechner

Sustainability has waxed and waned as an issue for aviation for years, but COVID-19 amplified scrutiny around ESG, bringing it into the corporate mainstream and expanding awareness among consumers, investors and policy makers. The aviation industry already has ambitious targets in place to manage its emissions growth and move towards net zero emissions, but pressure continues to build on the sector to invest to accelerate these efforts.

How does the sector ensure its compatibility with the new corporate ESG focus, particularly emissions and social factors? Where should it focus to meet public demands around sustainability/emissions and address a growing perception gap around its environmental performance?

Moderator: Envest, Executive Director, David Wills

Panel:

  • Adelaide Airport, Managing Director, Brenton Cox
  • University of South Australia, Lecturer and Researcher in Aviation, Dr Mirjam Wiedmann
  • LEK Consulting, Partner, George Woods

Join executives from Virgin Australia in this exclusive panel discussion. Hear the latest on recovery, market analysis and future strategy for the carrier. 

Virgin Australia is Australia’s second-largest airline and one of the few carriers that has managed to successfully diversify across the airline value chain. Since launching in 2000 as Virgin Blue - then wholly owned by the Virgin Group - Virgin Australia has moved away from its LCC origins to become a network carrier with integrated regional and international operations.

Now under the control of Bain Capital following its exit from voluntary administration in 2021, the carrier has resumed operations on its domestic network as well as short haul international operations. It has reimagined around a 30% market share of the profitable Australian domestic market, with ambitions to return to its previous share of around 33%. 

Moderator: ASM Australasia, Director, Jayne Davey & ASM Australasia, Director, Hans Mitterlechner

Panel:

  • Virgin Australia Group, CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka
  • Virgin Australia Group, CFO, David Marr
  • Virgin Australia Group, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley

Hugh is VP of Flights at Skyscanner. In his role, he oversees the whole of the flights experience on Skyscanner platforms, from search to check-out, as well as spearheading the evolution of Skyscanner’s flights marketplace. Hugh stepped into this role at the beginning of 2020, building on his previous work leading global strategic partnerships with airlines and the broader industry. Since joining Skyscanner, Hugh has also led our B2B commercial teams, forging relationships with the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo! And Secret Escapes, enabling them to offer global flight content to their users. Hugh regularly represents Skyscanner at an industry level, as well as promoting our data products, used by a variety of partners to provide unique insights into global travel demand. Prior to joining Skyscanner, Hugh spent four years at the European low-cost airline, easyJet, where he looked after the commercial performance and market strategy for the airline across London, Scotland the North East of England, as well as the Middle East and Iceland. Hugh spent 13 years at UK airport operator, BAA, where he held a number of senior commercial roles.