ITB lines up Aviation Day

ITB 2007 has unveiled a vital industry forum for this year’s line-up - ‘Aviation Day: The Future of Air Transport’ which will be held on March 9th and address key aviation issues.

Despite adverse operating conditions over the
last couple of years, including high fuel prices, terrorist threats,
natural disasters, and new taxes on passengers and airlines, air
transport has remained resilient. Even better, it is booming again. The
International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released its
January-November traffic results, which pointed to year-on-year
passenger traffic growth for international scheduled air transport
services of 5.8% - measured in terms of revenue passenger-km (RPK) - and
an average passenger load factor systemwide of 76.1%.

In a recent briefing, Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO,
said that IATA was even expecting a recovery in its members’ financial
performance. IATA airlines are expected to have recorded a combined loss
of just under US $500 million in 2006 - well down on 2005 - and they
should become profitable in 2007. This would mark the first year of
profitability since 2000. So things are really looking up.

Over the next few years the airline industry will continue its
decade-old restructuring, which has so far contributed to making the
industry more cost-efficient, as well as reshaping all the elements of
the air travel experience for customers. The ITB Aviation day, which is
now considered one of the leading events in the annual industry
calendar, will focus on all the changes that have taken, and are taking,
place within the airline industry and the impact these will have in the
future.

New aircraft and operating models

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The introduction of new aircraft models into service - such as the
Airbus A380, Boeing 787, and the extended version of the Boeing 747 -
will have a significant impact on airline network development, for
example. The giant A380 will finally enter into service by the end of
2007, bringing increased capacity to world markets. The Boeing 787 is a
new medium-sized aircraft offering exceptional comfort, with the
capability of flying non-stop over a distance of up to 15,700 km -
equivalent to Shanghai-Caracas. The guest speaker at the panel
discussion entitled “Airbus versus Boeing” from 10.15 to 11.15 a.m. will
be Tim Clark, President of Emirate Airlines, the carrier with the
largest number of orders for the Airbus A380. Also present will be
Tjhoen Onn Thoeng, Senior Vice President Europe of Singapore Airlines,
which in October will foreseeably be the first airline to put an A 380
into service.


Trend towards consolidation in the low-cost and charter markets


At the other end of the scale, low-cost carriers (LCCs) will continue to
influence commercial aviation.  Joachim Hunold, CEO of Air Berlin, will
share his views on whether the time is really ripe for consolidation
between the low-cost and charter markets. In 2006, a number of charter
and budget carriers, such as Hapag Lloyd, merged their operations. And
the charter carriers’ dominance has been massively eroded due to the
competition from LCCs on many traditional North-South holiday routes in
Europe - from the Canary Islands to the Balearics, Greece and Morocco.
LCCs are now also testing their ability to fly long-haul routes.  Oasis
has already launched Hong Kong-London and AirAsia X is expected to move
into the market in 2007, competing head on with charter carriers on
popular long-haul routes. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board
and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG will be speaking on the topic of hub
management.


Airport privatisation


New aircraft models will also boost traffic at major hubs, stimulating
competition between airports. Will privatised airport authorities be
able to respond better to new challenges, such as the Airbus A380, the
boom in low-cost airline travel, new safety rules or new hub
competition? Many airports have been privatised in Europe over the last
ten years or so - eg Budapest, Paris, D├╝sseldorf and Rome, to name only
a few - and further privatisations are expected in future. What
motivates these investors, and will they do a better job at making
airport management a sounder commercial business than their
predecessors? After an introductory paper by Dieter Schneiderbauer,
Managing Director of Booz Allen Hamilton, leading experts will be
discussing these issues from 1.15 to 2.15 p.m.


Passenger air travel of the future


New technology is becoming more and more critical for airports’ and
airlines’ operations on the ground, in order to ensure safety and
security while speeding up cumbersome passenger and baggage controls.
Passengers are already able to check in and print their boarding passes
at home before departure, helping to reduce the length of check-in
queues at airports. What new cost and time-saving measures can we expect
in the near future? The mobility solutions market is growing at an
extraordinary rate. How will airline customer procedures that interact
with innovative mobility solutions work in the future? From 11.30 a.m.
to 12 noon Siemens Business Services will be presenting passenger air
travel scenarios of the future.

Business aviation increases its market share

Stricter safety and immigration controls at airports have also had a
positive effect on the business aviation sector, which is currently
enjoying high growth rates in Europe and in other key markets around the
world. Will new aircraft models make flying as cheap as riding a cab?

ITB Aviation Day, which is clearly going to be a day packed with
interesting speakers and topics of discussion, is being organised in
cooperation with Flugrevue, the event’s media partner, and will be
chaired by Prof Dr Adrian von D├Ârnberg, Professor of Travel & Transport
at the University of Applied Sciences.
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