Routes Reconnected

Bringing together the global route development community to stimulate recovery

Virtual
30 November - 4 December 2020

Conference Programme Speakers

Benjamin Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Air France-KLM

Benjamin Smith is a senior airline industry veteran, having spent twenty years at Air Canada before joining Air France-KLM as Chief Executive Officer.

In 1990, while at university, he started part time as a Customer Service Agent at Air Ontario.  In 1992 he followed an entrepreneurial path and established his own retail corporate travel agency, successfully running this business for eight years. In 2002 he joined Air Canada, envisioning and subsequently leading its Tango subsidiary.

Benjamin later became Vice President, Network Planning, followed by Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer in 2007, and subsequently President, Airlines (Air Canada, Rouge, Express, Cargo) and Chief Operating Officer in 2014. He assumed overall responsibility for commercial, operations, and customer service functions, and spearheaded their commercial growth strategy, resulting in impressive financial performance.

In August 2018 Benjamin Smith was appointed CEO of Air France-KLM, and in December, a member of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors.

Participating Talks and Sessions

József Váradi

Chief Executive Officer, Wizz Air

After leaving his position of CEO at Malév Hungarian Airlines in 2003, Váradi became Founder and CEO of Wizz Air Group, the fastest growing airline in Europe and the leading low cost carrier in Central and Eastern Europe. Wizz Air operates an ultra-low cost business model with a network of more than 700 routes to 151 destinations in 44 countries across Europe and beyond from 25 operating bases. In early 2015 Wizz Air Holdings Plc carried out a successful IPO and was admitted to the London Stock Exchange and the Company’s current market capitalisation is around 5 billion euros. Váradi is also on the Board of Directors for all factions of Wizz Air Group as well as Lufthansa Technik Budapest and Malév Hungarian Airlines.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Pieter Elbers

Chief Executive Officer, KLM

Pieter (J.Th.) Elbers (1970) - President and Chief Executive Officer – is an airline industry veteran with over 25 years of experience within KLM. He started his career at KLM in 1992 as Manager Aircraft loading, followed by a number of managerial positions in The Netherlands, as well as 6 years abroad (in Italy, Greece, and Japan). He joined the Managing Board of KLM in 2011 as Chief Operating Officer. In 2014, he became President and CEO.

His responsibility is to manage KLM’s overall strategy and performance. In this role, setting strategic priorities in order to leverage the company’s competitive advantage is his primary focus. He is also responsible for external affairs and the relationship with external and internal stakeholders, as well as for further developing and enhancing (joint venture) alliances and (Skyteam) partnerships. Next to that, he is accountable for maintaining a customer focused, innovative and efficient organisation and operation. Important corner stones in reaching his goals are leading a motivated executive team and building a firm and fair corporate culture.

He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Air France KLM Group. Furthermore, he is a member of the Supervisory Board of Marfo B.V, member of the Board of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), member of the International Advisory Board of International Institute of Air & Space Law (IIASL), and member of the Board of Governors of IATA.

Pieter Elbers graduated at the Open University in Amsterdam (Master in Business Administration) and the Academy of Venlo (Bachelor in Logistics Management). In addition, he has completed executive programs at IMD - Lausanne, Columbia University - New York and Tsinghua - Beijing. He is married and has 3 children.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Director General, ACI World

Luis Felipe joined ACI World as Director General in June 2020 bringing with him vast experience in commercial and technical aviation.

He successfully led the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) between October 2017 and May 2020, promoting positive change in the organization. Prior to joining ALTA, Luis Felipe served as World Fuel Services’ Vice President Supply Development for Latin America and Caribbean where he was responsible for improving 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. He also served 12 years at Shell with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa and Europe, based in The Netherlands.

He is a Chemical Engineer and graduated from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and has a postgraduate qualification 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

Robin Hayes

Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways

Robin Hayes is Chief Executive Officer of JetBlue. He joined the company in 2008 and served as the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer until becoming President of the airline in January 2014. Prior to joining JetBlue, Robin was British Airways' Executive Vice President for The Americas.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Felix Antelo

Chief Executive Officer, Viva Air Group

Felix Antelo is Business Administrator of the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Argentina and has more than 19 years of experience in the aeronautical industry, living and working in the most important countries of Latin America. He currently serves as President and CEO of Viva Air Group, the leading group of ultra low cost airlines in Latin America, with operations in Colombia and Peru.

He previously served as CEO of LATAM Airlines Peru, from 2014 to 2018. In addition, he held different positions in LAN/LATAM as Commercial Director in Ecuador; Sales Director and Commercial Director in Argentina and Commercial Vice President in Chile and in Brazil.

Felix was Director of AMCHAM Peru (American Chamber of Commerce of Peru), and has been chosen as one of the most influential business leaders in recent years.

Viva Air has a strong network of domestic and international routes, flying to more than 16 destinations in Latin America. With the purchase of 50 new Airbus 320 aircraft that started arriving last year -15 of the CEO model (current engine option) and 35 NEO (new engine option)-, Viva Air Group plans to expand its model throughout the region in the coming years

Participating Talks and Sessions

Philip Goh

Regional Vice President - Southwest Pacific, Singapore Airlines

Participating Talks and Sessions

Garry Wilson

Chief Executive Officer, Easyjet Holidays

Garry is a highly experienced commercial leader working across international organisations, and has over 21 years’ experience in the holiday and travel sector. He joined the business from TUI Group where he most recently held the role of Managing Director for Group Product and Purchasing, leading commercial strategies across a number of markets and heading a global team across 20 countries. Prior to this, Garry worked in a number of senior commercial roles at TUI Group. He also held the position of Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for American travel group Orbitz Worldwide (now Expedia Inc.).Garry has worked extensively with overseas governments, PwC and the Travel Foundation to create sustainable tourism policies to promote major economic growth and positive social change whilst minimising negative environmental impact. He holds a BCom (Hons) degree in Business Management and Languages from the University of Edinburgh.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Andrea Lusso

Vice President Network Planning, JetBlue

Andrea joined JetBlue in 2012 in the Marketing group, but quickly found his calling in the Network team, where he first spent time building the foundation of route forecasting and capacity planning, before shifting his focus onto long-term strategy and growing to oversee the broader Route Planning team.

Prior to joining JetBlue, Andrea worked in Sales & Marketing at Dassault Falcon Jet, and in Flight Operations at Spirit Airlines. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as well as an MBA from New York University - Stern School of Business. Andrea holds a commercial pilot certificate with multiple ratings, and is a certified flight instructor.

Andrea lives in Brooklyn, New York and enjoys being active outdoors, whether in the sky or on the ground.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Nick Bartolotta

Director, Network Planning, Spirit Airlines

Participating Talks and Sessions

Martin Gauss

Chief Executive Officer, airBaltic

Martin Gauss is a professional with more than 27 years of experience in the aviation industry. Martin Gauss joined airBaltic in November 2011. Under his leadership airBaltic has been successfully restructured and reached sustainable profitability.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Brad Tilden

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Air Group

Brad Tilden serves as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. He also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Airlines and chairman of Horizon Air. The combined airlines have 23,000 employees, 298 aircraft and fly to 116 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, serving more than 44 million guests.

Under the leadership of Tilden and his team, Alaska is focusing on low fares, profitable growth of the route network, and creating an airline people love.  The airline has been named Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America in the J.D. Power North America Satisfaction Study for 11 consecutive years. Alaska also was named “Best U.S. Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler’s annual 2018 Readers' Choice Awards. 

The airline prides itself on giving back through philanthropy, community service and environmental stewardship. Alaska led all 13 major U.S. carriers as the most fuel-efficient airline operating in the United States for the past five consecutive years, outperforming the least fuel-efficient carrier by 25 percent.  Alaska Air Group is a Fortune 500 Company and is among the nation’s most profitable airlines.

Tilden is a 27-year veteran of Alaska Airlines.  He previously served Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines as executive vice president of finance and planning, chief financial officer and corporate controller.  He was president of Alaska Airlines from December 2008 to May 2016, and has been chief executive officer since May 2012.

Before joining Alaska, he spent eight years with Price Waterhouse.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University and an executive master’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington.  

Tilden has been ranked among the Top 50 Corporate Leaders in America by Fortune magazine, named Executive of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal and honored by the Boy Scouts of America as a Distinguished Eagle Scout.

Tilden serves on the boards of the Washington Roundtable, Nordstrom, Boy Scouts of America, Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Airlines for America.

 A Seattle native, Tilden grew up a few miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he developed an early love of aviation.  He holds a commercial pilot’s license and enjoys cycling and outdoor time with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Rikke Munk Christensen

Vice President Networks, Alliances and Commercial Planning, Virgin Atlantic

Participating Talks and Sessions

Anko van der Werff

Chief Executive Officer, Avianca Holdings

Anko van der Werff has had an outstanding global career in the airline industry. In his last position with Aeromexico as Executive and Commercial Vice President for five years he led the company’s Corporate Strategy, Network and Itinerary Planning, Alliances, Pricing & Revenue Management, Sales, Corporate Strategy, Distribution and E-commerce and Marketing.

He held the position of Senior Vice President of Pricing & Revenue Management and Global Sales & Distribution with Qatar Airways prior to joining Aeromexico. He also led Air France-KLM’s Commercial Strategy in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as in the Nordic countries. He also worked for Northwest Airlines and Air France during the first years of his professional career.

Van der Werff holds a Law Degree from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and a graduate degree from Harvard Business School in the United States. He speaks English, Dutch and Spanish fluently. He has also been a guest professor at various international universities including Cranfield in the United Kingdom, Bad Honnef in Germany and Texas A&M University in Qatar.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Thomas Hallam

Chief Executive Officer, Somon Air

Participating Talks and Sessions

Peter Foster

President & Chief Executive Officer, Air Astana

Peter Foster entered the airline industry immediately after graduating from Cambridge University in 1982, as a management trainee of John Swire and Sons (HK) Ltd, the owners of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. From 1982-1999 he served in a variety of management and senior management positions with CPA in Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and Europe, and underwent business management training at INSEAD, France. Mr. Foster left Cathay Pacific Airways in 1999 to head up the rehabilitation team of Philippine Airlines Inc. He subsequently served as Chief Executive Officer of Royal Brunei Airlines from 2002 to 2005 prior to his appointment as President of Air Astana. In the 2015 UK New Year’s Honours List Peter Foster was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to British aviation in Kazakhstan.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Kevin Chan

Senior Advisor, Network Planning & Strategy, Swoop

Participating Talks and Sessions

Peter Cerdá

Regional Vice President The Americas, IATA

Peter’s scope of responsibility extends from North to South America with a large local presence in more than 25 countries across the region.

With over 27 years in aviation, Peter has worked in various functions for IATA and most recently served as Regional Director for Safety, Operations and Infrastructure for the Americas and Atlantic until 2013.

Prior to joining IATA in 1996, Peter started his aviation career with Iberia. Peter speaks English and Spanish having lived in Spain and the US and holds a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Aviation Management from Embry Riddle University and a Bachelor of Business Administration at Florida International University.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Majid Khan

Vice President Aviation Development, İGA İstanbul Havalimanı

Participating Talks and Sessions

Dr. Fang Liu

Secretary General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The Secretary General of ICAO is head of the Secretariat and chief executive officer of the Organization responsible for general direction of the work of the Secretariat. The Secretary General provides leadership to a specialized international staff working in the field of international civil aviation. The Secretary General serves as the Secretary of the Council of ICAO and is responsible to the Council as a whole and, following established policies, carries out the duties assigned by the Council, and makes periodic reports to the Council covering the progress of the Secretariat activities.
 
The Secretariat consists of five main divisions: the Air Navigation Bureau, the Air Transport Bureau, the Technical Co-operation Bureau, the Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau, and the Bureau of Administration and Services. The Secretary General is also directly responsible for the management and effective work performance of the activities assigned to the Office of the Secretary General relating to Finance, Evaluation and Internal Audit, Communications, and seven Regional Offices.
 
The Council of ICAO first appointed Dr. Fang Liu (China) as Secretary General of the Organization for a three-year term, from 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2018. Dr. Liu was reappointed by the Council for a consecutive three year term on 16 March 2018.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Vijay Daryanani

Minister for Business, Tourism, Transport and the Port, Government of Gibraltar

Participating Talks and Sessions

Arik De

Chief Revenue & Network Officer, TAP Air Portugal

Arik De was appointed as CRO of TAP Air Portugal in October, 2019. His responsibilities include network planning, scheduling and slots, revenue management, ancillary, distribution, alliances, and joint ventures.

Before his tenure at TAP, he was the SVP for Revenue Management, Distribution, and Alliances at Aeroméxico, having climbed through the organization from network planning. During his time there, he successfully navigated México’s ultra-competitive aviation landscape and generated continuously positive RASK growth, while facing double digit market ASK growth.

Prior to his time at Aeroméxico, Arik served as the Chief Commercial Head of AirAsia X, where he oversaw all aspects of commercial planning. His aviation career also includes a successful stint at WestJet, where he grew the network from 60 to 120 cities, from 54 to 110 aircraft, and was part of the leadership team that enabled WestJet Encore, the regional arm of WestJet.

Besides Arik’s direct airline experience, he has also been the principal of major airline consulting firms and had over 100 engagements in 65 countries. Arik holds a MPP degree in Finance from The University of Chicago, and is part of a select group of people who have been to all 215 countries.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Thomas Lee Scruby

Vice President Sales - Pacific & North Asia, Qatar Airways

Jeremy Sampson

Chief Executive Officer, The Travel Foundation

Jeremy Sampson is the CEO of the Travel Foundation, a leading NGO in the travel and tourism sector. Based in Bristol UK, Jeremy heads the organisation’s global work to improve the impacts of tourism on people and the environment. Under Jeremy’s leadership, the Travel Foundation is working with travel companies and destinations to better understand the impacts of tourism and maximise its benefits for local people and the environment. He has also been instrumental in spearheading the launch of the Future of Tourism Coalition.

With experience in the tourism, conservation, and sustainability arenas, Jeremy has worked extensively with the public sector, SMEs, multinationals, and civil society. He spent five years as VP of Communications and Partnerships at Sustainable Travel International and another two years as President of international tour operator, GreenSpot Travel. He served as an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies, was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS), and currently serves on the Destination Stewardship Working Group of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Immediately prior to joining the Travel Foundation, Jeremy worked at the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, where he helped to design and manage large-scale transnational EU-funded initiatives, such as DestiMED, and was instrumental in launching the MEET Network, a regional-scale ecotourism network and destination management organization for protected areas across the Med.

Jeremy is an experienced and inspirational speaker on sustainable tourism topics. Recent examples include Phocuswright Europe (2020), Sustainable and Social Tourism Summit (2020), Colorado Governor's Conference on Tourism (2020), World Travel Market (London 2019), keynote speaker at Netherlands Tourism Summit (2019), Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention (Barcelona 2019), EU Maritime Day (Bulgaria 2018 and Portugal 2019), UNWTO Conference on Tourism, Jobs, and Inclusive Growth (Jamaica 2017), IUCN World Conservation Congress (Hawaii 2016). 

Participating Talks and Sessions

Harry Theocharis

Minister of Tourism of Greece

Harry Theocharis is Minister of Tourism of Greece. Mr. Theocharis was first elected in 2015 and on December 18, 2018, he joined the New Democracy party.

He holds a MEng (Hon) in software engineering-first class from Imperial College, London, and has held high-ranking positions in companies of the private sector in Greece and abroad. He has also worked in start-up companies.
During 2011-2012, he served as Secretary General for Information Systems and he is known for introducing new digital services to assist the public, helping reduce bureaucracy and its resulting costs.

He later (2013-14) served as a Secretary General for Public Revenues at the Greek Finance Ministry. There, he succeeded in meeting budget revenues and producing a fiscal surplus. He is also known for launching the www.publicrevenue.gr platform to increase transparency in public administration.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Maribel Rodríguez

Senior Vice President, Membership & Commercial, WTTC

Maribel Rodriguez joined WTTC in 2014. She has built an extensive network within the Travel and Tourism industry public and private sector, accumulating over 20 years of sales, marketing, communication and commercial experience in airline and hospitality industry. She was an Executive Commercial Director and Board Member for Travelodge Hotels Spain from 2008 to 2014 and Member of the Board of Madrid Business Hotel Association. Prior she spent +10 years in the aviation industry, gaining extensive experience in all aspects of commercial aviation managing among others the introduction of low cost airline operations into the Southern European market for: Virgin Express, Go-Fly, EasyJet and Ryanair. She also worked for British Airways for Spain, Portugal and France. Maribel has an Executive Master in Business and Administration at ICADE Business School, Degree in Industrial Psychology from University of Salamanca and holds a Senior Executive Program for Travel & Tourism at IESE & JSF. She speaks fluent English, Portuguese and good level of French and Dutch.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Holger Paulmann

Executive President, SKY Airline

Participating Talks and Sessions

Lyell Strambi

Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Airport

Mr Strambi joined APAC in September 2015. He has extensive experience spanning more than 30 years in the aviation sector both in Australia and overseas. Before joining APAC, Mr Strambi spent six years at Qantas, the last two as CEO of Qantas Domestic. Prior to this he worked for eight years at Virgin Atlantic Airways based in London.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Thomas Kohr

Head of Aviation Marketing, Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Participating Talks and Sessions

Cesare Simonetti

Senior Key Account - Airport route prospects, Air Dolomiti

Participating Talks and Sessions

Gaute Riise

Vice President Traffic Development, Avinor

Gaute joined Avinor in 2016 and since march 2020 is responsable for the traffic development of the airport group, consisting of 43 airports in Norway. Prior to joining Avinor, Gaute worked as an airline pilot, as well as completed an MBA in aviation management, giving him a multifaceted approach to his work.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Enrique Beltranena

Chief Executive Officer, Volaris

Participating Talks and Sessions

Speaker TBC

AFRAA

Michael Bell

Senior Client Partner in the Civil Aviation Practice, 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

Brand Director, 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

David Casey

Senior Network Planning Editor, Routes

Participating Talks and Sessions

Tony Griffin

Senior Vice President Consulting, ASM Global Route Development

Participating Talks and Sessions

Ilona Cambron

Director, Air Service Development, ASM Global Route Development

Participating Talks and Sessions