CONNECT prides itself in bringing you the top industry figures from the aviation sector to tackle the latest issues hitting the aviation world. The conference programme consists of a series of head-to-head interviews, keynote addresses and round table sessions. It's a real opportunity to meet with the invited speakers and expand your knowledge of the industry.
Interested in speaking at CONNECT 2018? Contact us today!
Member of the Management Board
Hervé Pierret is a graduate from the French National School of Civil Aviation. He has 28 years’ experience in the aviation and tourism sectors, having worked for two decades for the TUI group, in both airline and tour operator management positions.
In his last role, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Orly-based carrier Corsair for five years. In 2011, he moved to Corsica where he was appointed Member of Management Board for Air Corsica. He manages the highland carrier particularly on operational, financial and fleet issues.
Chief Revenue Officer
Vincent joined Flybe in December 2015. He is responsible for driving revenue performance, with direct responsibility for the network and schedule development and route performance management, as well as for revenue management and pricing.
His previous roles include: Chief Commercial Officer at VivaAerobus in Mexico, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Operations in Tokyo for Jetstar, and Vice President for Strategic Development at Grupo TACA in El Salvador.
Vincent also spent three years at Bain & Co where he worked for airline clients in Australia and South Africa.
He holds a BA in Commerce and an MBA from Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne.
Chief Executive Officer
Laurent Magnin has over 30 years’ experience in the aviation business – with over twenty of them being spent at Corsair.
At Corsair, Laurent held several positions including Vice President Commercial and Marketing, and Member of the Board. From here, he moved to Star Airlines, where he was Managing Director, but since October 2007, Laurent has been the Chief Executive Officer of the XL France Group which is made up of XL Airways France, Heliades, Italowcost, and Crystal TO. Today the group employs around 700 people. Most recently, Laurent has become the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, La Compagnie.
Laurent is married with 3 sons, and is a guitarist with a vinyl collection of almost 13,000 records!
General Aviation Manager UK/France
Paul Westerman, Air BP’s General Aviation Manager for the UK and France, has previously been responsible for joint ventures in the UK/France and has worked for BP for 22 years in a variety of roles spanning Refining, Supply and Logistics, Trading, Airport and Terminal Operations, and Sales. Paul holds a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Delft University and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management. Based in the Netherlands, Paul is fluent in Dutch, English and German and speaks conversational French. Paul not only brings extensive experience to the role, but a strong commitment to supporting Air BP’s customers.
Vice President Marketing
Zuzana Hrnkova has 22 years’ experience in aviation business.
After graduating as engineer and private pilot in 1991 from the Air Transport University of Zilina, Slovakia and from the French School of Civil Aviation (ENAC) in Toulouse in 1994, Zuzana joined Airbus in 1994 as a trainee and then as Performance Engineer in the Product Marketing group. In 1998, she moved to the A330/A340 product marketing group where she supported the marketing and entry in service of the A340-500 and A340-600. During this period she discovered a passion for the cabin interior and that remains to the present day.
From 2003 to 2007, Zuzana was Payload Accommodation Manager responsible for explaining Airbus cabins to customers, as well as providing the cabin engineering team with customer and market requirements. She continued her development as Aircraft Interiors Marketing Director from 2007 to 2011 responsible for supporting sales campaigns, as well as supporting cabin interiors developments and working on market strategy.
Her last assignment in Airbus was Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing since 2011. She was responsible for leading the Aircraft Interiors Marketing team, covering all current and future Airbus cabins. One of her main tasks was to guide new cabin product developments in order to ensure that cabin design fulfills all passengers’ and airlines’ expectations.
Since 1st September 2015, Zuzana is appointed as Vice President Marketing in ATR, leading the team responsible for Market Strategy, Airline Marketing and Product Development.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Marc Rochet is the Chief Executive Officer of Air Caraïbes since 2004. He has successfully driven the development of the long-haul network and the launch of the French Blue project (the first French long-haul, low-cost airline). Marc also founded and headed the airline L’avion in 2006.
He began his career as an engineer assigned to the Air Inter’s Technical Department (1976). In 1979, he joined Air Guadeloupe as Technical Director before becoming Director at Europe Aéro Service in 1982. Back at Air Inter, he was appointed Orly-Ouest Station Manager and then became General Manager of the company Aéromaritime, a UTA subsidiary, in 1998.
As the Chief Executive Officer, Marc merged Air Outre Mer and Minerve in 1991, under the brand AOM. From 1996 to 2001, he held the function of Chief Executive Officer of the airline companies TAT, Air Liberté, AOM and Air Littoral. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Travelprice.com from 2001 to 2003.
Finally, Marc has created Aerogestion, a consulting firm specialised in the airline and tourism industries. With a dozen of experts, Aerogestion stands out by offering pragmatic and operational support. The company has particularly developed its revenue management department, a domain which has become essential in optimising revenues in any industry where goods and services are not storable.
Director - Airports
Iain Smith is the Director responsible for the airport segment at RDC.
He has spent over 15 years in commercial aviation, having originally started on the airline side of the industry before joining RDC. Iain specialises in air service development and airline performance which makes him a natural specialist in RDC’s Apex route analysis platform.
Director of Network Planning, Scheduling & Slots
Gabriel Schmilovich is the Director of Network Planning, Scheduling and Slots at Vueling Airlines. He is responsible for the development and management of a continuously growing network, maximizing efficiency and profitability. He is also in charge of managing and developing the traffic programme and the slot’s portfolio of the company.
Previously Gabriel was Head of Route Management, Scheduling and Slots of Spanair from 2006 until 2012. Gabriel also has a background in airport management, working for AENA in the Economic Analytic Area for the commercial direction from 2003 until 2006.
Senior Manager, Airport Development & Procurement
Agi Smith is the Senior Airport Development and Procurement Manager at easyJet, looking after the cost base and commercial relationships of 48 airports spread across France, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Iceland.
Agi has 13 years’ broad aviation and procurement experience working in a number of roles in the front-line customer service division and HR, leading to airport service contract negotiations, with a proven record of delivering continuous cost improvement within existing supplier bases. Agi is bilingual with a broad experience in dealing with stakeholders at a variety of levels and within multiple countries.
Director of Route Development
Ryanair - New Route Development
Niall O’Connor joined Ryanair in 2005 as the Special Projects Manager reporting to the Chief Executive, and then became Head of Schedule Planning. In his current role as Director of Route Development he is responsible for commercial negotiations and route development with airports across the airline’s network. Prior to joining Ryanair, Niall was a management consultant with Andersen and an analyst with Irish Continental Group plc..
Director of Sales, Routes & Systems
Claus Altenburg began his professional career with the Hapag-Lloyd travel agency, where he specialised in the area of business travel. He then worked as a leader at the Airbus site in Hamburg, before becoming a freelance worker for Airbus. Following this, Claus became the Key Account Manager at American Express Business Travel. Due to his passion for aviation, in 2005 Claus became the Head of Sales and Development for regional flights with the airline OLT GmbH. Since 2012, Claus has been the Sales Manager for Germania Fluggesellschaft mbh in Berlin. His responsibilities include revenue management, route development and alliances.
Commercial Manager France & Morocco
Reginald Otten is the Commercial Manager for France and Morocco. He is responsible for overseeing the overall commercial performance and development of easyJet’s French regional bases and of Morocco. He also acts as a spokesperson for easyJet in these markets.
Prior to this role, Reginald was easyJet’s Head of European Corporate and Public Affairs. He was responsible for setting out the airline’s government relations priorities and stakeholder activities in Brussels and across easyJet’s main non-UK markets. He also managed Corporate Communications for easyJet in the Netherlands, and easyJet’s Special Assistance Advisory Group (ESAAG).
Reginald is an experienced public affairs and corporate communications professional and previously worked as a consultant for Fleishman-Hillard and Kreab Gavin Anderson in Brussels. Reginald started his professional career at the European Commission and European Parliament, and graduated from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris.
Chief Executive Officer
Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Ajaccio & Southern Corsica
Jean-André Miniconi has a DESS Postgraduate Pre-PhD in Banking and Finance, as well as a Chartered Accountant's Diploma. His professional experience includes: Chartered Accountant for an accounts firm specialising in Business Management Consultancy (1995-2001), Managing Director/CEO of Miniconi Automobile Group (since 2001) and Chief Executive Officer/President of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Ajaccio & Southern Corsica (since 2015). He has a pilot's licence and a seaplane qualification.
Airline Marketing Manager - Europe
Emil Hubert is Marketing Manager at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft with accountability for marketing activities in Europe.
Emil has extensive experience in the international marketing arena with a proven track record of success in sales campaigns for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft products at both new and existing clients.
Emil joined Bombardier’s marketing team in 2011, prior to that he worked as a route manager and network developer at Spanair for four years.
Emil has a Bachelor degree in Aviation Management.
Business Development Director
Wim Beernaert is a commercial engineer. He studied at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and holds an MSc degree in marketing. During his whole professional career, he has been developing successful marketing strategies for large and medium-sized companies in the logistics sector. Since the beginning of 2016, Wim is the Business Development Director for SprintAir, where he is responsible for opening up new markets, developing new routes and building relationships with regional airports.
Jarosław Chłopecki is the Commercial Director at SprintAir, a Warsaw based passenger and cargo airline. A graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology and a holder of a MBA degree awarded by the prestigious Leon Koźmiński Academy, Jarosław took charge of SprintAir’s Commercial Department in 2014, bringing with him relevant industry experience, entrepreneurial skills and new managerial quality. As Commercial Director, he has been responsible for developing and implementing successful commercial strategies resulting in expanding the airline’s client network around Europe.
Christophe Ritter is the co-founder and Managing Director of Milanamos, the market leading European firm in aviation intelligence and route development with its unique tool PlanetOptim.Future.
Christophe joined the airline industry twenty years ago, gaining his experience in network planning and revenue optimisation with a large European network carrier. He later worked for a major US based information and technology firm as a consultant and later as a Senior Partner within the organisation, working in North and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East regions. Christophe also had the opportunity to work on various challenges such as route development, network and fleet planning, airline restructuring (including under Chapter 11), alliances and joint-ventures, pricing and revenue management.
In 2013, Christophe decided to co-found Milanamos to both meet the growing demand for an integrated multimodal network planning and optimisation solutions, but also to help airlines and airports with a route development tool, based on his ten years’ experience consulting with international airlines.
WPE Corporation Limited
Paul Whelan is a well-established international Corporate Financier, Chairman and Managing Director with proven board-level experience particularly in the airport, airline, handling and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sectors. He has recently turned around and managed several European airlines and airports, and other aviation related businesses. Paul is currently a non-executive Director of Aviapartner and a non-executive Director of AGS Corporation, as well as being advisor to several aviation related companies.
Founder & Managing Director
LASeR Aviation Support & Representations Srls
Luigi Vallero has over thirty years of experience in the aviation and airline industry, having worked for Alenia/Leonardo as well as for Meridiana Airlines, covering managerial roles in the domains of International Co-Operations, Sales & Business Development, Marketing, Re-Organisation, Procurement/Purchasing, Management of Strategic/Commercial Alliances and Code-Shares, up to the position of Head of Fleet, Network Planning & Alliances. Since March 2015 he is the Managing Director of LASer Srls, a firm he founded to offer consultancy and representation services for the air transport and tourism industries.
Annabelle Lepièce is head of the Competition and European law department of CMS Belgium. Annabelle is particularly active in airports and air transport, offering legal advice on all aspects of European law (antitrust, State aid, European directives and regulations) relating to the industry such as public financing, handling, airport charges, security and safety, etc. She is currently assisting French, Belgian, Dutch, Romanian and Spanish airports and regions implicated in investigations led by the European Commission on alleged aids to airlines and airports. She also assists public authorities in the notification of State aids for the infrastructure, start-up aids, etc. and advises them on strategies and legal options to develop new routes. Her recent publications in English include: “Lufthansa’s new surcharging policy raises concerns”, E-Commerce Law & Policy, August 2015, “Flying high – the first three French aviation aid schemes have been approved”, Competition Law Insight, 9th June 2015, p. 12, “Access to facilities in the transport sector: an overview of EU and national case law”, e- Competitions, July 2014, “The Leipzig Airport judgment: The application of EU State aid rules to the financing of airport infrastructure”, Journal of Airport Management, October 2011; “Incentives and Aids for the development of routes under EU law: Practical guide for airports and airlines”. She is a regular speaker at conferences (Committee of Regions, CONNECT, Assembly of Regions) and gives lectures on State aid in the air transport sector at the University of Sorbonne-Pantheon and the Ecole Nationale d'Aviation Civile (Toulouse). She is recommended in State aid and domestic competition law by GCR, Chambers and Legal500..
Philippe Wilmart has been in the airline industry for over 25 years. He started his career as Director for Belgian airline SABENA, serving in Italy and France. In April 1997, he joined Marseille Provence Airport as Marketing and Communications Director. In this position, he launched the low-cost terminal mp² and implemented Ryanair’s first base in France. In 2008, Philippe created his own consultancy company, Wam Aero, and offered advice to various airlines, airports and air transport suppliers in Africa and Europe. In 2009, he became the Chief Commercial Officer of Geneva based carrier Baboo. From 2010-2016, Philippe worked for voyageprive.com as the Global Airlines Director, in charge of international aviation activity. In March 2017, Philippe will take up new duties within the transport/tourism sector.
Thomas Waintraub has extensive experience working in the aviation industry, having worked as the Senior Vice President of Group Purchasing at Worldwide Flight Services, and the Chief Executive Officer of the French ground handling business unit. Thomas also has over ten years’ experience in consulting (at KPMG Peat Marwick) and has now set up his own business and works with PMP Consulting.
PMP consults for many players in the aviation field including airlines, airports, private equity firms, manufacturers, ground handlers and GSE suppliers.
anna.aero (Airline Network News & Analysis)
Ralph Anker started his aviation career at Cranfield University where he was a lecturer and researcher specialising in statistical analysis, forecasting, airports and marketing. After a brief spell at ICAO in Montreal working in the Forecasting and Economic Planning section, he returned to Cranfield to run the Masters in Air Transport programme. In 2000 he left to join Maersk Air Ltd in Birmingham as Head of Business Development before joining BA's low-cost carrier Go-fly as Head of Network Planning in March 2001. After easyJet bought Go in 2002 he stayed in the Network Planning team until leaving at the end of 2002 to be a freelance consultant. Since then he has worked for clients such as SkyEurope and dba, lectured at various establishments and is now Chief Analyst for anna.aero.
“I am delighted and honoured to have been asked for the second time to chair CONNECT here in Ajaccio. As a presenter at this important event for over a decade, I have seen the event grow each year in importance and significance. Despite some favourable winds the air transport industry continues to face many challenges, both from within and also from external factors. During this year's event I shall be looking to ensure that delegates get the best possible information from the presenters and panellists that have been brought together here in Ajaccio. I look forward to seeing you all, if not during the formal presentations, then at one of CONNECT's many wonderful social events."
Chief Executive Officer
The Airport Agency
A French/Danish national, Karin Butot has worked for both French and Belgian media outlets before joining the aviation industry 25 years ago. Karin has developed her extensive network in aviation initially as the PR Manager for ACI Europe (the global airport’s trade association), whereby she established ACI Europe’s first press office, and subsequently as Group Marketing Director for ASM Consulting and as the Head of Public Relations for international airline, Air Seychelles.
In 2001, Karin established her own business, The Airport Agency, which has managed advertising campaigns for clients including Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux Airports, as well as designing and delivering corporate rebrands including for Marseille and Newquay Cornwall Airports. During this time, Karin also established the French Connect event which has grown every year and which evolved into CONNECT, taking place in Ajaccio this year with a record attendance of over 250 airports and 65 airlines attending for its 14th edition. Karin runs The Airport Agency and CONNECT with her dedicated staff, including Ukrainian, English and French nationals.
Independent Aviation Consultant
Marc Benedetti’s professional experience includes being a consultant for Jet Airways, Air Tanzania, Gabon Airlines, Air Austral and Royal Air Maroc, as well as holding managerial roles at CCM Airlines (CEO), Jet Airways (Executive Vice President Europe), Air France: Asia & Pacific (CEO) and Air France: India & Pakistan, South-East Asia, UK & Ireland (General Manager).