BLOG: Live from Doha – insights from the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit

Welcome to live coverage from The Blue Swan Daily of the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha, Qatar.

As the foremost authority on aviation in the world, CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s events provide cutting edge knowledge about strategic market trends and dynamics to help attendees make informed decisions, delivering the information and connections needed to inspire and improve business.

The Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit is designed to address the latest development in aviation regulation both within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and globally.

What trends and opportunities await our industry? What strategic challenges and risks are we set to face in the year ahead? Discussions will cover Europe’s aviation relations with the world, a post Brexit world and its repercussions, North America’s approach to open skies, how open skies have helped Asia’s emerging markets, Africa and SAATM, airport privatisation and infrastructure, air cargo and industry sustainability.


AGENDA – View the full CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit agenda.

LIVE STREAM – CAPA – Centre for Aviation are pleased to offer a free live stream of the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit.
Visit centreforaviation.com during the event hours for access.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Follow the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit on Twitter and if you have any comments on the topics being explored at the Summit then join the debate: #CAPASummit.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

15:45 – CAPA’s closing event declaration

Here’s CAPA’s closing words from the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit…

Doha Declaration

75 years after the aviation regulatory framework was established, it is time for a serious global review of its relevance today; The “business of freedom” underpins 10% of global GDP. It is too important to be constrained by economic regulation that was designed to meet entirely different conditions

Recommendation

Governments should:

  • relax restrictive airline ownership and control rules, which underpin the bilateral air services system, constraining rationalisation of market access;
  • increase efforts to encourage plurilateral liberalisation, for example as promoted by the European Union;
  • enhance sustainability – in its broadest meaning – in the aviation sector;
  • actively encourage aeropolitical discussion and further engagement at the highest levels.

“I endorse the Doha Declaration. This is a very good statement to make.”
Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways Group.

“It is a good conclusion of the one-and-a-half days we have spent here.”
Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport, European Commission.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

15:30 – Some key quotes from our final panel session speakers…

“Governments are looking to protect own national carriers that are not competitive and stifle competition… We should try to liberalise… We should be more cohesive in how we are working together with everybody and not trying to point fingers.”
Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways Group

“Aviation is not punching above its weight when it comes to government importance. It is not necessarily seen on a political agenda to the level its statistics suggest.”
Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport, European Commission

“The world has become accessible and affordable for so many. It has all been made possible by open skies and that is something we must protect and cherish.”
Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport, European Commission

“This industry has now grown out of the frames put together originally by the Chicago Convention.”
Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport, European Commission

“If you don’t have safety, you can’t have a good business.”
Abderahmane Berthé, secretary general, African Airlines Association (AFRAA)

“The idea of protectionism is not going to work. We need to move away from that idea.”
Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO, RwandAir

“Aviation remains trapped in a web of protectionism.”
Prof Alan Tan, Professor of Aviation Law, National University of Singapore

“The big markets out there will for a long time be trapped by the notion their national airlines must be protected by airlines from smaller states such as Qatar and Singapore.”
Prof Alan Tan, Professor of Aviation Law, National University of Singapore

“It is difficult to get rid of ownership and control issues, even in an open skies environment.”
Prof Pablo Mendes de Leon, director, International Institute of Air and Space Law

“The national airlines are not any more as regarded as crown jewels as before – advocacy is necessary to address the liberalisation and green voice.”
Prof Pablo Mendes de Leon, director, International Institute of Air and Space Law

“The flag carriers didn’t like the liberalisation process very much.”
Jim Callaghan, partner, Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting

“Brexit highlights the threat of the liberalised market in Europe. If you need an AOC in each country that leaves, we are heading back to day one.”
Jim Callaghan, partner, Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting

“The ability to travel from a small airport to small airport has transformed the way people travel. If you can fly directly from a regional airport – then you have people buying property there, and have economic development in that region.”
Jim Callaghan, partner, Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting

“By criticising the Chicago Convention we are barking up the wrong tree. The question is about its implementation.”
Vladimir Zubkov, secretary general, TIACA


Wednesday 6th February 2019

15:15 – CAPA insights from our final panel session speakers…


Wednesday 6th February 2019

14:45 – Up Now… The way ahead in the aviation aeropolitical arena

We reach our summit conclusion by bringing speakers from across the two days of panels to wrap up what has been discussed and look into what it means for the future of the industry.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

14:35 – Travel partners bring greater sustainability to travel industry

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” A great comment from Sunil Kumar Rumalla, president of the United Federation of Travel Agents Associations about Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, the host of the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha during his presentation. But it can also be adapted to most delegates in the room and the aviation sector in general. An industry that is constantly evolving as it meets new hurdles on a regular basis.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

13:30 – It’s time for lunch on day two

It’s been a busy morning with multiple panel sessions and some valuable and insightful discussions.  Join us in around an hour as we return with our final agenda sessions.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

13:15 – CAPA insights from sustainability panel discussions


Wednesday 6th February 2019

13:00 – The ICAO perspective on the environmental and sustainability debate

Prior to the discussion we have been watching a video from Jane Hupe, deputy director environment, ICAO, who was unable to be in Doha due to existing commitments.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

12:45 – Up now… How can airlines achieve their sustainability goals?

Just as airlines begin to savour the prospect of financial sustainability, the threat of failing to meet sustainability goals can quickly replace that challenge. In the area of climate change, of course, national and EU emissions targets provide clear goals for airlines (and airports) to plan for. But the rapid growth of the industry intensifies the need to act quickly and effectively. And sustainability relates to more than simply our approach to climate change.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

12:30 – CAPA insights from the cargo panel


Wednesday 6th February 2019

12:15 – The power of networking – CAPA events help bring leaders together for the good of the industry

Attending events and conferences is more than just the live content on offer but the chance to network with fellow delegates. Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission, has been a great example of this here in Doha and alongside attending the main agenda has taken every networking opportunity to look to develop relationships and ultimately Europe’s connectivity.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

12:00 – Up now… Air cargo growing in prominence, but challenges remain

Air cargo is viewed by many passenger carriers as a “stepchild,” but changes in the global supply chain have given cargo greater prominence. The surge in growth of “e-commerce” has transformed consumer behaviour, and has driven major increases in demand. Moreover, for countries such as the State of Qatar, having unfettered access to air cargo markets is a critical matter of national security.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

11:15 – Time for a break… but cargo and sustainability topics are still to follow

Here in Doha, it is time for a short networking break for delegates attending the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit. Our own break will have an African theme as we complete exclusive video interviews with Abderahmane Berthé, secretary general, African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO, RwandAir. Look out for these on CAPA TV.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

11:00 – CAPA insights from this morning’s panel discussions


Wednesday 6th February 2019

10:45 – The Blue Swan Daily:  Smarter Regulation is more ‘common sense than it is rocket science’ says IATA chief

Aviation is a global industry and this year it will safely meet the transport needs of 4.6 billion travellers. It will power the global economy by transporting 66 million tonnes of cargo, the value of which accounts for a third of global trade. The industry’s footprint extends to every corner of the earth. Never before have we been so connected to each other. And as the density of global connectivity grows each year, the world becomes more prosperous.

IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac defines aviation as the Business of Freedom, but speaking at the CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha, he highlighted this performance could not be achieved without commonly understood and implemented rules of the game. “Regulation is vitally important to aviation,” he explains.

READ MORE…


Wednesday 6th February 2019

10:30 – join the debate – via #CAPASummit


Wednesday 6th February 2019

10:15 – The ambiguity of fifth and seventh freedom flying

Low-Cost Carriers are driving air traffic growth in ASEAN region thanks to ASEAN crafting the conditions to boost LCC connections, explains Prof Alan Tan, professor of aviation law at the National University of Singapore while moderating this morning’s session at the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit.

While ASEAN is working to open skies, he noted that there has remained some ambiguity to traffic rights. “Fifth freedoms are open, but a fifth freedom that is not in a straight line can become a seventh freedom,” he explains highlighting a Kuala -Lumpur – SIngapore – Yangon route as an example.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

10:00 – Up now… The outlook for the ASEAN Air Travel Market

As the fastest growing international market in the world, southeast Asia has spawned ground breaking international LCCs, cross border JV models and even LCC alliances.

An essentially liberal bilateral approach by governments in the region has permitted this market driven proliferation, partially aided by the application of ASEAN open skies principles.

This has also given the opportunity for discussions at multilateral level with the EU and the potential for a significant dialogue, with common goals. There is however residual resistance to full liberalisation as the framers of the ASEAN multilateral proposed.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

09:45 – Is SAATM a real solution for Africa?

SAATM is a flagship part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 reform package and is meant to boost connectivity between African states, reduce fares and stimulate economic growth through air transport and tourism. Some major nations have subsequently dismissed SAATM as offering no benefit, while others have called for more time to develop local entities before opening the market to competition.

We have been on the verge of progress many times before and despite promises they failed to deliver change. Whatever the outcome of SAATM, a clear air transport strategy is required across the Continent and this should be based upon strong analytical evidence and must be implemented with precision.

“There is a lack of leadership to implement the strategy,” says Vuwani Ndwamato, director of air transport, South Africa Department of Transport. “How are you going to build trust and confidence amongst African airlines if they feel the competitive landscape is not fair and the legal framework inadequate?” he questions.

We are now certainly the closest we have ever been to allowing Africa to fulfil its aviation potential, but we need to stop talking and take action. And with a clearer aviation strategy we can be a little more confident the African aviation market will finally see a new dawn.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

09:30 -AFRAA’s chief is on stage and being streamed to the world


Wednesday 6th February 2019

09:15 – It’s a long, long road to liberalisation… in Africa,for sure!

One of the most common phrases heard at conferences and seminars concerning Africa is the need to develop a ‘United Africa’. This would certainly have benefits when it comes to air transportation. Africa covers more than 30 million square kilometres and is home to more than a billion people. Due to its challenging terrain, air transport is often the best — sometimes the only — way to connect the continent. Africa needs safe, efficient and affordable air transport links to make the most of its people and resources. It is clear that to facilitate air transport growth there is a need for enhanced connectivity and cooperation within the Continent.

Indeed, African ministers responsible for civil aviation themselves acknowledged this back in 1999, when they adopted the Yamoussoukro Decision, named for the Ivorian city in which it was agreed. This committed its 44 signatory countries to deregulate air services and open regional air markets to transnational competition and followed up on the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988, in which many of the same countries agreed to principles of air service liberalisation. In 2000, the Decision was endorsed by head of states and governments at the Organization of African Unity, and became fully binding in 2002. However, progress has been painfully slow.

It has been a long, long journey to open Africa’s skies, but the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is showing some real progress. However, sovereignty issues could still hold back its implementation. Abderahmane Berthé, secretary general, African Airlines Association (AFRAA) says 28 states have signed a commitment to SAATM, but only 16 have signed the memorandum of implementation.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO, RwandAir is optimistic. “I’m hopeful this time is the right time,” she says. “There has been a change in mindset.” However, she warns that “it’s good to open the skies, but when the borders are closed,” the problems will remain. She says RwandAir continues to struggle with fifth freedom rights and particularly the repatriation of funds from some African states. “It is sometimes easier to fly from Africa to Paris and back to connect to destinations on the Continent. That needs to change,” she adds.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

09:00 – Up now… Winds of change: progress of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM)

For as long as air services have existed Africa has had enormous potential. That it has yet to be achieved is due in large part to nationalism and a reluctance to recognise the economic value of expansive air links.

Despite numerous attempts to achieve some form of multilateral liberalisation, with one or two key exceptions, the continent remains riddled by failed national airline models.

The LCC model, which has succeeded in disrupting most other markets globally, appears to be making some inroads in shifting travel perceptions and regional connectivity, but there is much to be done before substantial results are achieved.


Wednesday 6th February 2019

08:30 – News from the local Qatar media


Wednesday 6th February 2019

08:15 – Highlights from yesterday

While we have been sleeping, the team back at CAPA HQ in Sydney have packaged together a short highlight reel from yesterday…


Wednesday 6th February 2019

08:00 – We are prepared for another day of debate and discussion

After yesterday’s wide ranging discussions on the political and regulatory aviation environment, we have another four hours of content this morning and into the early afternoon. This includes a look at Africa, the ASEAN region, air cargo, sustainability, concluding with a session looking at the way ahead in the aviation aeropolitical arena.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

22:30 – Key insights from the opening day of the CAPA event agenda

CAPA -Centre for Aviation research analyst Adam Basir has been working away at the side of all of today’s agenda producing News Briefs for CAPA Members. Here’s some of the stories now online to subscribers – Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker understandably dominates the initial posts that have been uploaded following his passionate keynote address…

Qatar Airways Group CEO: Alliances are ‘old fashioned’
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, stated (05-Feb-2019) the alliance system “is old fashioned”, adding the alliance is only “fashionable” and allows airlines to “burn miles on each other and use their lounges”. Mr Al Baker noted Qatar Airways is the second largest ASK contributor to the oneworld alliance.

Qatar Airways Group CEO: blockade reduced service network from 18 to 2 air corridors
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, noted (05-Feb-2019) prior to the blockade, “Qatar Airways had access to 18 entry and exit points on air corridors which allowed us to [operate] close to 600 flights per day”. After the implementation of the blockade, access was reduced to two entry and exit points and operations declined to 444 flights, according to the group CEO.

Qatar Airways Group CEO: ‘our competitors are unable to adjust to changing markets & are shrinking’
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, stated (05-Feb-2019) “robust business planning”, passenger experience centric strategy and “dedicated employees” have reduced and if not “defeated” the impacts of the blockade. Mr Al Baker noted a mixed fleet including narrowbodies “allowed us to launch new destinations and not dump capacity”. The group CEO added, “it has effectively repositioned our network, enabled us to continue growing, while our competitors are unable to adjust to changing markets and are shrinking”.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

22:00 – Video highlights from tonight’s dinner from our host Qatar Airways


Tuesday 5th February 2019

18:30 – The tables are set and the drinks are ready!

The tables are set and the drinks are ready for the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit hosted by Qatar Airways, which will commence at 7:00pm. Delegates are already mingling outside enjoying a pre-dinner networking drinks reception.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

17:30 – Today’s meeting agenda has closed. Now the countdown to tonight’s gala dinner

A lively day of debate comes to an end with the closure of today’s formal agenda. It was a day packed with discussion, debate and some developing news stories. We managed to grab some time with HE Akbar Al Baker, CEO at Qatar Airways Group; Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission; and Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA. Look out for exclusive CAPA TV video interviews appearing on the CAPA site in the next couple of weeks.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

17:00 – Up now… Is airport privatisation and corporatisation good for industry and consumers?

It is no secret that the airline industry is confronted by a crisis of infrastructure. As passenger traffic has bloomed, well above long term growth rates in recent years, the level of congestion at many of the world’s major airports has seemingly reached tipping point. Governments are rarely prepared to fund new expansion, even where environmental pressures allow it. So, seeking private funding appears to be the solution. But striking a balance between attracting private financing and achieving national economic goals has become a seemingly intractable problem.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

16:50 – A meeting of minds in Doha

Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission, and Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, has used the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit as a platform to catch up on latest industry developments.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

16:30 – CAPA insights from this afternoon’s disscusions


Tuesday 5th February 2019

16:10 – Up now… How does the aviation industry ensure congestion doesn’t limit growth? Unlocking the value of slots at congested airports

Airport slots undoubtedly have a “value”, especially at congested facilities. It is sometimes argued that unlocking that value can lead to more commercial outcomes than are achieved in most cases today. Yet there is no commonality in the way airports and governments treat slot “ownership”.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

15:45 – NEWSFLASH: Europe – Qatar air service agreement is agreed in principle

We have just learnt from Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission, that the under discussion air service agreement between Europe and Qatar that has been a hot topic during the summit has made significant process. The terms of the agreement have been approved and will be initialled shortly, he revealed during a quickly arranged press conference at the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha this afternoon.

It has taken eight months of talks, albeit Mr Hololei acknowledges that it has been the past two-and-a-half years for that the most intensive discussions have taken place. But while agreed, it still has to go through the legal process, and that could take another six months to formalise to a position it can presented to Europe’s member states for final signing.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

15:20 – Asia’s emerging markets: How have Open Skies policies resulted in traffic expansion?

Hugh Aitken, senior director, strategic partnerships at Skyscanner delivers a presentation highlighting how in Asia, more than anywhere else in the world, mobile is influencing how we digest travel data, and it is changing the way they book. But, have Open Skies policies resulted in traffic expansion across Asia? Yes, it seems, according to Skyscanner’s analysis.

The UK company, which has become a household name in the travel sector, says the Australia – China market, which has operated under an open skies regime since Dec-2016, is a great example. OAG schedule data analysis by CAPA would seem to confirm this in terms of capacity and Skyscanner believes traffic supports this trend.

“Open Skies can lead to traveller benefit where carriers take advantage of liberalisation,” says Mr Aitken.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

14:45 – The US perspective – insights from the panel discussion


Tuesday 5th February 2019

14:30 – Elevate, Accelerate and Ascent – new ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ tiers will deliver loyalty rewards to SMEs

Qatar Airways has launched ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’, a corporate rewards programme in Europe and the Americas. Like its regular Privilege Club loyalty programme, which offers members Qmiles, businesses can earn Qrewards for staff corporate travel and which can be redeemed on future flights or other exclusive benefits.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

14:15 – CAPA News Briefs – keep up-to-date with all the insights from Doha

In addition to this blog, CAPA subscribers have access to all the key discussion points, insights and quotes from the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit at their fingertips via the News Briefs product.

If you are not a member, find out how you can also get a front row seat to global aviation news, analysis and data as it happens, with access to a comprehensive suite of tools that can be customised to your needs.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

14:00 – Up now… Where to, North America’s approach to open skies?

As the originator of the swathe of open skies agreements in the 1990s and the early part of the 21st century, the United States of America (USA) is a vital part of the modern liberal bilateral system. Now Brexit prompts a vital review of the North Atlantic multilateral agreement, while the US is seemingly wavering in its commitment to the principles of a laissez-faire international marketplace. Meanwhile, Canada remains committed to its (dark) Blue Skies protectionist policy.

In the wake of the US big three’s recent onslaught on the Gulf carriers, there is still a lack of clarity over the US position on liberal market access, a question made more poignant by the Trump administration’s attacks on free trade generally. However, some comfort can be drawn from Washington’s apparent reluctance to intervene in a protective way.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

13:45 – Brexit… the certainty of uncertainty!

Think of any word beginning with the letter ‘B’? There are thousands of options, but for most people across Europe, and the UK particularly, there will be only one word that would come immediately to mind… Brexit. The Blue Swan Daily has continuously featured developments on the subject and the likely repercussions for travel and aviation.

Here at the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha, Holland & Knight’s Robert Ricketts shared the following cartoon on Brexit, highlighted in a tweet from fellow delegate, speaker and colleague Anita Mosner.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group, believes that aviation will continue as normal post Brexit, but warns there could be some short-term hurdles. “Brexit or not Brexit, I am big believer aviation will continue as normal. People will still travel. There could be upheaval, but soon it will be business as usual,” he said at the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha.

What’s the current state of play? Here’s a story published on The Blue Swan Daily today…


Tuesday 5th February 2019

13:30 – Conference insights from CAPA’s Twitter feed


Tuesday 5th February 2019

13:15 – More The Blue Swan Daily insights


Tuesday 5th February 2019

13:00 – It’s time for lunch… but lots more to come this afternoon

It’s been a busy morning of discussions. It’s now time for lunch, but there’s so much more to come, First up after the break will be a panel discussion on North America’s approach to open skies and subsequent discussions centred around Asia and then the airport sector’s input on the subject.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:50 – Conference content hits the local media

From the Peninsula:

Qatar and the European Union are in the final stages of concluding a comprehensive air transport agreement covering fair competition and transparency, the chief executive of state-owned Qatar Airways said on Tuesday.

“We have taken bold steps by agreeing to articles on fair competition, social aspects, business practices, and transparency,” Akbar Al Baker said at a CAPA summit in Doha.

READ MORE: Qatar, EU in final stages of air services deal: Qatar Airways CEO


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:40 – NEWS: India home to world’s ‘most restrictive aviation policy’

Akbar Al Baker has called on Indian authorities to take a more liberal approach to international aviation to support its own economic development. Speaking during the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha this morning the Qatar Airways group CEO described India has  having “the most restrictive aviation policy of any country in the world”.

He explains that a focus on the domestic market means that airlines in the country have limited interest in exploring additional international access.  He says that foreign airlines have exercised all traffic rights, but as Indian airlines still have availability that there is not a need to grow the market.

“The government should take a very open view of approaching foreign carriers. There are no traffic rights and you can’t bring more people in, but as India has not utilised their entitlements there is no need to change,” he adds.

Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission, says that over the next 12 months the European Union will be increasing contact with India authorities and is “keen” to look at how to open up the market.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:30 – Up now… Post-Brexit: All change – or no change?

Britain’s decision to exit the EU came as a surprise to most, including those who supported it. As reality strikes, there remain many complex bilateral and multilateral arrangements to unravel and to remake. How the scenario unfolds will depend on the renewed intentions of all those involved. The aviation world will be watching, as ancient norms are reviewed in the light of the 21st century’s evolving global marketplace.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:20 – Join the debate – more from #CAPASummit


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:10 – A protectionist future can only lead to a less connected and prosperous world

“Some political circles are rejecting globalisation’s benefits. A protectionist future can only lead to a less connected and less prosperous world – economically and culturally. We must stand up for business of freedom.”
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA


Tuesday 5th February 2019

12:00 – NEWS: Al Baker sees a ‘sad’ end for the A380 ‘gamechanger’

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker says he is “sad” with the potential news that Airbus could prematurely end production of the A380 following press reports that Emirates Airline, the largest operator of the type, is in discussions to switch an outstanding order to smaller equipment.

Airbus has said in a statement: “Airbus confirms it is in discussions with Emirates Airline in relation to its A380 contract. The details of Airbus’ commercial discussions with customers remain confidential.”

“I am sad if this aircraft is not going to be produced in the future, but that is not my business, that’s down to Airbus. It was a gamechanger that perhaps came at the wrong time,” Mr Al Baker said at the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha this morning.

“As an aeroplane it is ideally suited to routes you need high capacity. We deploy it in markets where there is demand for large aircraft and are restrained by slots. We don’t use it to dump capacity like some airlines do,” he added.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

11:40 – NEWS: Qatar Airways set to boost Gothenburg flights

Qatar Airways is set to more than double frequencies between Doha and the Swedish city of Gothenburg having only inaugurated flights on the route in the past couple of weeks. The airline currently operates five weekly frequencies, but Akbar Al Baker revealed at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit this morning that significant growth is already on the cards.

“Advanced bookings for Gothenburg are so strong we are soon going to launch a daily frequency from five [flights per week] and are considering going double daily,” he explained.

Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, is set to grow by almost a third by the end of 2035. It is an important industrial and business centre, with the largest port in the Nordic countries. Qatar Airways is serving the market with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

11:30 – Up now… Europe’s aviation relations with the world: towards multilateralism

The EU has played a vital leadership role in aviation in Europe and the North Atlantic and, increasingly, globally. In recent years the face of the airline industry has changed rapidly, with new entrants, new airline types and new aircraft all contributing to a very different environment compared with 20 years ago. The panel will review the extent and relevance of these developments and discuss where the industry – and its regulation – might be heading.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

11:20 – Initial press conference insights

As you would expect, HE Akbar Al Baker dominated the discussions during the press conference, which also included Alexandre de Juniac, Henrik Hololei and Peter Harbison. Here’s some of the key points…

On the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit…
“It is a great pleasure that CAPA is hosting this conference in my country. We are delighted we had this opportunity from you and at the same time we want you to know that we want this destination to be world class.”

On the regional blockade…
“We have shown a lot of resilience in the case of this evil blockade against my country. We have shown how we can withstand the pressure our adversaries have put on us and not bow to their illegal demand.”

On being an aircraft launch customer…
“We don’t like to be guinea pigs for aircraft manufacturers. But next year we hope to be one of the first to fly the Boeing 777X.”

On fleet growth…
“We take delivery of one aircraft, on average every ten days. These are not all growth aeroplanes – we aim to keep to a five year average age.”

On the future…
“We will keep winning awards as we are so determined to differentiate ourselves from our competition.”

On cargo growth…
“We will add five more Boeing 777Fs this year”.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

11:00 – While we are away… a quick CAPA membership plug

Today, the global aviation and travel industry is undergoing significant and rapid change. Keeping up with these changes is getting harder every day. In a turbulent world, repeating the same thing we’ve done before is a guarantee for disaster. That’s where CAPA – Centre for Aviation is there to help!

CAPA provides access to the resources people need to stay connected and up to date fast. Its four key pillars, our news, analysis, data and events, give customers the confidence and connections they need to make informed, strategic decisions.

Visit CAPA – Centre for Aviation for more information.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:40 – Time for a break… but more insights to follow

Here in Doha, it is time for a networking break for delegates attending the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit. Qatar Airways is hosting a press conference during this period and we will bring you all the key news upon its completion. The room is already packed with media eager to hear what HE Akbar Al Baker has to say.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:30 – Join the debate – via #CAPASummit


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:20 – Open skies and level playing fields

Has the Chicago Convention failed? CAPA – Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison says that it may have created a strong safety stance and remains at the highest level, the world has turned on its axis and the landscape is very different today to when it was signed. “In 1944, they wouldn’t have understood a word about what we are discussing today. But the regulatory structure remains embedded in that initial agreement and national ownership restrictions continue to undermine attempts to rationalise the industry,” he says.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:15 – New air service agreements are ‘more than just about traffic rights’

Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission says new aviation agreements deliver a holistic approach and “are more than just about traffic rights”. He echoes Mr Al Baker’s earlier comments on the planned European Union – Qatar agreement which he hopes a draft agreement will be signed shortly. “We have had our differences,” he says, “but have put together something that is right for both parties”.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:10 – Qatar is a great example of what an underdog can achieve

Henrik Hololei, director general mobility and transport at the European Commission, explains for Qatar there is “every reason to be proud of their achievements”. Using the nation’s recent 2019 AFC Asian Cup victory as an analogy, he notes the great example of what an “underdog can achieve if it has the right will and attitude”. He describes the Qatar blockade as “unthinkable” and that subsequently “nothing much has changed” around 18 months on.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

10:00 – Qatar Airways highlights Mr Al Baker’s address on social media


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:50 – Fleet composition was key to Qatar Airways’ survival

Qatar Airways Group CEO made a passionate speech to open the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha this morning. Among the many points he highlighted, he noted that the airline’s fleet restructure helped it to recover from the introduction of the regional blockade. “A narrowbody fleet allowed us to be flexible and reposition our network to continue growing, while our competitors are shrinking,” he said.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:40 – IATA: Smarter regulation results from dialogue between the industry and governments

Alexandre de Juniac, director general & CEO of airline body IATA, highlights that smarter regulation will result from dialogue between the industry and governments during his keynote address. “Smarter regulation is more common sense than it is rocket science,” he explains. He calls for “ethical” rather than “knee jerk” reactions to regulation that can “penalise airlines rather than protect passengers”.

“We must vigorously defend the business of freedom,” he says.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:30 – Qatar in ‘final stages of agreement with European Union’

Qatar Airways Group CEO HE Akbar Al Baker says “through positive engagement we can build trust” and highlights that Qatar is close to agreeing a new air service agreement with the European Union. “We are in final stages of agreement with the European Union,” he says. On its liberal approach, he adds: “We have nothing to hide. Even with setbacks, we stick to our word and honour our agreements.”

The European Union agreement has been a long time coming – around eight years of talks have already taken place. “The intention is very good. They are sincere and we are sincere,” adds Mr Al Baker.

The agreement will include a “social aspects clause”, and allow European carriers greater access to Qatar, explains Mr Al Baker.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:25 – Join the debate – via #CAPASummit


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:20 – Al Baker: Blockade impact has been ‘minimised, even defeated’

Qatar Airways Group CEO HE Akbar Al Baker says that while such external impacts could have killed off many airlines it has made Qatar Airways stronger, adding more than 25 new destinations to its network. In many of these markets it has become the first major hub carrier to offer flights. “The impact has been minimised, even defeated,” he explains.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:15 – Qatar blockade was ‘ruthless campaign of isolation’

Qatar Airways Group CEO HE Akbar Al Baker describes the Qatar air space blockade by neighbouring countries as a “ruthless campaign of isolation” from what where former partners. He explains that the number air corridors in and out of Doha was reduced from 18 to just 2 due to what he describes as “illegal actions”. He also expresses disappointment to the reaction of ICAO, which he says was “rather timid and disappointing” as they took a “back seat”.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:10 – Qatar Airways’ flightpath to the future

Since June 2017 Qatar Airways has had to operate under the imposition of an air space blockade by neighbouring countries, forcing the airline to operate longer routes and to seek new markets to replace highly profitable established markets in the blockading countries.

Group CEO HE Akbar Al Baker highlights how Qatar Airways is dealing with these challenges, his plan for returning the airline back to profitability in particular in the face of rising fuel prices and the potential for the blockade to continue into the long term.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

09:00 – ‘Start Me Up’  and away we go!

CAPA – Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison takes to the stage to welcome delegates to the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha with a message of thanks to our hosts, sponsors and dignitaries in the audience. We are all set for a couple of days of enlightening insight and lively debate.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

08:50 – The countdown commences… prepare for take-off

It is just ten minutes until the opening of the Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit. The Rolling Stones are on pause ready for CAPA executive chairman to take to the stage for his welcome address.

600 seconds… 599 seconds… 598 seconds….


Tuesday 5th February 2019

08:45 – Reminder… you can view the Summit from the comfort of your office!

If you couldn’t make it to Doha then don’t worry. To ensure you don’t miss any of the thought-provoking discussions that are expected, CAPA – Centre for Aviation will be providing a free LIVE STREAM of the Summit which will follow all the agenda proceedings (details here – all local Doha, Qatar time).


Tuesday 5th February 2019

08:30 – The Blue Swan Daily insights


Tuesday 5th February 2019

08:00 – Registration is open

Delegates are starting to arrive at the conference location to a warm welcome from the CAPA team.


Tuesday 5th February 2019

07:30 – Join the debate – via #CAPASummit


Tuesday 5th February 2019

07:00 – The calm before the storm

It is just a couple of hours until the formal agenda starts on day one of the CAPA-Centre for Aviation Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel. All is quiet in the conference hall and networking areas, although the CAPA team have been beavering away for a couple of hours ensuring a smooth delivery of today’s programme.


Monday 4th February 2019

20:00 – What can we expect tomorrow?

What will tomorrow bring? A packed schedule of enlightening discussions unrivalled in coverage of the top strategic issues affecting the aviation and travel markets. A full day of discussions is in store with events kicking-off at 09:00 with welcome introductions from CAPA’s Peter Harbison. Whether you are with us in Doha, or following us live, or via this blog, make sure you are in position as we have keynote addresses from Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac and European Commission director general mobility and transport Henrik Hololei. And that’s just the first hour of a packed agenda.


Monday 4th February 2019

18:00 – An informal start to the busy schedule

Delegates are already mingling at the La Veranda at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel for tonight’s welcome reception.  Ahead of the formal programme starting in the morning, guests are taking the opportunity to network with their peers.


Monday 4th February 2019

16:00 – Can’t make it to Doha? Follow the action from tomorrow via our Live Stream

If you couldn’t make it to Doha then don’t worry. To ensure you don’t miss any of the thought-provoking discussions that are expected, CAPA – Centre for Aviation will be providing a free LIVE STREAM of the Summit which will follow all the agenda proceedings (details here – all local Doha, Qatar time).


Monday 4th February 2019

14:00 – ANALYSIS – CAPA Aviation Outlook 2019: The distribution (r)evolution accelerates

As fuel prices deliver short term relief, demand is the big unknown in the year of the pig. It’s become almost a truism since the advent of President Trump, the British folly of an imminent Brexit, the rise of European populist politics, and rising debt challenges, to say that the coming year will be characterised by unpredictability. The wild 2018 end of year share market oscillations are another illustration of investor anxiety. These factors are neither conducive to industry planning nor to encouraging consumer confidence.

READ CAPA’s insightful analysis, including…

  • How fuel prices and exchange rates will drive short term profitability;
  • Why low fuel prices offer a period of relief;
  • How growth remains solid but may be slowing;
  • How Asia is where the action is – but not the profitability;
  • Why CEO confidence is sliding
  • Why recession is merely a matter of “when”, not “if”


Monday 4th February 2019

12:00 – What’s in store over the next couple of days?

It’s hardly a secret that the airline industry is facing myriad challenges, notably in the marketing and distribution areas, as companies with personalised data, and the analytics and artificial intelligence to go with it, become greater threats to the stability of the traditional airline model. Understanding aviation markets is CAPA’s great strength and passion and the event agenda in Doha includes a variety of topics sure to generate interest and deliver lively debate.

Alongside keynotes from leading industry players including Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac and European Commission director general mobility and transport Henrik Hololei, a local and global perspective will be afforded on the industry.

Topics under discussion will include:

  • Europe’s aviation relations with the world: towards multilateralism
  • Post-Brexit: All change – or no change?
  • Where to, North America’s approach to open skies?
  • Asia’s Emerging Markets: How have Open Skies policies resulted in traffic expansion?
  • How does the aviation industry ensure congestion doesn’t limit growth? Unlocking the value of slots at congested airports
  • Is airport privatisation and corporatisation good for industry and consumers?
  • Winds of change: progress of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM)
  • The outlook for the ASEAN Air Travel Market
  • Air cargo growing in prominence, but challenges remain
  • How can airlines achieve their sustainability goals?
  • The way ahead in the aviation aeropolitical arena

CHECK OUT the full event AGENDA.


Monday 4th February 2019

10:00 – Regional news from The Blue Swan Daily

The Middle East market has been a story of growth for so many recent years as the development strategies from the likes of Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways has firmly placed the Gulf region on global route maps. But things have got more challenging. Political interference has become a norm, airline strategies have been called to attention and flights have actually been banned between some neighbouring nations across the region.

Our regular round-up delivers some of the latest key aviation and travel news stories from across the Middle East region. Here’s last week’s update.


Monday 4th February 2019

08:00 – Welcome to Doha

Good morning from Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel in Qatar Airways hosts the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit. The CAPA event team are all on site working hard to prepare everything for the event, which will address the latest development in aviation regulation both within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and globally.

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