Routes Americas 2022

The route development forum for the Americas

San Antonio, Texas
15 - 17 February 2022

Conference Programme Speakers

Juan Carlos Zuazua

CEO, VivaAerobus

Juan Carlos is the CEO of Viva Aerobus, Mexico’s Ultra-Low Cost Carrier.

He was part of the founding team of Viva Aerobus. He started in the Commercial Department and became CEO in 2010 at age 29.

Since then, Viva Aerobus has grown with a CAGR of 25%, it has one of the lowest unit costs worldwide (CASMx US 3.4c), ancillaries represent almost 50% of their revenues, and it has a 30% domestic market share.

Juan Carlos has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Monterrey’s Technological University and a Master´s Degree in Public Policy from the Public Policy School of Monterrey’s Technological University.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Rafael Echevarne

Director General, ACI LAC

Rafael Echevarne is the Director General of Airports Council International – Latin America and the Caribbean (ACILAC). Previously he was CEO of Montego Bay Airport, Jamaica, and held positions in international organizations and airport companies in Europe, Australasia and the Middle East, specialising in airport economic regulation, privatisation and infrastructure and business development. Rafael holds a PhD in Air Transport Economics from Cranfield University, UK.

Participating Talks and Sessions

José Ricardo Botelho

Executive Director & CEO, ALTA

José Ricardo Botelho is a Lawyer from the Catholic University of Salvador, Brazil with vast experience in civil aviation and public service.

Prior to joining ALTA, José Ricardo served for 4 years as President of the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and, for about 2 and a half years as Brazil's Alternate Diplomatic Delegate to ICAO, actively participating in the amendments to the text of the Tokyo Convention, in the works relevant to Brazil's entry in ICAO’s Public Key Directory (PKD), and in the systematization of API (Advanced Passenger Information), besides having worked on the rules against acts of unlawful interference (AVSEC) for civil aviation.

José Ricardo holds a postgraduate degree in Criminal Sciences from Jorge Amado University and a postgraduate degree in Public Security Management from the National Police Academy, both from Brazil. José Ricardo is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, English and French.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Wei Jin

Director of Network Planning, Volaris

Wei is responsible for strategy, network planning and scheduling at Volaris. He joined the airline in February 2020, just as the COVID pandemic reached Mexico. Wei has been instrumental in forming Volaris’ recovery plans and is now focused on guiding the airline as it grows beyond its pre-pandemic levels. 

Prior to joining Volaris, Wei led the network planning department for the AirAsia Group based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was an aviation consultant with InterVISTAS Consulting in Vancouver, Canada. With 10 years of experience across various geographies, Wei’s global perspective positions him as a key strategist in shaping Volaris’ future.

Wei holds a bachelor's degree in commerce, specializing in transportation and logistics from the University of British Columbia and a diploma in airport operations from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Wei was born in China and immigrated to Canada as a child, thus he is fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Barry Michaels

Founder & CEO, Avatar Airlines

Barry is the creator and visionary leader of Avatar Airlines. As a successful entrepreneur, Barry has over forty years of business experience starting, running, and assisting others in numerous ventures & successful businesses across the country, some spanning the entire globe. Barry has spent the last 27 years of his life in practical observation and study of the domestic aviation market, with a focus on “low cost” airline models.

Barry started his career as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 1969 after earning his degree from the New York College of Chiropractic. He returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (2005) and a Master of Public Administration degree (2007) from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Barry has been a candidate for the U.S. Senate and Congress as well as a frequent speaker at numerous airlines shows since 1993.

As Chief Executive Officer, Barry is responsible for vetting and providing the day-to-day leadership to Avatar’s c-level executives, identifying the myriad of issues Avatar faces as a startup airline, providing solutions and strategies, implementing numerous independent and parallel processes to ensure Avatar will meet the managerial, operational, financial and compliance requirements of the DOT to achieve certification.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Henning Greiser

Director International Planning, American Airlines

Participating Talks and Sessions

Alvaro Leite

Director Aviation Development, VINCI Airports

Kenneth Gibson

Head of Business Development, TIACA

Kenneth Gibson is the Head of Business Development at The International Air Cargo Association.

He’s been with the organization since 2015; supporting members in growing their brands and strengthening their industry relationships.

Kenneth holds Master of Science degree in Global Strategic Communications, with a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Consensus Building from Florida International University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Kenneth is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Fluent in English and Spanish… with a touch of Portuguese.

Jude Bricker

CEO, Sun Country

Jude Bricker has served as our Chief Executive Officer since July 2017. Mr. Bricker has 17 years of experience in the aviation industry. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of Allegiant Travel Company from January 2016 to June 2017, as well as various other leadership roles from 2006 to 2016. As Chief Operating Officer of Allegiant Travel Company, Mr. Bricker was the senior executive responsible for marketing, network, operations, treasury, fleet, scheduling, pricing, ancillary products, digital, distribution, charters, loyalty and investor relations. From July 2004 to May 2006, Mr. Bricker was a finance manager at American Airlines. Mr. Bricker holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Texas.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Lukas Johnson

CCO, Breeze

Lukas Johnson joined Breeze Airways in November 2018, having come from previous senior leadership roles at Canada Jetlines and Allegiant Travel Company. At Breeze he oversees the revenue, network strategy, marketing, technology, and guest experience teams.

Lukas started his aviation career with Allegiant as part of their Revenue Management team in 2010, leaving his final role of Senior Vice President, Commercial in 2018. Prior to joining the field of aviation, he worked as an actuary for Transamerica and Milliman Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Northwestern University.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Bjørn Tore Larsen

CEO, Norse Atlantic

Bjørn Tore Larsen is the founder, CEO and the major shareholder of Norse Atlantic Airways, Bjørn Tore has been interested in and passionate about aviation for as long as he can remember. He holds several type ratings, including the Boeing 747.

Bjørn Tore has extensive international shipping experience, which includes founding and controlling OSM Maritime Group in 1989, a ship owning company headquartered in Norway with more than 16,000 employees internationally and ADS Maritime Holding, a company listed on the Euronext Growth Exchange in Oslo. He is the majority shareholder of OSM Flight Academy, which has pilot schools in the U.S., Norway and Sweden. He is also the majority shareholder of OSM Airtech, which offers aircraft maintenance services in Norway and Sweden.

Bjørn Tore is a self-made entrepreneur who spent a year at sea when he was 16. Soon after returning home to go to high school, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a businessman, and at the age of 18 acquired a travel agency near his now hometown of Arendal, Norway. Three years later he founded OSM Maritime, which is now among the largest ship management companies in the world.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Marc Anderson

President & CEO, Visit San Antonio

As President and CEO of Visit San Antonio, Marc Anderson is a leading figure in San Antonio’s $15.2 billion hospitality industry, the third-largest business sector in the community. San Antonio ranks as the top tourism destination in the state of Texas, attracting more than 40 million visitors in 2019.

Anderson, who joined Visit San Antonio in May 2021, has nearly three decades of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, including work in global sales, marketing, public relations and e-commerce. For six years before heading to Texas, Anderson was Chief Operating Officer for Choose Chicago, the sales and marketing entity for the City of Chicago, and McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. When he arrived at Choose Chicago in 2015, he implemented a short-term leisure and group marketing strategy that dramatically increased short-term business in a 36-month window for McCormick Place and city hotels.

Most recently, Anderson was critical in the rebuilding of Chicago’s hospitality industry by designing and implementing a tactical COVID-19 Recovery Plan that included dynamic sales, marketing and media relations initiatives to generate new short-term group and leisure opportunities. He is introducing a similar proactive strategy in spearheading the rehabilitation of San Antonio’s impactful travel landscape.

Anderson, a graduate of Drake University, owns extensive international experience, promoting the United States as well as developing new territories with influential relationships in Canada, China and the Middle East. Prior to Choose Chicago, Anderson was the Regional Director of Marketing for The Peninsula Hotels, for which he oversaw the regional sales, marketing, public relations and e-commerce office for all the company’s business development in the Midwest and Canada.

Anderson is currently on the Board of Directors for the United States Travel Association (USTA), an Executive Committee Member of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, co-Chair of the USTA CEO Roundtable and is a member on Destination International’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In addition, he was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In September 2018 and October 2019, he was named one of the Top 500 Leaders in the Events Industry/Top 20 DMO Leaders in North America.

Anderson has completed Executive Edge programs with The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Anderson and his wife, Brooke, are parents to college-age daughters, Avery and Lily. They all join him in relocating to San Antonio.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Rikke Christensen

VP Networks & Alliances, Virgin Atlantic

Rikke Munk Christensen is Virgin Atlantic’s Vice President of Networks, Alliances and Commercial Planning. Rikke has been with Virgin Atlantic since September 2019, and leads on Virgin Atlantic’s network strategy, route planning, slot portfolio, partnerships and JV. Rikke has more than 15 years of network planning expertise, across four different airlines – she  is also chair of International Air Transport Association (IATA) Slot Policy Working Group and member of Worldwide Slot Board. Rikke is originally from Denmark and lives now in London, she loves sports, good food and of course travelling.

Participating Talks and Sessions

Dave Harvey

Vice President Southwest Business, Southwest

David Harvey became a Southwest Airlines Co-Heart in 1999. He spent the first eight years of his career in Technology serving Crew Management, Dispatch, Network Planning, Finance, Technical Operations, Fuel Management, and Marketing.  He then spent five years leading Corporate Strategy with Enterprise PMO and Integrated Business Planning responsibilities across Fleet, Commercial, Customer, and Operations. In 2013 he supported Southwest’s first Chief Commercial Officer to build a Commercial Planning and Performance function across Network Planning, Marketing, Revenue Management, and Financial Planning & Analysis.  In late 2013 he transitioned to Network Planning leading Network Strategy and Capacity Planning.  In 2016 he was asked to lead a new Southwest department promoted to Managing Director of Business Development.  Responsibilities included Regional Planning & Performance, International Strategy & Capacity, Airline Partnerships, and Corporate Sales.  Then in 2018, he was promoted to Vice President Corporate Sales responsible for all selling and B2B distribution activities.  In August of 2019 Southwest launched a new brand representing a new distribution strategy, major channel investments, and scaling of the sales team to provide increased hospitality making him Vice President of Southwest Business.  David is currently on multiple boards and appointments related to the Travel Industry and Business Travel including being a Representative Member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI) as well as advisory positions with Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Business Travel News (BTN).  BTN named Dave among the 25 Most Influential People in Business Travel in 2019, 2020, and 2021.  He received his BBA from UT Austin in Management Information Systems and both his MBA in Operations Management and MS in Organizational Strategy from UT Dallas. David earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2007. He has five sons that keep him active outside Southwest and a beautiful wife that is an educator and writer.

Shane Downey

VP Government Relations, GBTA

Shane Downey is Vice President of Government Relations and Volunteer Relations at The Global Business Travel Association, the voice of the $1.4 trillion business travel industry. GBTA is the world’s largest organization representing this sector and counts among its members more than 9,000 business travel professionals across six different continents.

In addition to serving as the association’s lead lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Shane oversees GBTA’s volunteer engagement including GBTA Chapters, Committees and grassroots political activity. He also leads GBTA’s efforts with EU official in Brussels. Shane has worked at GBTA since 2006, achieving many legislative successes and expanded the profile of GBTA on the Hill and abroad.

Prior to joining GBTA, Shane was a Senior Associate at a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., and before that Shane worked on several Congressional Campaigns.

Shane received his B.A in History from The Ohio State University. Shane also served in the United States Marine Corp and is a Desert Storm veteran.

Participating Talks and Sessions