Monday, 18 April 2011

Highlights of the annual Airneth Conference in The Hague (I): Consolidation and new business models in the air transport industry

The Hague: an excellent choice to host the annual Airneth conference

Last week I had the opportunity to attend what is possibly one of the most interesting aviation-related events in Europe right now: the annual Airneth conference in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The line-up of speakers sounded impressive beforehand, it included professionals of the caliber of Rigas Doganis, of "Flying-off Course" fame, but after attending most of the sessions I can just say that the conference totally exceeded my expectations. In addition to the quality of the debate that went on in the conference room, I must congratulate the organizers for the perfect set up (as well as the choice of city!).

Given that the conference was being held in The Netherlands, the case of Schiphol airport deserved some special attention, with its symbiotic relationship with KLM, of outmost importance for the Dutch economy. I could detect some concern among the attendees about the survival of Schiphol as a major hub in the constantly-changing airline industry scene, something of particular relevance now, with KLM as a junior member of the Air France group, the industry's centre of gravity shifting eastwards and a growing market share for low cost carriers...

In coming blog posts I will try to summarize my impressions of the conference and outline some of the major topics that centered the discussion, some of which are much in line with what I have usually been writing about in this blog: the future of competition between network airlines and low cost carriers, evolving business models in the airline industry, airport de-hubbing and re-hubbing, airline alliances and route development.

Watch this space!


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