CAPA Latin America Aviation & LCCs Summit

Querétaro, Mexico
31-Aug - 1-Sep

Juan Escalante joined Textron back in 2007, in his current role as Vice President of Sales, he leads the SkyCourier sales organization worldwide for Textron Aviation. Textron Aviation is the largest general aviation OEM around the world, with 250,000+ aircraft delivered in the last 95 years, flying in 180 countries. Previously with Textron Financial based in Sao Paulo, and then Singapore structuring cross border financing for operators in the region. Specialties: Fleet Acquisitions, Aircraft Financing (crossborder and ECA Financing), Aircraft Sales.

Enrique Beltranena has been CEO of Volaris since March 2006. Previously he worked as Grupo TACA’s chief operating officer, human resources and institutional relations vice president, cargo vice president and commercial director for Mexico and Central America. He also held the position of general director of Aviateca in Guatemala. Mr. Beltranena started his career in the aerospace industry in 1988. During the 1990s he was responsible for the commercial merger of Aviateca, Sahsa, Nica, Lacsa and TACA Peru, which consolidated them into a single management entity called Grupo TACA. In 2001, Mr. Beltranena led Grupo TACA’s complete restructuring as its chief operating officer. 

Mr. Beltranena was named to the Entrepreneur of The Year Hall of Fame in Monaco 2012 and Mexico 2011 after being nominated by Ernst & Young.

Lori Ranson is currently a Senior Analyst at the Centre For Aviation (CAPA). Her coverage has touched on all aspects of commercial aviation, including marketing and distribution, network development, safety, maintenance, repair and overhaul, aircraft programmes, alliances, regulatory developments, finance and the passenger experience. Prior to joining CAPA, Lori spent more than a decade covering the commercial aviation industry, specializing in the North American market. Previously she was Americas Air Transport Editor for Flightglobal, where she led a team of journalists and worked with freelancers to produce content for Flightglobal, FlightglobalPro, Flight Daily News and Airline Business magazine. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering low-cost and regional airlines.

Government intervention in the aviation market.

While traffic in Latin America and the Caribbean is now above pre-pandemic levels, a familiar regional issue has also returned: governments intervening in the aviation market. Latin America’s aviation market remains plagued by preferential regulatory and legal frameworks, high taxation, the passing along of operating costs and challenges with infrastructure programmes. Progress on market liberalisation and airport privatisation also appears to be slowing in certain quarters.

  • As normality returns to the regional aviation market, how does the aviation industry ensure that governments support rather than hinder the growth of their aviation markets?

  • What can be done to lower taxes and other fees that act as a barrier to intra-regional and international travel?

  • What are the best options to collaborate across the aviation sector to push back against the imposition of high taxes and excessive charges?

JP brings more than two decades of industry leadership to FLYR, as well as expertise in customer and executive account management with some of the world’s largest airlines. Previously, JP spent more than 17 years at Sabre in various roles, most recently as Client Executive. He also worked as Regional Director, where he led teams of subject matter experts in supporting strategic customers, and led Sabre’s Global L2 support teams in establishing a customer-first culture that led to enhanced customer satisfaction. Prior to Sabre, JP held leadership roles in the telecommunications space and travel agency industry. In his personal life, JP spends a lot of time with his family and is passionate about sports and developing others. He has spent more than 20 years coaching soccer as a hobby.

Latin American airline consolidation is proceeding, although the path and timing is difficult to forecast. Avianca and GOL are seeking to create a pan-regional airline group capable of competing with LATAM on an equal footing. Regional aviation leaders are projecting that three or four major airline groups will emerge, either via partnerships, mergers or other tie-ups.
  • Is the Latin American market best served by the transition towards ever larger and more powerful airline groupings?

  • Will regional governments allow more large multi-national airline groups to form? Will the regional market come to resemble Europe, with its large airline groups based around carriers with state holdings?

  • Given regional aviation regulations and other limitations on synergies and networks, how successful can cross-border consolidation be? Should the model be to concentrate on partnerships rather than mergers?

Javier, born in Spain, holds a master’s degree in management by Harvard University, a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management by Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and a master’s in marketing by ESIC Business School. Javier began his aviation career in Boston working for Midwest Express Airlines. He has spent more than 15 years of his career working in the Commercial and Strategy departments of various airlines. He is currently VivaAerobus’ Chief Network & Alliances Officer and previously, he has been the CEO of Canada Jetlines, VP Network, Revenue Management & E-Commerce at VivaAerobus, Director Network Planning and Corporate Affairs at Vueling as well as Senior Strategist at Qatar Airways.

Jeff has more than twenty years of experience across technology and travel, with a focus on strategy and revenue generating disciplines. Jeff spent 10 years at Sabre Airline Solutions, where he held roles in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and business development. He was also Chief Revenue Officer at Hotel Connections, an airline crew logistics management software company, where he ran both global sales and marketing prior to their acquisition by Fleetcor and merger with Travelliance to form TA Connections. Currently, he runs sales and account management for the airline operational software division of CAE for the Americas. Jeff started his career in management consulting having spent time at McKinsey & Company and Ernst & Young.

The recovery of passenger traffic during 2022 was accompanied by severe operating disruptions across the globe, with Latin America and the Caribbean proving no exception. While delays and cancellations have ebbed and staffing levels are recovering across the region, the Latin American aviation system still faces disruption on multiple fronts. As travel builds into the peak summer travel period, the regional sector could be facing with another trying period.

  • How have operators adapted and changed since the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the robustness of their systems and to quickly recover from irregular operations? 

  • How have regulators reacted to the disruption of the past few years?

  • What are the key technologies that airports, airlines and the supply chain are implementing to ensure operational stability?

  • How are issues around areas such as ATC, infrastructure shortages and workforce training/retention being addressed? 

  • What bottlenecks remain in the air travel process and what are potential failure points?

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 personalised and flexible content, what digital strategies are being embraced to meet this demand shift?

Pedro Heilbron is CEO of Copa Holdings (NYSE: CPA) and Copa Airlines, which offers service to 79 destinations in 32 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from its Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama. Heilbron joined Copa Airlines in 1988. Under his leadership Copa established the Hub of the Americas in Panama, the most successful hub in Latin America, negotiated a successful alliance with Continental Airlines, now United, took the airline public in 2005 and launched Colombian Ultra Low Cost airline Wingo in 2016. One of the leading airlines in Latin America, Copa has received several prestigious international awards, including most recently the “Most punctual airline in the world” award (OAG, 2018) and the “Most punctual airline in Latin America” (CIRIUM, 2021). Heilbron currently is a member of the Chair Committee and Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), member of the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and member of the Executive Committee of Star Alliance. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and earned an M.B.A. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

ICAO secretary general Juan Carlos Salazar suggested in late 2022 that the Latin America and Caribbean region has the potential to “lead the production of sustainable aviation fuels worldwide”. Estimates are that the region could produce anywhere from 10-30% of global SAF production by 2030. At the same time, SAF production remains a challenge, with long lead times, heavy investment requirements and scarce sustainable feedstocks.

  • What policies and policies and macroeconomic measures do governments need to put in place to incentivise production of SAF in the region?

  • What are the critical steps needed to support uptake of SAF by airlines in Latin America and the Caribbean?

  • Which countries are best positioned to take advantage of the global growth in demand for SAF?

  • How do Latin America and the Caribbean ensure that SAF production in the region really is sustainable and conforms to international best practices. 

After Latin America and the Caribbean tourism contracted nearly 75% in 2020, the sector was a bright spot for much of the region in 2021 and 2022. With borders closed in large parts of the rest of the world, countries in the region welcomed international arrivals with clear communication and rules around travel. However, while some markets have now fully recovered, others are still below their pre-pandemic levels and traveller preferences continue to shift as the pandemic wanes.

  • What proactive measures can Latin America and the Caribbean states take to promote tourism arrivals? 

  • How do states that have underperformed in the tourism recovery accelerate the return of international travellers?

  • How do regional tourism partners respond to post-pandemic travel trends, such as heightened awareness around sustainability, growth in natural and cultural tourism, and reduced attractiveness of large urban centres?

  • What are the trends for outbound tourism? What sort of destinations are attractive for travellers from major markets like travellers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico?