Routes Americas 2020

The route development forum for the Americas

Indianapolis, USA
4 - 6 February 2020

Conference Programme Speakers

Peter Cerdá

Regional Vice President, The Americas, IATA

Peter Cerdá is the Regional Vice President in the Americas for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association whose 275 member airlines transport more than 83% of total air traffic.

Based in Miami, Mr. Cerdá leads a multinational team of professionals who proactively pursue IATA’s industry priorities with government authorities and industry stakeholders to make air transport safer, more secure, efficient and profitable. His scope of responsibility extends from North to South America with a large local presence in more than 25 countries across the region. He is also IATA’s major shareholder for Cargo Network Services (CNS) and the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN).
Mr. Cerdá possesses a wealth of industry experience acquired over 27 years in aviation. He has worked in various functions for IATA and most recently, he served as Regional Director for Safety, Operations and Infrastructure for the Americas and Atlantic until 2013. Prior to joining IATA in 1996, Mr. Cerdá started his aviation career with Iberia.

Fluent in English and Spanish, Mr. Cerdá was born in Spain and received his Masters Degree in Aeronautics and Aviation Management from Embry Riddle University and a Bachelor of Business Administration at Florida International University.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Executive Director & CEO, ALTA

Luis Felipe is a Chemical Engineer graduated from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro with vast experience in commercial and technical aviation fuel. He is successfully leading ALTA since last October 2017 with very positive changes in the organization. Prior to joining, Luis Felipe served as World Fuel Services’ Vice President Supply Development for Latin America and Caribbean where he was responsible to improve World Fuel’s aviation fuel business in the region. 

For 10 years, Luis Felipe served IATA, leading fuel and airport campaigns with governments, oil companies, fuel service providers and airports for the Americas, Africa and the Middle East regions, based in Switzerland. Additionally, he served 12 years at Shell companies with focus in Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly, Africa and Europe, based in The Netherlands. Since May 2019, he has served as a Board Member of the HERMES Air Transport Organization, and since January 2020, he has served as On Time performance Advisory Board Member of the Cirium.

Luis Felipe has a postgraduate in Finance from the University of São Paulo, an MBA from Dom Cabral Foundation in São Paulo, and Post MBA from Kellogg University in Chicago. 

Participating Talks and Sessions

Michael J. Bell

Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry

Michael was previously with a global recruiting firm, where he founded and led the Global Aviation, Aerospace & Defense Practice. He provides top-level executive search and leadership advisory services to a broad range of clients in the aviation aerospace, airline, and airport sectors.

Over his 23 years in the profession, Michael has led over 1,000 searches for aviation and aerospace organizations around the globe, including numerous CEO and C-level mandates. Michael is also active in the Board Practice and has assisted numerous aerospace and aviation sector clients in the recruitment of outstanding board directors.

Earlier in his career, Michael enjoyed seven years at McKinsey & Company with a specific focus on the firm’s Organizational Performance Practice. Prior to McKinsey, he worked at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto, where he partnered with the dean, the faculty and the dean’s advisory council on a broad range of development areas, including strategic planning, program development, fundraising, community and alumni relations.

Michael is an active contributor to the latest thinking on leadership in the aviation arena and serves as a regular speaker and moderator at industry conferences, having addressed audiences at over 100 events on five continents. In addition, he has authored several industry studies on leadership and published numerous articles in aviation and aerospace industry trade media.

Michael holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto.

He speaks English, French and Arabic and has worked in more than 60 countries around the globe.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Steven Small

Director of Events, Routes

An economic development and tourism specialist, Steven’s career has focussed on working with destinations supporting inward investment, tourism and economic development initiative.

Roles in inward investment, specifically site selection and project management, led Steven to the Northwest Regional Development Agency, where he developed a grant to help support regional airports' route development strategies.

As a consultant at Ernst and Young, Steven worked on a number of projects for both private and public sector organisations, including supporting the development of the business plan for Bath City Council. Back in Manchester he joined the city’s inward investment agency, MIDAS, helping attract businesses to the city.

From here, he moved to Marketing Manchester working on a variety of projects including funding packages for Manchester Central - the city’s main convention venue and the new National Football Museum, as well as delivering the route development fund for Manchester Airport. Steven then took on the role of Head of Business Tourism for Visit Manchester, working to attract major new events and conferences to the city.

Steven moved back to his home town of Liverpool as Head of Tourism, working with public and private stakeholders to develop a long term strategy to maximise the explosion of the visitor economy, since the European Capital of Culture in 2008, and ensure the city region continues to improve its offer and grow sustainably.

A move to UBM in February 2017 brought Steven back to route development. As Brand Director, Steven leads a team in the development and delivery of Routes - a portfolio of global events providing a platform for the route development community to negotiate new air services.

A father of two, Steven is a supporter of Everton football club and lives in a village in North Cheshire.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Fernando Estrada

VP of Strategy, Business Development & Ancillary Revenues, Viva Aerobus

An aviation industry professional with more than 15 years of strategic planning expertise, analytical acumen, revenue generation, operational experience and proven leadership abilities. Also Board Member experience in Vueling Airlines and GoldCar Rental.

As VP Strategy, Network Planning,Business Development and Ancillary Revenue, reporting to the CEO, responsible to further develop the ULCC model combining a profitable network expansion while maximizing Ancillary Revenue stream and keeping the lowest cost in the region.

As Chief Strategy Officer at Vueling Airlines, reporting to the CEO, responsible for Business Development, Network planning and Alliances. Prior to that led the team responsible of the merger between Vueling and clickair where he enrolled in 2007.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Jude Bricker

President and CEO, Sun Country Airlines

Jude was appointed Sun Country’s President and CEO in July of 2017.  He previously served as the COO and EVP of Allegiant Travel Co. Prior to his career with Allegiant, Jude was a finance manager at American Airlines. From 1996 to 2002, he served as an Infantry Officer in the US Marine Corps. Jude is a native Texan, and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Masters of Business Administration from University of Texas. Jude, his wife, Ty, and their three children reside in Deephaven, MN.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Bryan Bedford

President & Chief Executive Officer, Republic Airways

Bryan Bedford has more than 30 years of experience in the airline industry. He joined Republic in July 1999 as president and CEO. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Mesaba Holdings, Inc. in Minneapolis, as well as Business Express Airlines, Inc. in Boston. During his years at the helm of Republic, the airline has grown from $85 million in revenues and 36 turboprop aircraft to more than $1.3 billion in revenues and an operating fleet of nearly 200 Ejet aircraft.

In 1997 and 2004, Regional Airline World named him Airline Executive of the Year. In 2009, he received the same honor from Airline Business. In 1998, the Minneapolis Business Journal named Mr. Bedford to its 40 under 40 list, and in 2000 The Indianapolis Business Journal named him to their 40 under 40 list. Mr. Bedford earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Florida State University and was a certified public accountant. Mr. Bedford holds commercial, multi-engine and instrument pilot ratings.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Alvaro Leite

Chief Commercial Officer, Aerodom / VINCI Airports

Alvaro Leite has 14 years of airport experience in varying roles. Since September 2017, he has been employed as Chief Commercial Officer at Aerodom, part of VINCI Airports (VINCI Airports manages 46 airports in 11 different countries counting on more that 200M passenger per year) and he has been based in Santo Domingo since then. He manages all commercial affairs for all Aerodom airports’ as well as business planning and strategy development: route development, cargo, commercial retail, F&B, car parking advertisement and passenger experience. Alvaro also has an important role representing VINCI Airports in the region.

In his last role, Project Director for VINCI Airports in Paris, he was responsible for assessing the aviation potential for the bids and M&A projects in which VINCI Airports participate with especial focus on the Americas and Caribe. Together with providing a long-term traffic forecast and defining the future strategy for potential new airports, he also plays an on ongoing role in the integration and optimisation of some of the Airline Marketing Departments of VINCI Airports portfolio.

Since joining VINCI Airports, he participated in several tender processes around the world and has a been a key member of the successful team which won the concession of Osaka Airports (two airports in Japan), Aerodom (six airports in Dominican Republic) and Salvador Airport in Brazil.

Prior to this, he worked for 9 years at Porto Airport (ACI/ASQ Best European Airport 2007, 2016) where he was responsible for airline marketing. Porto was a very successful story. From 3.4 million passengers in 2006, it served 7 million passengers in 2014 and reached 10M passengers in 2017.

Due to the nature of his roles he has a vast knowledge of the aviation industry, the markets in different geographies and the challenges airlines and airports face.

During his studies and professional career Alvaro Leite lived in six different countries. He holds an International MBA (Universidade Catolica Porto / ESADE Barcelona) and a Masters in Electronic Engineering and he is fluent in five languages. His professional path helped him to learn, understand and appreciate different cultures and people and to adapt to multicultural environments, an important attribute given the international nature of the aviation industry.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Subodh Karnik

President & CEO, ExpressJet Airlines and Chairman, ManaAir LLC

Participating Talks and Sessions

Steve Harfst

Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Airlines

Steve Harfst was named President & Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Airlines LLC in March 2019. Eastern is a fully certificated scheduled and charter airline operating a fleet of eight passenger configured B767 aircraft. He has over 30 years of leadership experience in the military, domestic and international commercial aviation industry having previously served as President of Propeller Airports, COO of Allegiant Air, President & CEO of USA 3000 Airlines, the start-up COO of IndiGo, one of the world’s fastest growing, most successful and most profitable airlines and COO of North American Airlines.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington in 1986. Upon graduation, he entered Naval Flight Training and in 1989, he earned his coveted “Wings of Gold. He served a ten-year career as a Naval Officer piloting the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat accumulating over 1,600 hours of flight time and 227 arrested landings. Steve resides in Newtown Square, PA with his wife Lauren and they have four children: Gabrielle, Leighton, Emory and Logan.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Atif Elkadi

Deputy Executive Officer, Ontario International Airport Authority

Atif Elkadi has more than 17 years of extensive senior-level experience in all aspects of strategic marketing, social media, brand management, public relations, marketing, advertising and strategic communications. 

Atif is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Ontario International Airport and is responsible for the day to day operations, overall strategic communications, community engagement, social media, marketing, advertising and public relations while finding new and innovative approaches to increasing revenue.  In his previous role as a Senior Corporate Communications Manager he was responsible for developing the overall communication strategy, implementing and managing strategic communication initiatives which support the organizational strategic objectives and initiatives for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the world.

He has international airport experience having worked at Dubai International Airport, the busiest airport in the world for international passengers. He developed and managed internal communications, customer service communications and social media for Dubai Airport while developing communication strategies to support employee and customer service communications.

Atif has a master’s Degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.




Participating Talks and Sessions

Álvaro González

Chief Executive Officer, Bogota El Dorado International Airport

Álvaro González was named as General Manager in OPAIN S.A on the 1st of september, 2017.  He is an Airport Administrator from Escuela Técnica Aeronáutica DGAC (Chile) and has more than 20 years of experience in the airport management sector.

Before joining OPAIN S.A he was the General Manager at the Ernesto Cortizzos International Airport in Barranquilla. He has been the Operations Director at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Quito, Ecuador) and at Unique-Idc, the concession in charge of the international airports in Honduras.

He also has experience with many relevant airport operations companies such as Airport Worldwide (Houston, USA) and Vancouver Airport Services, among other important projects within the sector.

Among the challenges Mr. González have been face at El Dorado there is the supervision of the final building phase of the expansion and modernization process in the terminal and the consolidation of the team´s effort in the quest to offer the best experiences to its clients and users. In terms of international recognitions, Mr. González is in charge of achieving the Five Star qualification given by Skytrax and will lead the process to preserve the title as Best Airport in SouthAmerica achieved by El Dorado in the World Airport Awards during the last two years.  

Participating Talks and Sessions

Rafael Moreira Mello Araujo

Airline Network Planning and Scheduling Executive, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes

A true affectionate of aviation since a child, Rafael’s career in air transportation began in 2003 when he joined Brazil’s Civil Aviation authority within the Air Services Planning department.

In the end of 2007 he joined GOL’s Schedule Planning team and achieved an executive role in 2011, leading all Scheduling processes (time of day and day of week planning, tactical capacity and fleet planning, slot and regulatory approvals, on-time performance improvements, among others).

From 2013 to 2018 he leaded GOL’s Network Planning and Strategy structure. The main activities of the department includes the 5 year plan update, seasonal planning, route forecasting, strategic partners relationship, passenger choice modeling and competitive network analysis.

Since 2018 Rafael is the head of GOL’s network team, overseeing Scheduling and Network Planning functions.

Rafael holds an MBA in Transportation Management by Fundacao Dom Cabral, a Bachelor degree in Meteorology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Commercial Pilot License.


Participating Talks and Sessions

David Casey

Senior Network Planning Editor, Routes

David is responsible for providing insight to the Routesonline community through the latest breaking news, as well as regular features and analysis on developments and trends within the sector. He previously spent 11 years as a business journalist, which included five as the editor of an award-winning digital news team.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Karen Walker

Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief, Aviation Week Network

Karen Walker is ATW’s Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She had been covering the aerospace industry for almost 30 years. She has specialist knowledge in training, simulation, safety and aeropolitics.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Andrew O’Brian

President & CEO, QUIPORT

Mr. O´Brian is an internationally experienced airport leader who is currently President & CEO of QUIPORT. Andrew has been part of a global team of lenders, investors, developers and engineers to finance, build and operate a brand new Greenfield international airport in the city of Quito, at 2700 meters in the high Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The airport today provides 8,000 full time jobs to the community with hundreds of millions of dollars of direct and indirect impact to the city and the country; while passenger air service and cargo has grown year on year since opening in 2013. Under his leadership, the Quito Airport has received close to 30 industry and passenger awards including consecutive accolades as South American´s Leading Airport from World Travel Awards, and Best Regional Airport and the 4 stars qualification from Skytrax.

Before joining QUIPORT, Mr. O’Brian was CEO of AERODOM in the Dominican Republic; a challenging package of 6 airports with significant political risk to multilateral lenders, investors and substantial capital investment programs wrapped in to a volatile Latin American business environment.

Andrew is presently the President of the Airports Council International (ACI) Latin America / Caribbean – Regional Board which represents the interests of 69 operators present in more than 275 airports in 34 countries in the region. He also sits on the ACI World Governing Board.

Mr. O´Brian is a sought-after speaker in several industry conferences. He holds an MBA with a specialization in Aviation from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, a Diploma in International Management from Vancouver’s Capilano University and a BA in Political Science from British Columbia’s University of Victoria.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Alex Heiter

Director Airline Network, Fleet & Revenue Planning, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Alex Heiter, a 23-year veteran of the aviation industry, joined Boeing Commercial Airplanes in June 2006. He is currently a Director overseeing the Airline Network, Fleet & Revenue Planning team within the marketing organization.

Alex leads a group responsible for analyzing and planning route networks, developing fleet plans, valuing airplane interior configurations and airplane payload/range capability.  Prior to his current assignment Alex was a long range product forecasting focal for the Boeing annual Current Market Outlook (CMO), a 20-year view of the worldwide demand for commercial airplanes.  Alex’s duties also include providing consultative services to BCA senior management on various issues regarding the global airline marketplace.

Prior to joining the company Alex worked Continental Airlines, where he served as Director of Schedule Planning. Other positions held at Continental included Strategic Planning, International Route Planning, Pricing and Revenue Management. Alex has also worked for Sabre Airline Solutions as a principal in their airline consulting practice.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.  He resides in suburban Seattle, Washington with his wife and two children.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Werner Geissbuhler

Corporate Finance & Strategy Director, Sky Airline

Mr. Werner Geissbühler is SKY’s Corporate Finance and Strategy Director, position he assumed in October 2016. His current functions include management control, corporate finance, network planning and corporate strategy. He has an Industrial Engineering degree from Universidad Católica de Chile and a MBA from London Business School. Prior his studies in London, Mr. Geissbühler was Senior Manager of Corporate Finance at LATAM Airlines Group, where we worked between 2008 and 2014 and was responsible for aircraft financing, financial planning and risk analysis.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Alex De Gunten

Business Development Officer, HEICO Aerospace

Alex de Gunten is the Business Development Officer for HEICO Aerospace Corporation and Advisor to the Executive Board of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA). HEICO Aerospace is focused on PMAs, OEM and DER Repair, Defense, and Distribution products and services. Previously he served as Executive Director of ALTA, VP International of LanChile as well as holding different leadership roles at Canadian Airlines International.

Alex is the 2014 recipient of Air Transport World’s Decade of Excellence Award, 2013 recipient of ALTA’s Federico Bloch Award, co-recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation-Boeing's 2012 Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award and 2012 recipient of the Greater Miami Aviation Association's Juan Trippe Award. Alex is also a member of the prestigious Airline Business Airline Strategy Awards judging panel and a frequent speaker at commercial aviation events.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Leonard Hoops

President & CEO, Visit Indy

Leonard Hoops has served as president & CEO of Visit Indy since 2011.  He leads a team of 63 industry professionals charged with growing Central Indiana’s economy by driving the region’s $5.4 billion convention, tourism and event industry.

Under Hoops’ leadership, Visit Indy has shattered all-time records for convention and tourism sales, delivering $1+ billion annually in incremental economic impact and a 90-to-1 return on investment from public funding while also being a four-time “Best Place to Work in Indiana.” During his tenure, Indianapolis has been named the #1 convention city in America by USA Today and a top visitor destination by The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and Travel + Leisure.

Prior to Visit Indy, Hoops was executive vice president & chief customer officer of San Francisco Travel where his teams produced all-time records for convention sales and international group tourism.  In Hoops’ 30+ years of corporate and destination marketing experience, he has also served as senior vice president & chief marketing officer of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, senior vice president of marketing for the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau, and as a corporate communications manager for a Fortune 120 company.

Hoops has been named an “Indiana Living Legend” by the Indiana Historical Society, one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Successful Meetings magazine, and one of the “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality & Travel Sales & Marketing” by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). He has also received the Sloan-Kettering Award for Business from Delta Upsilon Fraternity, the Kurt Vonnegut Humor Award, and is a two-time recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from Indiana’s Center for Leadership Development.

Hoops currently serves on two global boards – the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Board of Directors and Destinations International Foundation’s Board of Trustees. In Indiana, Hoops serves on the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) Commission, and the Boards of the Indy Chamber, Downtown Indy, the Indiana Sports Corp., the Conner Prairie Museum, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, and the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship. He has also chaired the Central Indiana March of Dimes’ March for Babies campaign.

Hoops earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Jose State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.  He and his wife, Dorene, have a son, Cannon (14), and a daughter, Avalon (7).

Participating Talks and Sessions

Nick Han

Manager Route Planning, JetBlue

Nick joined JetBlue back in 2014 on the Revenue Management team where he spent two years determining optimal ticket prices for markets in the Latin and Caribbean regions. From there, he transitioned into the Route Planning world, a place he’s been in for the last three and a half years. During this time, Nick worked on both short term capacity planning and long term projects that include the order for 60 A220-300s and the announcement of transatlantic flying. Today, his team is responsible for a wide range of analyses that include evaluating competitive dynamics, assessing schedule pattern quality, and calibrating route forecasting.

Nick graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences along with a double major in Economics. Nick was born and raised in New York City and currently resides in Queens, New York.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Frederik Jacobsen

CEO, Flycana

Fred Jacobsen is CEO and seed investor of Flycana (airline start-up in the Dominican Republic) effective February 15,

Fred has accumulated 35 years of professional experience in commercial aviation. Before Flycana, he served as COO of
Swissport Cargo Services USA from August 2016 until August 2018, and as Head of Business Transformation from May
2018 until February 2019. Before Swissport, Fred was co-founder and senior partner of Airlogistix- a Colombian consulting
firm involved in airport (cargo and passenger) infrastructure design and development, and in warehouse layout design and
automation. Airlogistix also operated a certified repair station for unmotorized airline ground equipment and air cargo

In addition to founding Aviation Logistics Solutions (ALS), the predecessor company of Airlogistix; in 2008, he was cofounder
(May 2008 – January 2011) and President & CEO (February 2011 – January 2013) of VivaColombia (a Colombian
ultra-low-cost airline); President & CEO of Tampa Cargo (April 1998 – June 2007), a leading all-cargo airline in the
Americas. From 1994 to 1997, he was DHL Worldwide Express’ Country Operations Manager for Colombia. From 1989 to
1994, Fred held various positions in Challenge Air Cargo (an all-cargo airline based in Miami, FL) from management
trainee to strategic planning analyst, to Country Manager for Venezuela (April 1992 – April 1994.) Before Challenge Air
Cargo, he worked as a traffic agent and flight dispatcher for Lufthansa in Bogota, Colombia.

He built his career in commercial aviation from the ground up, assuming a variety of junior and C-level positions in airline
management, airline passenger/cargo, and express-cargo operations, corporate finance, strategic management, airline
planning, ground handling, and sales and marketing. As CEO of VivaColombia, Fred was in charge of certifying and
launching operations of the new carrier; and in Tampa Cargo, he led the process to restructure and transform the airline
from bankruptcy to profitability and growth. He also participated as a speaker in various international cargo forums and
seminars, including Cargo Facts, TIACA, Air Cargo Americas, the Latin America Airline CEO Conference, the Freighters
World Conference, and the GECAS Air Cargo Conference.

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Colombian Air Transport Association (ATAC) from April 1998 to June
2007; and of Azul & Blanco (Millonarios FC), a professional football club in Colombia, from 2014 to 2016. Fred also served
in the Colombian armed forces from 1980 to 1981, completing with honors his one-year compulsory military service.
Fred holds a B.S. in Air Transportation Management Technology from Arizona State University and a master’s in business
administration (MBA) from the University of Texas. He attended the CEO Program at Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University and was the recipient of academic scholarships at Arizona State University and the University of
Texas. In the last quarter of 2015, Fred completed the MBA course Leadership in the 21st Century at the Jack Welch
Management Institute Strayer University.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Jose Manuel Mino Castaneda

Strategic Planning Senior Manager, Sky Airline

Mr. José Manuel Mino joined SKY in 2015. Currently he is SKY’s Strategic Planning Senior Manager, position he assumed in June 2017 after leading the Scheduling department. His functions include corporate strategy, PMO, new routes development, network and fleet planning.

He has an Industrial Engineering degree from Universidad de Chile and a MBA from Universidad Católica de Chile.

Prior SKY, Mr. Mino worked at LATAM Airlines Group between 2009 and 2014, as the Crew and Maintenance Senior Manager at the International BU and as Project Manager at Operations.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Mario Rodriguez

Executive Director, Indianapolis Airport Authority

Mario Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, representing the award-winning Indianapolis International Airport (IND). Under his leadership, the airport has experienced record-breaking passenger traffic, announced major economic development projects, and has been recognized as the Best Airport in North America and the United States, year after year from prestigious organizations such as J.D. Power, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TripAdvisor, and Airports Council International.

Rodriguez is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in aviation. He is an appointee of both the Obama and Trump administrations to the United States Department of Transportation’s Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection. He has been honored with a United States Congressional Recognition, conferred by Congressman André Carson in 2019 and is the recipient of one of the State of Indiana's highest honors, a Sagamore of the Wabash, conferred by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2018. Prior to IND, he was the former president of the California Airports Council and was named in 2012 as one of the ten most powerful people in Long Beach. 

He is an active community leader and board member of numerous philanthropic and business organizations such as the Indianapolis and Indiana Chamber of Commerce, 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Visit Indy, Indiana Sports Corp., Economic Club, and the Indy 500 Festival Committee. He is the former board president of the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI), whose mission is to improve health and advance the education of Indiana’s Latino communities. Under his leadership, the institute expanded from serving 100 high school students to more than 2,800 in 2019.   

Rodriguez is an engineering graduate of the University of Miami (1987), attended the Harvard Kennedy School, and is an accomplished author and speaker on issues impacting the aviation industry. For over 30 years, he has held leadership positions in aviation around the world from Hong Kong to Indiana.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Hayden Newton

Chief Executive Officer, Airports Authority of Trinidad & Tobago

Mr. Hayden Newton is an Attorney at Law having been called to the bar in Trinidad and Tobago in October 1998. He is currently the General Manager of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (“the Authority”), a position in which he has served since September 2013.  The Authority is responsible for two International Airports; the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and the ANR Robinson International Airport in Tobago. The two airports are among the most modern airports in the Caribbean with passenger statistics of 3 million passengers annually combined; they were rated by the world Economic Forum 2016 as second only to Tocumen Panama in terms of infrastructure development in the Airport Council International Latin America and Caribbean (ACI/LAC) region. 

Mr. Newton joined the Authority as Corporate Secretary and Legal Advisor in November 2005 and served in the position until July 2010 when he was appointed to the position of Deputy General Manager, Corporate Services and Legal Advisor, a position which he held from July 2010 to August 2013. In this position he had responsibility for the Finance, Human Resources, Aviation Training, Information Technology, Record Management and Legal Departments of the Authority. 

 As General Manager he has led the process of transforming the Authority into a robust and successful organization with positive Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) for each year of his stewardship. He has also lead the implementation of the organization’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 with the vision “To be the leader of diverse and innovative aviation business in the region”, with a focus on learning, growth and talent management of the airports staff. To this extent 23 of our Managers have participated in the Airport Council International/International Civil Aviation Organization (ACI/ICAO) Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP) and have attained the International Airport Professional (IAP) designation, the highest number of persons in the ACI/LAC region airports. As a consequence, Piarco International Airport the larger of our two airports has been among the top 10 airports in the LAC region in the categories of best airport and best airport staff of the Skytrax Airports Awards, for the last five years.

Prior to joining the Authority, Mr. Newton served at Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago (1978) Limited (“LATT”) an asphalt producing company in Trinidad, in the capacity of Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel, Manager Corporate Services and General Manager.  

Mr. Newton holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in Economics from University of the West Indies, St Augustine Trinidad (“UWI”); a Bachelor of Law (Honours) Degree from the University of London, England and a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School, St Augustine Trinidad.

Mr. Newton also holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Aviation Management from the UWI and he attained the IAP certification in December 2008 as one of the early graduates of the AMPAP programme.  He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the IAP Community of Practice which is mandated to develop and maintain the accreditation of the AMPAP programme among others things.

Mr. Newton also developed and tutored in the Aviation and Insurance Law elective of the Masters of Aviation Management Programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Trinidad during the period 2010 to 2012.Mr. Newton has previously instructed in the Air law modules of the Air Transport System (ATS) Gateway course at Maputo International Airport, Mozambique; the Hartfield International Airport in Atlanta, USA and at the Brisbane International Airport in Brisbane, Australia

Mr. Newton also currently serves on the following bodies in Trinidad and Tobago:

-The Board of the Employers Consultative Association

-The National Productivity Council of Trinidad and Tobago

-The Standing Negotiation Committee on Air Services of Trinidad and Tobago

Participating Talks and Sessions