Business Travel Market (BTM) 2011 produced some interesting results this year, with Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan as keynote speaker.
Business Travel Market (BTM) 2011 got off to a flying start on Wednesday 22 June with Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan as keynote speaker. Discussing the Etihad Airways brand and the airline business, Hogan dispelled the myth that the airline wasn’t worried about profit and didn’t pay for fuel! In fact Hogan confided that the airline got their best deal on fuel in Singapore rather than at their hub, the oil rich Emirate Abu Dhabi! When asked if there was any chance of Etihad Airways buying a share of Virgin Atlantic, Hogan didn’t categorically deny it as a possibility but did emphasise that working with partners – currently codeshares with thirty airlines – was the expansion direction the airline was taking. The session provided a fantastic spring board for the rest of the day’s discussions.
Day one of the event also saw a celebration for platinum sponsors Qatar Airways, in addition to a host of announcements from exhibitors and fascinating discussions around topical issues.
Day two of the event saw Paul Deighton, CEO of London Organisation Committee for Olympic Games 2012 (LOCOG) take to the stage to discuss the progress in preparation for the games and the impact the event will have on the travel and transport industry. With 400 days to go until the opening ceremony in London, Deighton stressed that the key to success was the teams’ quick turnaround from bid to delivery, through the numerous organisations they work with. Discussing how, “broadly speaking, on time, on budget” was the message around the preparation, Deighton stressed the complications associated with organising an event of this scale but labelled the games as, “the biggest postcard we can send to the world in modern times to form an enduring image of London across the world.” In addition to the main events, Deighton also honed in on the celebration across the city, whilst the opening ceremony promises to deliver strong music themes to reflect the influence of the UK music industry across the world, in addition to some very British themes, such as our nations sense of humour! Deighton’s leaving message to the conference was one focusing on the Paralympics, something which he predicts will be, “the surprise upside to next summer.”