Delegates will hear first-hand from top airline bosses about the future of flying during a key aviation debate at World Travel Market – the leading global event for the travel industry.
Chaired by WTM aviation consultant John Strickland, the hotly anticipated panel session will feature Peter Bellew, Director of Training & Recruitment at Ryanair; Chris Browne, Chief Operating Officer at TUI Aviation; and Paul Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer of Flybe.
Strickland said: “This is a very exciting and enticing line-up. It is an interesting time for aviation, with rapid change and big challenges ahead.
“It’s a rare chance for people in the industry to see these top executives face-to-face and have an opportunity to ask them about strategy and leadership.”
All three airlines have played a key role in the evolution of today’s aviation market and delegates will hear first-hand how these executives are facing the future.
“Bellew – a 30-year veteran of the airline, airport, tour operating and tourism industry – will talk about how Ryanair is trying to transform into a more consumer-friendly airline,” said Strickland.
“A pioneer of the no-frills model, Ryanair saw two profit warnings in 2013, thanks to intense competition from rival airlines and its perceived image problems – but its new strategy has resulted in a presence on social media, service enhancements on flights, measures to woo business travellers and even sales via global distribution systems.
“However, the airline needs to fill a lot of seats: in September it announced a deal worth $22 billion for up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft, and last year it ordered 180 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.”
Strickland said Chris Browne at TUI has more than 25 years of experience in travel, and, as boss of Thomson Airways, she ensured the carrier was the first in the UK to fly Boeing’s innovative 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
“It will be fascinating to hear how TUI is operating in different markets across Europe, and facing competition from budget airlines and the likes of Thomas Cook, Jet2 and easyJet,” said Strickland.
“Thomson Airways recently unveiled its five-year vision to ‘change the face of holiday flying’ with its Dreamliner aircraft, more long-haul destinations and new onboard services.
“It will see the delivery of 47 new Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts by 2020, for short and mid-haul routes, and wants to develop seating concepts such as the Family Booth, as it aims to define a new category of flying – the ‘holiday airline category’.”
Paul Simmons will talk about how Flybe faced enormous financial challenges in recent years and, under a new management team, is radically changing its business model.
“Flybe’s chief executive Saad Hammad worked with Simmons at easyJet so they know how to tackle costs,” said Strickland.
“They are focusing on being a niche regional airline, launching services to airports such as London City, and signing a partnership with reward currency group Avios, to attract more business travellers.
“But there are risks, with high aviation taxes hitting local airports – as seen with the closure recently of Blackpool.”
World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “WTM saw a record number of delegates attend the events programme last year, and with top-notch speakers lined up this year, we expect to break that record again.
“The aviation panel is one of the strongest ever at WTM and delegates will be able to hear directly from those at the top about how giants of the industry are adapting to change.
“The panel debate is just one of three exciting aviation seminars: we will also feature Jozsef Varadi, Chief Executive of Wizz – dubbed the ‘Ryanair of Eastern Europe’ – and Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Craig Kreeger.
“Only at WTM can people from the industry gain access to such expertise and high-level debate.
“Attracting such senior panellists demonstrates the importance of WTM to the industry and the role it plays in bringing people together.”
- The Airline Business: Changes At The Top: New Leaders, New Strategies, New Directions takes place on Tuesday 4 November on the WTM Global Stage (AS850), from 2.15-3.30pm.
- CEO one to one with Jozsef Varadi, CEO of Wizzair, takes place on Tuesday 4 November in the Platinum Suite, from 11am-noon.
- Keynote Interview with Craig Kreeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic, takes place on Wednesday 5 November in the Platinum Suite 3&4, from 11:30am-12:30pm.
– ENDS –
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
03WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.
WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.
WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.
In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.