CAPA Global Airport Leaders' Forum

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
16-17 May 2017
Dubai Airports, CEO, Paul Griffiths
Pittsburgh International Airport, CEO, Christina Cassotis
Deputy DG MOVE, Matthew Baldwin
TAV Group, Board Member, President & CEO, Dr. Sani Şener
  • What are the big aviation trends?

  • Will protectionism slow airline growth?

  • Where is airport investment focused, where will airport ownership change hands, where is the fleet growth going, and where will traffic flourish? Do they correlate?

  • Global aviation markets outlook – what are the implications for primary and secondary hubs

CAPA – Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison

The 'privatisation' of airports has been established as an activity for 30 years this year. Bearing in mind that some countries (even developed ones like the USA and Canada) are still uncertain about it, has it proven to be a good thing? Is the way the industry is regulated at odds with the needs of investors and if so how can a successful marriage be ensured? The PPP (3P) transaction is increasingly popular: is it the future, globally? In an age of continuing consolidation and hybridisation of modes, both short and long haul, what is the justification today for investing in low cost terminals, let alone entire airports? Moderator:  Macquarie Bank, Division Director, Head of Cross Divisional Projects, Corporate & Asset Finance, Peter Farthing Panel Members:

  • CCR USA, President & CEO, Amit Rikhy
  • Egis, Director Middle East & South Asia, Jacques Khoriaty
  • HRL Morrison & Co, Head of Asset Management, Steven Fitzgerald
  • Oman Airports Management Company, CEO, Sheikh Aimen Sultan Al-Hosni
  • TAV Group, Board Member, President & CEO, Dr. Sani Şener

LCCs, hybrids and full service airlines are meeting customer demand in very different ways. Do the airports that serve them really understand the diverging business models and providing infrastructure and services to maximise the opportunity. And, where the demands conflict, how do airports respond most effectively. Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison Panel Members:

  • AACO, Secretary General, Abdul Wahab Teffaha
  • IATA, Assistant Director, Airport Development, Martin Braun
  • Pittsburgh International Airport, CEO, Christina Cassotis
  • Shell Aviation, GM Asia/Middle East, Richard Pereira
Hub airports, usually congested, often with 'waves' or banks of flights connecting and the need for complex connectivity infrastructure, are not always welcoming towards LCCs. LCCs typically want low costs, simple facilities and quick turnarounds. But then some LCCs are also reorienting towards connecting operations, as well as wanting more adequate facilities as they increasingly target business travellers. Some are also more keen to be housed within the same terminal as FSCs, to take allow their customers to connect. In these circumstances, airports are faced with constantly shifting and conflicting airline needs/demands, with an array of airline types, from pure LCC, through hybrid to full service carriers. The sort of issues that constantly arise are for example:
  • Whether dedicated LCC facilities are needed; and
  • How to deal with shifting needs as LCCs seek to connect with FSCs.
  • Airport-airline relationships: Can airlines protect against the goalposts shifting under airport ownership changes?
On a broader level:
  • Is increasing competition at primary airports taking on new meanings?
  • What implications are there for infrastructure investment and facilities conversion?
  • How fast and to what extent will LCCs want greater connectivity, online and interline?
  • How important a feature will this become in competition between airports – and to what extent will regulatory matters intervene?

Much will depend on the profile of airlines currently serving the airport – and what segments the airport is targeting for the future. This panel looks at this complex array of issues from various perspectives. Moderator: Airbiz, Managing Director, Greg Fordham Panel Members:

  • Air Black Box Company, Head of Product, Timothy O'Neil-Dunne
  • GMR Group, CEO, Corporate Airports Sector, PS Nair
  • SITA, Director Airport Solution Line, Carlos Kaduoka

Airport retail continues to expand, as airports become more adept at exposing their retailers. A global market which is worth anywhere from USD30-50 billion is highly attractive. Yet airlines have scarcely scratched the surface of this massive market. Now, as wifi spreads across aircraft where passengers can be 'captive' for 15 hours and more, the potential for tapping into the huge traveller spend suddenly blossoms. Add to that the growing sophistication of data analytics and the potential for selling to specific passenger targets lends an extraordinary dimension.

It does not need to be a zero sum game though; there is a lot of upside. The market for online sales is unlimited, even marketing houses!

  • Could onboard wifi actually enhance airport retail sales and allow for even greater penetration
  • How do airport retailers currently target and profile passengers?
Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison Panel Members:
  • ForwardKeys, CMO, Laurens van den Oever
  • Market Square Consult, Managing Director, Johan Schölvinck
  • SITAONAIR, Manager Strategy & Marketing, MEIA, Neale Faulkner
The US has a major problem with ageing infrastructure and it is much broader than just airports. But airports are conspicuous, especially to politicians who use them frequently.
  • Are there lessons to be learned from China’s expansion
  • What is President Trump doing to upgrade Infrastructure and how will it be funded?
  • Can privatisation be the solution?
The departure of the UK from the European Union, which could take place in 2019, opens up a can of worms with regard to the regulatory and economic environment that will follow it and how that will impact on both of the divorced partners and the wider world as well. The discussion – which may be an animated one – will revolve around topics such as traffic rights (what will replace Open Skies?), airline ownership (which can influence which airlines can operate out of UK and European airports and into them, post Brexit), interpretations of international law, and the return of Duty Free sales at airports.
Moderator: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison
Panel Members:
  • BKH Aviation, Aviation Consultant, Barry Humphreys
  • CCR USA, President & CEO, Amit Rikhy
  • ForwardKeys, Director Airport Development, Ged Brown
  • Nyras Capital, Partner, David Huttner

There are numerous airports that have capacity issues. Slots are key to the issue, but more slots can be created through ACDM, rapid exit taxiways, more effective use of stand planning and optimisation, time based separation, terminal throughput and turn times, slot management practices, incentivising upgauging, and many other measures. Sometimes the issue is not runway capacity at all, but the constraints are political or related to terminal or aircraft parking infrastructure.

  • What can the congested gateways do to increase capacity and ‘squeeze more juice out of the asset’?
  • What lessons can be learned from the Gulf and other regions?
  • Do airlines need to take the initiative on airport infrastructure? Should airlines build their own airports?
Moderator: Nyras Capital, Partner, David Huttner

Panel Members:

  • Airport Coordination Limited, Managing Director, Christopher Bosworth
  • Amadeus, Head of Global Business Development, & Solution Design, Airport IT, Iyad Hindiyeh
  • European Commission, Deputy DG MOVE, Matthew Baldwin
  • GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Chief Executive Advisor, Andrew Harrison
  • Royal Schiphol Group, Director Corporate Development, Peter van Grinsven
The Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) comments renewed attacks on Gulf airlines, saying “it doesn’t help and ultimately it’s the customer who is going to choose”. AACO discusses lessons learned from the laptop security rules.
Toronto has been leading some innovative approaches to address the long-term airport capacity challenges in Ontario by partnering with other airports in the region – a network of airports to support growth into Canada.
Dubai Airports’ CEO, Paul Griffiths studied maths, computing, science and music and he draws on these diverse skills to run the large, complex organisation that is Dubai Airport. Hear the latest capacity growth plans in place for Dubai Airports to maintain its stellar growth trajectory.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport’s management is relishing the challenge of rapid expansion. After-all, growth is a good problem to have – and it’s coming from long and short-haul markets to Cebu, making the Philippine destination one of the fastest growing points in Southeast Asia.
PS Nair, CEO, Corporate Airports Sector, GMR Group shares with us the rapid growth at Delhi Airport and the challenges in maintaining such high growth. He explains the gaps in the Delhi network stating the ideal markets for more direct services. He also gives us an update on the GOA greenfield airport project.
There's been an increase in traffic growth in Iran since many of the international sanctions were lifted in 2016. Ahmadreza Bayati, Director International Cooperation, Imam Khomeini Airport City Company, shares the vision for the development of Tehran-Ikia Airport.
Dr Sani Sener, Board Member, President & CEO of TAV Group, gives us an update on their 17 international airport investments, stating that their investments remain strongest in MENA and Turkey. He says that Istanbul's ambition to become a regional hub has been set back by last year's terrorist attacks, which have had a negative effect on passenger numbers to the region. He expects passenger growth to return by the end of 2017.
Sheikh Aimen Sultan Al-Hosni, CEO, Oman Airports Management Company, is excited to announce progress of the development of the new Muscat International Airport. He also discusses the prospect of foreign investment to aid expansion and the airport’s hub growth opportunities.
What's next for Australian and New Zealand airport regulation? While some airlines may argue that airport returns have been too high, airports remain firm that their cost base is entirely different. Steven Fitzgerald, Head of Asset Management, HRL Morrison & Co comments on the decision by Sydney Airport to reject the investment opportunity in a second airport and the role of government in investing in regional infrastructure.
Hamad International Airport has signed an MoU formalising a strategic partnership to enable the airport’s digital transformation. Engr. Badr Al-Meer, COO of the airport discusses their preparations leading up to the FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar in 2022.
The discussion will address the evolution and development of the airport city and the 'aerotropolis' examining the various success factors:
  • What role do the public and private sectors typically play?
  • Where do they go from here?
    • Can any airport develop one; or
    • Are they restricted to an elite 'Premier League' where metropolitan size, scope and location are the deciding factors?
  • Does the presence of an airport city become the main driver of passenger and freight growth?
  • If so, should the airport city dominate the airport management's strategic thinking?
  • Are there negative socio-economic impacts, such as the loss of green belt land displacement and exclusion of communities and creation of economic enclaves?
Moderator: Site Selection Magazine, Editor in Chief, Mark Arend Panel Members:
  • Airbiz, Managing Director, Greg Fordham
  • Aviapolis Helsinki, Project Manager, Mari Peltomäki
  • GMR Group, CEO, Corporate Airports Sector, PS Nair
  • Imam Khomeini Airport City Company, Director International Cooperation, Ahmadreza Bayati
  • Oman Airports Management Company, Senior Manager Strategic Planning, Nagy Abu Zeid
  • Osmond Lange Architects, Managing Director, Jonathan Manning
  • WiedemannConsultants, Managing Director, Dr Mirjam Wiedemann
Spencer Birns, Commercial Director at Cardiff Airport, speaks to CAPA about new routes, new capacity and increasing opportunities for the airport, Wales and the surrounding region in Southwest England. It’s a new era for Cardiff Airport with a fresh approach stemming from some major strategic shifts in 2013.