The aviation industry is living through turbulent times. With the help of aviation experts and pioneering thinkers from outside the industry, around 200 participants at the Hamburg Aviation Conference (13 to 15 February 2013) will be exploring the question as to whether the aviation economy, in its current form, has reached its limits, and what direction companies must take to remain profitable in the future. The conference will be held at the hotel Sofitel Alter Wall Hamburg, Germany.
The aviation industry is living through turbulent times. Many airlines have lost their footing. This also applies to traditional airlines, some of which have had to close their doors. Many of the top airlines are looking for new business models in order to remain commercially viable. High fuel prices and additional taxes are imposing a burden on the companies. At the same time, international aviation is experiencing stronger demand than ever before. The desire for mobility is growing, all over the world. The emerging markets in Asia, in particular, are a growth market for aviation. Passenger expectations have changed greatly at the same time. Individually tailored offers from the airlines are taken as a given, and passenger sensitivity to price is increasing.
With the help of aviation experts and pioneering thinkers from outside the industry, around 200 participants at the Hamburg Aviation Conference will be exploring the question as to whether the aviation economy, in its current form, has reached its limits, and what direction companies must take to remain profitable in the future.
Pressure from low cost airlines
“The low cost model is by far more consistently profitable than any other. This has allowed those carriers operating that model to profitably grow, putting great pressure on those carriers operating the legacy model,” says Montie Brewer, Member of the Board of Directors of Aer Lingus and the Advisory Committee of the Hamburg Aviation Conference. “It is the evolutionary process: the efficient operators are forcing the less efficient to either adapt or die. And there is a lot of adapting going on. A lot of pressure to change.”
Internet businesses threaten customer relationships
Experts at the conference will be shedding light on how aviation companies can break free of old structures and explore new routes. The expanding role of mobile communications in the relationship between airlines and passengers is also a decisive factor. “If an airline does not have a way to maintain their relationship with their customer on-line on a mobile device, it is highly likely that these customers will be lost,” says Montie Brewer. “Airlines have been battling for ownership of their customers for some time. The challenge for the airlines is to get the customer first and never let anybody take the customer away.”
The experienced airline executive and former President of Air Canada considers the European aviation industry to be at a crossroads thanks to the growth of the market share of low cost airlines. “The European aviation sector should learn from the mistakes that have been made in the US and in other industries, and how to capitalize on the disruption technology has provided to build a better relationship with their customers.”
Experienced managers speaking at the conference
Speakers expected at the Hamburg Aviation Conference this year include: Christoph Müller, CEO of Irish airline Aer Lingus, Thomas Haagensen, the Regional General Manager for Germany at Easy Jet, Dr Mairead Brady, Lecturer at the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin, and Jeffrey O’Rourke, CEO of Ink, one of the biggest publishers of in-flight magazines. Experts from, for instance, Google Travel and Marks & Spencer are expected on the podium to add their outside view to this year’s topic.
The aviation summit is being held from 13 to 15 February, 2013, at the Hotel Sofitel Alter Wall, Hamburg, Germany. The conference languages are German and English, with simultaneous translation available. The Hamburg Aviation Conference has been held annually since 1999. Hamburg Airport takes responsibility for the conference.