Gerd Pontius moderated an exciting aviation CEO panel at the ITB in Berlin on 6 March 2013, discussing the topic of ‘The Future of Air Transport’.
The panel consisted of four aviation experts: Mr. Martin Craigs (CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association), Mr. Martin Gauss (CEO, Air Baltic), Mr. Michael Kraus (President & CEO, Air Dolomiti) and Mr. Thomas Windmuller (Senior Vice President, Member and Government Relations & Corporate Secretary, IATA).
The most constant thing is change, although change seems to be speeding up in the aviation industry. As shown in an introductory presentation at the beginning of the panel, the landscape both in Europa and worldwide has developed rapidly within the last years, with new players positioning themselves on the market and gaining dominance. Is there a response from the traditional airlines to the threat caused by the so called ‘low cost carriers’? Is there a major trend of European airlines loosing transferring passengers to airlines from the Gulf States? Will the role of the three major alliances change?
Questions like these were discussed openly by the experts, all agreeing that market conditions in the different continents are diverse with governments valuing aviation quite differently. According to Martin Gauss in Asia there are still open capacities, whereas in Europe there are too many carriers, all offering the same thing and trying to get a part of the cake. Airlines have to operate efficiently and at low cost in order to survive. As a result, the traditional airline business model and the low cost carrier model are converging.