Strategy Summit Speakers

Kate Aleksidze

Chief Executive Officer, United Airports of Georgia (UAG)

Kate Aleksidze is the CEO of United Airports of Georgia, LLC managing the activities of the company from November 2010.  She has an extensive background in international and national public service and was World Bank expert of enhancement of law journal and adviser of the structure and composition of the Editorial Council at the Constitutional Court of Georgia in 2007. She was deputy-head of the Legal department of JSC Madneuli, preparing all the legal documents, conclusions and statements as well as managing relationships with shareholders and register of the shares. Previously Mrs. Aleksidze was the head of the “public service for everyone” project at the State Chancellery of Georgia where she was developing the new recruitment system for the public service.

Mrs. Aleksidze has also been involved in teaching and training processes. She was a member of the International Trainer’s Pool, delivering soft skills training to law students in different European countries and was delivering training in human resources and office administration for the Central Election Commission Administration. She was also a lecturer on the Caucasus School of Business MBA program, delivering lectures in Business Law and Legal Environment to Masters Degree Students and at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, School of Public Administration.


Participating Talks and Sessions

Vadim Vilgelmi

Managing Consultant, Lufthansa Consulting

Vadim Vilgelmi is a Managing Consultant at Lufthansa Consulting. He joined the company in 2006, having worked for 6 years at Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt and Singapore.
His initial role at Lufthansa Consulting was business development in Russia, CIS, and the Baltic states. He established the Moscow office and served as its head for 6 years.
Currently based in Germany, Vadim works internationally on a wide range of aviation-related topics. His recent projects include the development of an airport holding strategy, start-up airline business planning, airline restructuring, and airport master-planning.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Aslihan Cortuk

Director of Marketing, TAV Airports

Aslihan Cortuk has six years of network, alliance and hub management, route and fleet development experience at Delta Airlines in its Atlanta headquarters. Aslihan joined TAV Group in 2006 to lead its route development, airline relationship and air service pricing efforts. In this capacity, she contributed towards improving the airport/airline relationships as well as maximizing air service revenues. She has been a key contributor to TAV’s airport tenders.  Aslihan’s experience in all areas of aviation business enables her to align the airport experience with the airlines’ many competing objectives.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Oto Berishvili

Business Development Manager, Adjara Group Hospitality

  • Local and Global Sales
  • Marketing & Business Development of Hotels and the Company
  • “Rooms Hotel” Brand Management and Development
  • Public Relations and Communications
  • Product and Concept Development
  • Revenue Management, Distributions and Reservations

Participating Talks and Sessions

Irakli Nasidze

Head of Business Development, United Airports of Georgia (UAG)

Born in the capital of Georgia, Irakli Nasidze graduated from Tbilisi State University with a degree in Law in 2009. In 2014, he has also obtained an MBA in Aviation from Donau Krems University, Austria.

Irakli has over five years experience working at executive level in various departments of the aviation industry, with recorded success at managing major international infrastructural and commercial projects.

Irakli joined United Airports of Georgia in March 2013 from Georgian ANSP and currently holds the position of Head of Business Development. He provides leadership on a strategic level for all marketing, sales and pricing activities and during his time, has implemented a new network development strategy for Georgian airports.

Irakli was awarded with Medal of Honour in 2013 by the Government of Georgia for developing the Kutaisi International Airport project.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Raul Villaron

Marketing Director EMEA, Embraer

Mr. Raul Villaron has more than 10 years of experience in the airline industry. Airline strategies, fleet & network planning are among his main expertise, which he acquired along 8 years working at Embraer Commercial Aircraft Sales for airlines in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Over those years, Mr. Raul Villaron has worked closely with airlines to support their fleet and network development as well as to help start-up airlines to build their business planning.

He is also responsible for the prospecting activities in the region, showing Embraer view of the market and how the E-Jets fit to the each airline business models.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Oliver Clark

Senior Reporter, Flightglobal

Oliver Clark joined Flightglobal in June 2013 as a senior reporter covering commercial aviation, route development, airline strategy and airports.

He specialises in the aviation markets of Spain, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia, covering such events as the restructuring of Alitalia and the equity partnership with Etihad, the merger of Greek carriers Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air and the ongoing turnaround programme at Spanish flag carrier Iberia.

Oliver also covers airlines and airports in Sub-Saharan Africa and has interviewed Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, Adrian Hamilton-Manns, group chief executive of FlyAfrica and Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide of Arik Air.

He regularly contributes to Flightglobal’s print and online titles including Airline Business and Flight International.

Prior to joining Flightglobal, Oliver was Editor of Routes News - the official publication of the World Route Development Forum and the regional Routes events, Deputy Editor of Airport World and a contributor to Airline Fleet Management magazine.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Dr. Adam Wu

Chief Operating Officer, China Business Network

Dr. Adam Wu is the Chief Operating Officer of the China Business Network which "brings the world to China and takes Chinese to the world". CBN is a consortium of organizations specializing in business consultancy and facilitating services for a large number of Chinese and foreign authorities, state owned enterprises, commercial companies and other organizations worldwide.

Dr. Wu has been directly involved in advising foreign tourism authorities and travel businesses, at the same time supporting Chinese official delegations, investors and business groups going to other parts of the worlds to explore investment opportunities, as well as for official visits such as supporting the Chairman of CNTA attending the Ministers Summit of UNWTO and organizing special events that caught the world attention such as the Olympic Torch Relay.

Dr. Wu jointly set up the overseas office of the China Business Network which has been focusing on developing vertical portals on the China Wide Web for specific sectors such the World Travel Online which is dedicated to the provision of the most up to date information in Chinese about travelling overseas to both the travel trade as well as millions of Chinese travellers. The “World Travel Online” has been awarded as "The Best Website for Outbound Travel from China” and also won the prestigious CTW Golden Award.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Oleg Panteleev

Executive Director and Head of Analitycal Department, AviaPort Agency

Oleg Panteleev is Executive director and Head of Analitycal department of AviaPort Agency. 

He graduated from The Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) and worked as an engineer and combined study and work with journalistic activities. He started as a correspondent and became a chief editor. In 2001 has headed the editorial board in AviaPort Agency.

Until 2010 he worked as a senior expert in Scientific-Research Institute of Economy of the aviation industry. He now works oversees in the analitical department of AviaPort Agency and initiates studies of aviation markets.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Thomas Niehaus

Head of CIS Region, Lufthansa Consulting

Thomas Niehaus is an Associate Partner at Lufthansa Consulting. He is responsible for the regional markets CIS, Georgia and South-East Europe.

His academic background and expertise have a strong focus on finance, strategy and logistics.

At Lufthansa Consulting he has worked in a broad variety of airport, airline, cargo and MRO projects mainly in Europe and Russia/CIS. His project work includes cost and revenue optimization (incl. non-aeronautical revenue maximization strategies), route development strategies, PPP projects, and restructuring projects for international aviation clients.

Recent projects include the development of an airport holding strategy, an airline start-up business plan, an MRO infrastructure development and the optimization of airport operations.


Igor Aptsiauri

First Deputy General Director, Georgian Civil Aviation Authority

Igor Aptsiauri has been recently appointed as a First Deputy Director of Georgian Civil Aviation Agency (GCAA). Apart from the overall leadership, he is directly responsible for the Air Transportation and Financial/Economic Analysis Departments of the GCAA.  

Igor has over 10 years of comprehensive experience in Airline Business working in Tui AG (Hapaq-Lloyd Flug), airBaltic and Qatar Airways various departments of the Commercial Division including Sales, Revenue Management, International Relations, Airline Partnerships & Alliances and Corporate Planning Departments.

He has Managed and took part in a number of interesting projects dealing with Change Management, Inventory Migrations, Launch of Loyalty Programs and Airline Alliance integration. Also participated in numerous intergovernmental bilateral air transportation negotiations and meetings on different Aeropolitical issues.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Leonid Sergeev

CEO, Krasnodar and Sochi Airports (Basel Aero)

Leonid Sergeev joined the Basic Element group in 2008. Between 2008-2010 Mr Sergeev was Head of the Strategic Projects Department of United Company RUSAL and was involved in preparing the company for IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Following the successful IPO, Mr Sergeev became  Director of Strategic Projects at En + Group and headed Basel Aero Supply and Handling, one of the fastest growing companies in Russia's aviation refueling industry, and United Oil Group, the oil and petroleum products sales company, which is part of En + Group.

Before joining Basic Element Mr Sergeev worked in the Global Business Development Division of Shell Exploration and Production, Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands. Before that Mr Sergeev worked at Uralvneshtorgbank, where he progressed from currency trader to a member of the Board of Directors and Vice President of Strategy and Business Development.

Mr Sergeev holds Master in Business Administration (MBA) from IMD business school, Switzerland. He also holds a Ph.D. in economic sciences from Ural State Technical University.

Basel Aero ( is the largest airport operator in the south of Russia. The company was founded in 2007 and manages the airport assets of Basic Element industrial group. In June 2012, a joint venture with Changi Airports International and Sberbank of Russia. Basel Aero manages airports in Krasnodar, Sochi, Gelendzhik and Anapa. Basel Aero airports serve 8% passenger traffic and 4% of cargo traffic of Russia.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Petro Lipovenko

President, Association Airports of Ukraine

Born July 10, 1954. in the settlement Rakitnoe, Kiev region, where he graduated from secondary schools number 1.

He started his career in 1971, working as an electrician for the electrical aircraft factory number 410 of Civil Aviation in Kiev. From 1972 to 1977g.g. studied and successfully graduated from the Kiev Institute of Civil Aviation (KIIGA) - Faculty of airports, where he received his specialty - mechanical engineer (operation of automation and mechanization of the airports). After graduation he worked in distribution chief spetsavtokolonny in special transport service of Kherson.

From 1980 to 2007 he worked at the airport "Borispol". His career started with the company mechanic column special transport service, after which he worked as chief engineer of special transport services, airport chief of special vehicles, the deputy chief of the airport - the chief engineer; technical director of the airport, replaceable Deputy Director General, the Deputy Director General of the airport "Borispol", the general director of the airport "Borispol".

Over the entire period of the airport "Borispol" was directly responsible for safety, organization of production servicing of aircraft, passengers and cargo. Coordinated action by the airlines to the airport, adjacent structures, public authorities. Develop and implement a European-style structure of the airport, by separating Boryspil United Aviation Division (JSC) for airports, airlines and air traffic control structure.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Yolanta Strikitsa

Managing Director, Strikitsa Consulting

MBA from California State University Hayward (USA), BA from Gnesinykh State College (RF). During the last 15 years Yolanta has dedicated herself to management consulting and executive search. She has been living and working in USA, Russia and UK, where in 2003 she set up her own business. Prior to Strikitsa Consulting, Yolanta has been working for Morgan Chase, Leucadia National Private Equity and Price Waterhouse. Yolanta is fluent in English, Polish and Russian.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Raimonds Gruntins

Area Manager, Nordic & Baltic Countries and Managing Director, Agency Services Scandinavia, IATA

Raimonds Gruntins has 20 years’ experience working in different roles within commercial aviation.
In 2008, Raimonds joined IATA in Geneva and since 2011, he has been based in Stockholm heading IATA’s regional office for
five Nordic and three Baltic Countries. Throughout 2012 and 2013, Raimonds was an interim also responsible for IATA’s affairs in Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Ercan Uzman

Director International Relations & Partners Management, AtlasGlobal Airlines

Ercan Uzman started his career in 1996 as Sales Representative for Reservations & Ticketing at Turkish Airlines.

In May 2001, he started working as Financial Controller at Turkish Airlines, after which he was made Hong Kong Finance Manager in April 2004. Later, in April 2006, he became Commercial Manager of Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan at Turkish Airlines and later, General Manager, Indonesia in June 2009.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Andras Bognar

Senior Manager, ICF SH&E

Andras Bognar is an economist, specializing in airlines, airports and MROs, with 12 years of experience in aviation. Prior to joining ICF, Andras worked with Malév Hungarian Airlines as an internal consultant.

Andras speaks Russian fluently and one of his regions of focus is the CIS market. He has worked on numerous projects in Russia and the CIS countries for a wide range of clients, including airlines, airports, MROs and government entities.

As an economist, Andras’ technical skills are in forecasting, financial modeling, business process re-engineering, organization design, and related analyses.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Guy Brazeau

Director, IATA Consulting

Since 1999, Guy Brazeau has held positions within IATA with worldwide responsibility at the director level in Consulting, Training and Business intelligence. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Brazeau has been active in the field of aviation in more than 45 countries. During this time, his international achievements also include the negotiation and/or execution of numerous innovative commercial and/or partnership agreements with major international aviation organizations.

More recently, in addition to directing IATA’s consulting services, Guy has managed or contributed to civil aviation, airline and airport strategy management/infrastructure projects in Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining IATA, Guy was Director, Central and Eastern Europe for the International Aviation Management Institute (IAMTI). Guy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the École Nationale d’Administration Publique.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Robert Ludera

Network Planning Manager, LOT Polish Airlines

Robert Ludera is an economist, a graduate of Warsaw School of Economics with M.Sc. in Quantitative Methods in Economics and Information Systems.
Robert has over five years experience in aviation industry. He joined LOT Polish Airlines in 2009 and took various positions in network planning, scheduling, strategy and analyses areas. Actively participated in creation and delivery of successful Restructuring Plan of the airline.
His recent activities were focused on developing a structural change in LOT’s Warsaw hub to improve connectivity with East and Central Europe and to optimize network profitability.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Christophe Viatte

Chief Commercial Officer, airBaltic

Christophe Viatte is Chief Commercial Officer with Air Baltic since beginning of 2014. He has more than 15 year experience in airline industry especially in the field of revenue management, pricing, network planning and business development. He joined Air Baltic from Czech Airlines where he held the position of Executive Director. In this role, he had responsibility for all network planning and revenue management functions and over the past years, he was active member of a project team that successfully lead to the purchase of 44% Czech Airlines shares by Korean Air in April 2013. Prior to joining Czech Airlines, he also held senior management positions with Malev, Porter Airlines and Air Canada. He holds a Bachelor degree in Management Studies from University of Quebec in Montreal. Mr. Viatte is a Swiss native and speaks English, French and German.

Participating Talks and Sessions

George Chogovadze

Head, Georgia National Tourism Administration

George Chogovadze is the Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration. He graduated from the European School of Management, Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration and an MBA and is fluent in English and Russian.

George has an extensive background working in both the private and public sectors. He has worked as General Manager for several companies, including Lufthansa City Centre Central Travel. He has also worked as Deputy General Manager at Swiss Airlines “Swissair” and as the Deputy Head of Economic Affairs at Tbilisi City Hall.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Alla Peressolova

Head of the Silk Road Programme, UNWTO

Ms. Peressolova is the Manager of the UNWTO Silk Road Programme, a collaborative platform composed of 31 Member States. The Programme aims to raise the profile of Silk Road tourism while driving development that is sustainable, responsible and internationally competitive. Ms Peressolova is also responsible for UNWTO’s activities with the major international tourism fairs and has managed several communications and awareness campaigns for UNWTO, including Protect Children from exploitation in tourism and six International and Regional Tourism Communications Conferences (TourCom).

Participating Talks and Sessions

Mark Sixel

President and Owner, Sixel Consulting

Mark Sixel is a nationally recognized leader in air service development. Mark has been working on behalf of airports since graduating from the University of Texas in Austin with his Master Degree in Business Administration. In 1996 he formed “Transportation Solutions, Inc.” in Austin, his first fully owned airport and air services consulting firm.

In 2001, he renamed the company Sixel Consulting Group, Inc. to better reflect the recognition that he had received in the industry. Mark has represented hundreds of airports of varying sizes at airline corporate headquarters, industry conferences and at local community forums. He has also been a featured speaker at numerous aviation conferences, both on the regional and the national level, and is frequently asked by regional and national media from around the nation for his expert views on the industry.

Mark has developed strong, personal relationships with top airline route decision makers and continues to work with them on behalf of airports across the country.  Mark’s innovate solutions to air service challenges have made him a favorite in airline boardrooms around the USA.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Yevgen Treskunov

Strategic Development & International Relations Committee, Airports Association of Ukraine (AAUCA)

Yevgen Treskunov has almost 20 years experience across the aviation industry of Ukraine, of which 16 years are marked with managerial positions.

Following graduation from the National Aviation University of Ukraine in 1997, Mr. Treskunov has started his aviation career at the Airport Authority of Ukraine, where he was dealing with airports economics, performance analysis, feasibility study on airports privatization and management in Europe and USA.

Then, in 2000, Yevgen was invited to lead the strategic development division at the Civil Aviation Administration of Ukraine (CAAU). At CAAU Mr. Treskunov has managed development of the National Programme of Air Transport Development in 2001-2010 and ensured its approval by the Ukrainian Government in July 2001. Yevgen also led a number of projects with involvement of the reputable international institutions, such as TACIS, EBRD, UNDP etc.

After obtaining the MSc in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University (2002-2003) Yevgen Treskunov's further career in 2003-2014 was dedicated to the top management positions at the major airlines of Ukraine: at AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines (2003-2012) as Deputy Director General on Strategy & Fleet and Executive Secretary of their Ukrainian Aviation Group alliance and at Ukraine International Airlines (2012-2014) as Executive Vice President on Strategy and Development.

Since December 2014 Yevgen Treskunov is back to airport business and joined the Airports Association of Ukraine (AAUCA), where he was appointed as Head of Strategic Development and International Relations Committee.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Mike St-Laurent

Senior Consultant, ASM

Mike joined ASM as a Senior Consultant in 2014 after a long career with Air Canada. He has over 34 years of airline industry experience, and has held key positions in Network Planning, Scheduling, Strategy, and Revenue Management.

During his career Mike was instrumental in the planning and launch of many successful new Air Canada routes. In his Network Planning role, he managed the airline’s international route schedule and was responsible for optimizing network profitability, managing the commercial relationships with partner airlines, producing financial evaluations of fleet and network changes, and participating in bilateral negotiations. He also has years of experience in fleet planning, traffic and revenue forecasting, marketing, yield management, and aircraft scheduling.

In his current role Mike provides route development expertise to ASM’s clients, engaging with airlines to secure new routes and new airlines for their airport, city and region.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Giorgi Kvirikashvili

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development & Vice Prime Minister, Georgia

Born in Tbilisi, Kvirikashvili graduated from the Tbilisi State Medical University with a degree in Internal Medicine in 1991 and then from the Tbilisi State University with a degree in Economics in 1995. In 1998, he obtained a master’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois. Kvirikashvili worked as an executive for various banks in Georgia from 1993 to 1999 and as Deputy Head of the Fiscal and Monetary Office at the State Chancellery of the President of Georgia in 1999. From 1999 to 2004, he was member of the Parliament of Georgia and from 2006 to 2011, he was Director General of Cartu Bank. Kvirikashvili was appointed Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia in October 2012 and assumed the position of Vice Prime Minister in July 2013.

Participating Talks and Sessions

George Molodinashvili

Deputy CEO, Airport Operations, United Airports of Georgia (UAG)

George Molodinashvili is Deputy CEO of United Airports of Georgia, responsible manager for Kutaisi David the Builder International Airport and Mestia Airports. He has been holding these positions since February 29th 2011, successfully managing and developing smooth operations of both airports.

Mr. Molodinashvili has obtained Masters Degree in law from Tbilisi State University in 2002 and has graduated from West London Business College with the Diploma in Business Management. From 2003 to 2010 Mr. Molodinashvili was holding the position of the Head of Legal Department at Georgian Airways. From 2010 to 2011 Mr. Molodinashvili held the position of Executive Assistant to the CEO at Palace International Group in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Molodinashvili is fluent in Georgian, Russian and English languages and can speak basic French. 

Participating Talks and Sessions

Evgeny F. van der Geest

Senior Analyst, Risk Advisory, Flightglobal

Evgeny van der Geest joined Ascend in 2014, having previously worked for an asset manager and an aircraft lessor in The Netherlands. Evgeny also worked as a researcher at the Aerospace Engineering faculty of Delft University of Technology, specialising in prognostic aircraft maintenance methods, risk modelling and aviation safety.

As Senior Analyst – Risk Advisory, Evgeny is responsible for Ascend’s Risk Analysis Department, and his responsibilities include analysis of historical aircraft value volatility, which provides Ascend’s global client base to understand and manage risk within their aircraft investment portfolios.  Evgeny works closely with the Head of Consultancy and Head of Valuations to model aircraft Base and Market Values and Lease Rates.  Additionally, Evgeny is responsible for the maintenance, research and the development of Ascend’s existing as well as future Risk Advisory capabilities.

Evgeny’s past experience includes financial and the technical analysis tasks required to execute aircraft and engine transactions of Arena Aviation Capital and its customers.  Evgeny participated in several aircraft remarketing projects and also performed technical risk analysis tasks in a certification project commissioned by EASA.

Evgeny holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology; during his Master’s degree, Evgeny specialised in Flight Performance and Propulsion domain of aircraft design with a primary focus on commercial engines.