The premier event for senior aviation professionals


About the conference

“A valuable event with a thoughtfully compiled agenda and a good range of speakers
Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic

“Important inspiring annual conference with high-quality attendance across the aviation industry”
Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair

Accelerate: Aviation 2017 (previously known as The Future of Air Transport) celebrated its 25th anniversary in November, and brought together senior executives at airlines, airports and the wider aviation industry to discuss the business-critical opportunities, issues and solutions in this era of change.

Through open discussion and debate on topics including passenger experience, evolving business models and politics, this conference helped delegates to better understand the needs of the industry, and as such successfully prepare for the future in an ever-changing sky.

Why did delegates attend?

  • To hear our Leaders’ Forum, bringing together the CEOs from Royal Jordanian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Brussels Airlines as well as the CMO from Turkish Airlines
  • To tackle headline-grabbing topics with content experts on low-cost long-haul, airline partnerships, digital transformation, ancillaries and more
  • To get to grips with the evolution of passenger experience with dedicated content on the brand new 360° travel experience stage
  • To sample the innovation and disruption to come with lightning pitches from four start-ups poised to revolutionise aviation



hours of content

Speakers in 2017

Ahmet Olmustur Turkish Airlines

Ahmet Olmustur

Chief Marketing Officer, Turkish Airlines

Stefan Pichler

Chief Executive Officer, Royal Jordanian Airlines

Bernard Gustin

Chief Executive Officer, Brussels Airlines

Johan Eidhagen Speaker Photo

Johan Eidhagen

Chief Marketing Officer, Wizz Air

Sebastian Mikosz

Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Airways

John Holland-Kaye

Chief Executive Officer, Heathrow Airport

Rob Gurney

Chief Executive Officer, oneworld

Juha Järvinen

Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair

More Speakers

Conference agenda 2017

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Day 1 Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Day 2 Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Welcome address

Chair's Opening Remarks


Chair’s opening remarks

Neil Glynn Credit Suisse
Neil Glynn

Head of Transport Equity Research,
Credit Suisse

Session 1

Strategic Insights Stage | A view from the leaders – exploring the state of the industry


Leaders’ Forum: Creating the conditions for success: developing new strategies

  • Is growth in current market conditions sustainable?
  • Changes in demand for air travel: what are the major trends and why?
  • How can airlines tackle the ongoing capacity challenge?
  • What now and where next for business model development?
  • Is restructuring the answer? A successful survival approach or just more of the same?
  • The terror threat: strategies for thriving in unsettled times
  • What effect is the political environment having on airline strategy?
  • Has Open Skies already had its day?
  • Looking ahead: what are the emerging opportunities and obstacles?

Stefan Pichler

Chief Executive Officer,
Royal Jordanian Airlines

Sebastian Mikosz

Chief Executive Officer,
Kenya Airways

Bernard Gustin

Chief Executive Officer,
Brussels Airlines

Ahmet Olmustur Turkish Airlines
Ahmet Olmustur

Chief Marketing Officer,
Turkish Airlines


Politics in the skies: how are geopolitical trends impacting travel?

Brian Hedberg

Director, Office for International Aviation,
U.S. Department of Transportation


Defining a sustainable market niche in the Middle East

Stefan Pichler

Chief Executive Officer,
Royal Jordanian Airlines





Session 2

Strategic Insights Stage | Evolving business models – distinguishing oneself in a competitive sky


Mapping the long-haul landscape

  • Where next for established low-cost long-haul players?
  • How are full-service carriers countering continued pressure?
  • Grasping the opportunity: when is the right time to enter the market?
  • How can airlines continue to cater for the premium customer?

Bernard Gustin

Chief Executive Officer,
Brussels Airlines


Winning the air battle on the ground

Isaiah Cox
Isaiah Cox

Chief Executive Officer,
The WheelTug


A short-haul service: succeeding in a challenging environment

  • Are low-cost carriers monopolising the market?
  • Corporate short-haul: assessing shifts in business travel
  • Capitalising on the potential of feeder traffic
  • Where next for the short-haul service?

Simon McNamara
Simon McNamara

Director of Communications,




Lunch hosted by The WheelTug

Session 3

Strategic Insights Stage | 360° Travel Experience Stage

Strategic Insights Stage | Deepening ties – evolving attitudes to airline partnerships
360° Travel Experience Stage | Unlocking the potential of customer data

Case study:

Disrupting aviation to revitalise the customer experience is pioneering the shift from airport-to-airport journeys to door-to-door journeys, integrating buses and trains to its proposition in response to the demands of the 21st Century customer.

Oliver Dlouhy

Chief Executive Officer,


Panel Discussion and questions

Anticipating the future alliance landscape

  • Where does the current focus lie for global alliances?
  • Will low-cost carriers ever join global alliances?
  • The rise of the low-cost alliance: what are the opportunities and challenges?
  • How might global and low-cost alliances collaborate?
  • What impact is the growth of online aggregators having on alliances?
  • How can alliances stay relevant as cross-alliance joint ventures emerge?
  • Looking forward: where next for global alliances?

Rob Gurney

Chief Executive Officer,

Mauro Oretti

Vice President Sales and Marketing,

Jiri Marek Alitalia
Jiri Marek

Vice President, Alliances & Ancillary Revenue,


A personalised service: transforming customer interactions

  • How can the increase in digital touchpoints be capitalised upon?
  • What marketing tools are set to enable a more personalised offering?
  • The role of social media: engaging customers their way

Emily Cho Korean Air
Emily Cho

Senior Vice President, Passenger Marketing and Corporate Communications,
Korean Air


Big Data and the IoT: navigating the legal landscape

  • How can airlines harness the value in customer data in a legally compliant way?
  • What does the law say about data ownership?
  • What do airlines need to watch out for when using Big Data?

Lucy England, Speaker Photo
Lucy England

Bird & Bird





Session 4

Strategic Insights Stage | Crafting and managing the fleet of tomorrow


How are new aircraft transforming the fleet?

  • What is the current outlook on aircraft orders?
  • How can the potential of new narrow-body aircraft be utilised?
  • Is there an optimum number of seats to have on a plane?
  • Where next? Future developments in aircraft engineering

Martin Gauss - Air Baltic

Chief Executive Officer,
Air Baltic



Session 5

Strategic Insights Stage | Revolutionising the inflight experience


The changing world of inflight entertainment

  • Are seatback screens becoming a thing of the past?
  • The future of the pre-flight download: when IFE goes beyond inflight
  • Exploring the potential of offering value-added services through inflight entertainment systems

Juha Järvinen

Chief Commercial Officer,




A spotlight on ‘Sky High Economics’, a study by the London School of Economics

Quantifying the value of high quality connectivity to the airline industry

  • Broadband in the sky: what is it worth?
  • Access, e-commerce, advertising and premium content: the future of ancillary revenue
  • Data deep-dive: the European market
  • Cleared for take-off: what does the LSE study and other market data tell us about European inflight connectivity?
  • Unlocking the opportunities of connectivity in the sky

Dr. Alexander Grous
Dr Alexander Grous

Department of Media and Communications,
London School of Economics

David Coiley
David Coiley

Vice President, External Affairs & Strategy,



Session 6

Strategic Insights Stage | A spotlight on innovation and disruption


Fasten your seatbelts: the aviation start-ups reshaping the industry

Place your seats in the upright position, stow away your tray tables and make sure your arm rests are down as we ready for take-off with these game-changing start-ups.

Looking after the cabin today is our Chair, who will be offering a host of options – from customer-friendly apps to digital verification – for your enjoyment. So please sit back, take a drink and prepare for take-off.

Each presenter will pitch for five minutes followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Enjoy the flight!

Lightning pitch: LuckyTrip

Set your budget and let the button decide. Introducing the easiest way to find great and complete trips in just one tap – say goodbye to hours of planning.
Tiff Burns, Founder & CEO, LuckyTrip

Lightning pitch: Esplorio

Share the adventure. Effortlessly create and share trips to show your family and friends.
Tim Fernando, Co-Founder & CEO, Esplorio

Lightning pitch: VChain

The world’s first fully de-personalised, blockchain-secured, unhackable technology, VChain provides a digital verification of passenger data for airlines.
Irra Ariella Khi, Co-Founder & CEO, VChain

Tiff Burns

Founder & CEO,

Tim Fernando
Tim Fernando

Co-Founder & CEO,

Irra Ariella Khi

Co-Founder & CEO,


Close of Day 1 & drinks reception


Chair’s opening remarks

Strategic Insights Stage | Keynote Opening Address


Keynote Opening Address

John Holland-Kaye

Chief Executive Officer,
Heathrow Airport



Session 7

Strategic Insights Stage | A revenue revolution – from booking to ancillaries


Getting the proposition right: tailoring the product for the customer

  • To unbundle or not to unbundle: how can airlines get their strategy right?
  • What can be learnt from both the low-cost and full-service experiences of unbundling?
  • Communicating the proposition transparently through internal and external channels

Johan Eidhagen Speaker Photo
Johan Eidhagen

Chief Marketing Officer,
Wizz Air


The future of booking: which channels are reshaping distribution?

  • What patterns are emerging in online booking?
  • When might app use translate into app bookings?
  • Is there a resurgence in buying flights through travel agents?
  • From aggregators to tech giants: how can airlines prepare for future threats?

Roland Jaggi
Roland Jaggi

Director Revenue Management, Pricing, Sales and Distribution,
Aegean Airlines


Panel discussion and questions

Collaborating to increase revenue: from airlines to airports to the wider travel industry

  • What obstacles are there to greater collaboration in travel?
  • How can the benefits of working together be optimised?
  • Taking lessons from established partnerships across the industry
  • What can be done to reduce bad information flow between partners?
  • How can rising digital channels be utilised for value-added services?
  • From beacon technology to predictive analytics: what is poised to revolutionise retail?
  • How does the customer feel about the push to spend more at each touchpoint?

Johan Eidhagen Speaker Photo
Johan Eidhagen

Chief Marketing Officer,
Wizz Air

Roland Jaggi
Roland Jaggi

Director Revenue Management, Pricing, Sales and Distribution,
Aegean Airlines

Radoslaw Dutkowski

Director Ancillary & Product,



Session 8

Strategic Insights Stage | Strengthening reputations and building loyalty


Creating a positive identity: establishing and maintaining strong customer perception

  • How do changes in business models impact on an airline’s brand?
  • What can be done to stop diversification weakening the brand?
  • How can the power of social media be harnessed to promote and strengthen the brand?
  • Tackling reputational threats: managing the fallout from PR gone wrong

Akira Mitsumasu - Japan Airlines

Vice President, Marketing & Strategy, Asia & Oceania,
Japan Airlines


Fireside Chat

What does the future hold for loyalty programs?

  • How can airlines encourage the transition from infrequent flyer to loyal customer?
  • What can be done to include infrequent flyers into loyalty schemes?
  • How can loyalty schemes cater for a broader audience than business travellers?
  • What potential do retail partnerships hold in providing value for loyal customers?
  • How can low-cost carriers get more involved in the loyalty game?
  • How could cryptocurrencies transform loyalty schemes?
  • Is the rise of airline wallets on the horizon?
  • What opportunity is there to make money from selling miles to banks?

Steven Greenway

Deputy CEO,
Chief Executive Officer,

Nik Laming

General Manager, Loyalty Division,
Cebu Pacific



Session 9

Strategic Insights Stage | Spotlight on State Aid


Deep dive: what now and where next for state aid in aviation?

  • How do state aid rules apply in the aviation sector?
  • What do airports and airlines need to be aware of in order to mitigate state aid risk?
  • Looking ahead, how may state aid rules evolve?

Nicole Robins

Head of State Aid Team,
Oxera Consulting



Session 10

Strategic Insights Stage | Destination digital


The rise of the digital airline a new role for a new era

  • How to fuel innovation and drive digital engagement both internally and externally
  • What role can innovation labs play in accelerating transformation?
  • How can airlines strike the balance between technology and people?
  • Attract, retrain, retain: what are the crucial skills needed from the future workforce?

Satyendra Pandey
Satyendra Pandey

Head of Strategy,
Go Air


Game-changing customer-facing technology: from mobile to machine learning

  • What role is mobile playing now and what potential is there moving forward?
  • Anticipating and preparing for the shift towards more comprehensive travel apps
  • Where next for chatbots and how is machine learning revolutionising this sphere?
  • How transformative can augmented and virtual reality be for the future travel experience?

Stephany van Willigenburg

Senior Head of Travel,




Keynote closing address: A futurologist’s perspective – what will travel look like in 2030, 2050 and 2100?

David Smith

Futurologist and Chief Executive,
Global Futures and Foresight




Chair’s closing remarks & close of conference

Sponsors 2017

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Who attends


All tickets include:

2 day conference pass, lunch, refreshments & drinks reception

Group discount

15% off

When you buy 3 or more tickets




£995.00 + VAT


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Venue details

Millennium Hotel, Mayfair

44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1K 2HP

Millennium Hotel Mayfair

44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1K 2HP

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