Airlines: Turning Geography to Advantage

Airlines: Turning Geography to Advantage

Our airline guests at this year’s WTM can all talk about how they have used their respective geographies to their advantage.

Emirates, which last year celebrated its 30th birthday, has over time carefully crafted its Dubai hub to become one of the epicentres of 21st century aviation. Its location, combined with the capacity and long range of its state of the art aircraft fleet, means it is able to link the major global air markets on a nonstop or one stop basis. This has been achieved under the leadership of its respected President, Sir Tim Clark, whose vision for Dubai’s potential has put Emirates in the premier position it occupies today.  He’s taken challenges in his stride too, so there will be plenty to reflect on in our much anticipated WTM interview on Monday 7th November.

IAG or to give it its full name, International Consolidated Airlines Group,  is composed of four airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling.  The group enjoys a strong position in three important and very complimentary hubs; London (Heathrow), Dublin and Madrid.  From these prime locations it is able to tap into numerous markets including the lucrative North Atlantic, and growing regions such as Latin America and Asia.  The Group is notable for having delivered strong profitability whilst  its peers in Europe have struggled to do so.  This has been achieved in no small measure due to the stubborn determination and sometimes contrarian approach of its CEO, Willie Walsh.  He will join Sir Tim Clark for our Monday interview and there will be many questions to put to him about the reasons behind IAG’s success and how it is coping in a post “Brexit” world and in the face of constrained runway capacity in the London market.

On Tuesday 8th November we’ll turn our attentions to Finnair.  It’s another airline which has successfully played the geography card by exploiting the Northern European position of its Helsinki hub, to offer a growing range of Asian destinations, particularly in China and Japan.  Rapid transfer connections are offered from its extensive European network.  Competitiveness has been strengthened  through the introduction of the new Airbus A350, ideal for many of these trailblazing routes.  Finnair is the first European airline to operate the type.  CEO Pekka Vauramo, who I’ll be interviewing, is a relative newcomer to the industry so brings a new perspective.  He’s also been very open in acknowledging that, as the process of airline consolidation continues, Finnair is unlikely to retain its future independence but more likely to become part of one of the large industry groupings.

So geography can play a key role in airline success but it takes careful management to exploit it.  I’m looking forward to talking with these three leading CEO’s and hope that you’ll be there to join me.

See John Strickland interview Willie Walsh and Sir Tim Clark on Monday 9th November at WTM London. For more information about this session click here.

Join John Strickland as he interviews Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Finnair at WTM London 2016. For more information on this session follow this link.

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Director, John Strickland, is a graduate of the University of York and has held senior positions with a number of airlines including British Caledonian, British Airways, KLMuk and Buzz. John was instrumental in the decision by KLM to establish the low cost operator Buzz and in its selection of new routes. His 33 years of experience have exposed him to the business models of regional, global, legacy and low cost carriers. JLS Consulting was established in 2003 and now serves a growing range of clients including airports, airlines, investors and those whose businesses require strategic insight on and advisory services concerning the air transport sector. John regularly devises and chairs panel discussions and interviews senior executives at industry conferences and events. Media work is undertaken for numerous global media organisations including the BBC, CNN, Sky, Al Jazeera, and business specialists Bloomberg and CNBC. John also contributes to a wide range of respected written publications including the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, Business Week, The New York Times, Gulf News, Reuters and AFP.

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