WTM: Airline heavyweights go head to head

The airline sector will be taking centre stage at this year’s World Travel Market with two ‘head to head’ interviews as Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways and Mike Forster, BAA Strategy Director are interviewed on the WTM Conference Set by air transport consultant John Strickland.Steve Ridgway joined Virgin Atlantic in 1989 when he was appointed Managing Director of Virgin Freeway launching the UK’s first automated frequent flyer programme. Since then he has played a major role in Virgin Atlantic Airways becoming the second longest longhaul airline in the UK and the third largest European carrier over the North Atlantic. The airline’s route network has grown rapidly to include destinations in the US, Caribbean, Far East, India and Africa.

Commenting on the sector Steve Ridgway said: “With new developments at Heathrow, consolidation in the sector and issues such as Open Skies, the airline industry is facing some of its most exciting challenges. The next year will witness some big changes which will determine how we fly and who we fly with in the years to come.”

Mike Forster, BAA Strategy Director is responsible for determining how Heathrow airport’s business should develop into the future. He has played a key role in developing the vision for Terminal 5 and will be providing key insights into the new terminal’s development.