BLOG: Live from Sydney – insights from the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit

Welcome to live coverage from The Blue Swan Daily of activities in Sydney, Australia at the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit.

CAPA’s roadshow of events throughout the world offers a unique blend of high level aviation content and corporate travel management insights and best practices. It is the ONLY platform that delivers a true end to end knowledge and networking experience for the travel industry, attracting players from across the entire travel ecosystem – from airlines, airports and hoteliers through to intermediaries and travel managers.

CAPA’s home event, the Australia Pacific Summit, held on 1-2 August will explore high level aviation and corporate travel management issues. At its heart the agenda features discussions on the commercial and operational pillars underpinning strategic decision making at local and international carriers, but for the corporate travel manager, there is also an entire stream where highly regarded travel industry executives will lead quickfire workshops on generating efficiencies and cost savings in air, accommodation and TMC contract negotiations.

AGENDA – View the full CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit agenda.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Follow the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit on Twitter and if you have any comments on the topics being explored at the Summit then join the debate: #CAPASummit.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

15:20 – CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit 2018 … DONE!

A big thank you from all of the CAPA – Centre for Aviation team to everyone who attended the event this year, as well as all the sponsors that made it possible. We hope you enjoyed all the insightful discussions.

Don’t forget to visit for all of CAPA’s upcoming events. Next up is the 2018 Latin America Aviation & LCCs Summit in Cartagena, Colombia.

Also, if you have registered to receive the Blue Swan Daily newsletter for your region, make sure you do so in the top right of this screen.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

14:45 – Some final thoughts via #CAPASummit

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

14:30 – Wait…what? Its over already? The closing debate is underway.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

14:00 – The one we have been waiting for…Fireside chat with virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti

Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti:

  • “We still compete very ferociously. I think the difference now is that the war that had to happen lasted longer than I expected. It shouldn’t rationally have lasted that long but it did. The point though is that there is no less competition now – just competition on different fronts”
  • Talking about Tigerair Australia: “I don’t agree that the brand is that damaged. In my view and certainly while I’m there we will not change that brand.”

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

13:30 – CAPA and Blue Swan TV has been going strong all event

CAPA and Blue Swan TV has been very active at this event. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for exclusive interviews with today’s attendees. We have secured time with representatives from Hawaiian Airlines, Adelaide Airport, AirPlus and Travel but there is plenty of others.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

12:30 – Join the debate: more from #CAPASummit

#CAPASummit trending Australia wide. Thanks for your involvement.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

11:30 – Are Australian/New Zealand airport charges “fare”? Unpacking the economic reality of airport privatisation

Thoughts from this important debate:

Adelaide Airport MD Mark Young, stated:

  • Every airline-airport relationship is bespoke to every individual airport. If deals make sense, they get done.
  • Airlines have a legitimate right to understand airport expansion plans and capital investments… if you can arrive in the middle where it makes sense, deals do get done.

Australian Airports Association chief economist Warren Mundy, stated:

  • The notion that airport charges are continually growing is simply not true.
  • There has been a significant down trend in international fares primarily because of increased competition in the international market.
  • Councils which are poorly resourced haven’t got the resources to conduct airport consultations.

Qantas Airways government, industry, international and environment group executive Andrew Parker:

  • Negotiations are deliberately protracted by airports for many, many years in some cases
  • I just don’t think the airports believe they have competition
  • Commenting on negotiations between airports and airlines: “We reject the premise that there is no issue here”
  • Airports are saying where Qantas can and can’t fly.

Airlines for Australia and New Zealand CEO Alison Roberts:

  • “Clearly the threat is not present” for airports when it comes to negotiations with airlines.
  • Airports in Australia are “monopoly assets only incentivised to pursue profit”.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

11:30 – Are Australian/New Zealand airport charges “fare”? Unpacking the economic reality of airport privatisation

Australasia’s airports and airlines exist in an uncomfortable dichotomy. Each relies on the other, yet both have accused the other of taking advantage of market power, whether it’s charging excessive airport fees or inflating airfares on regional routes, depending on who is levelling the accusation.

Despite a number of Productivity Commission reviews supporting the current regulatory framework, A4ANZ claims that airport charges have provided one of the biggest roadblocks to fleet renewal and route development and that airports have abused their monopolistic power to capture “a disproportionate share” of Australia’s aviation growth, citing Frontier Access reports .

AAA argues such claims “ignored the robust negotiations between airlines and airports that take place across the country to deliver runways, terminals and technology to meet passenger needs”. The airport body has also expressed concerns over the airline industry’s market power, arguing “the domestic airline duopoly disadvantages the passenger – particularly in the regions”.

In this debate both A4ANZ and AAA will be given equal opportunity to share their views on the economic reality in the post airport privatisation environment and what this has really meant for airlines, airports and – most importantly – the consumer.

Before this important discussion gets underway. Take a look at the A4ANZ report below.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

9:40 – Need a coffee hit? Head to the Amex booth

Thank you to American Express for supplying the well needed coffee today. Looks like there might be a few other goodies floating around as well.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

10:00 – Tigerair Australia’s new CEO Merren McArthur questions the term “Low Cost Carrier”

Ms McArthur questions the term Low Cost Carriers (LCC), believing it has connotations of “cheap and nasty”. In her keynote to the CAPA audience, she asks “Why would an airline want to be know as this? Passengers don’t care about operating cost, they care about choice. I see Low Cost Carriers as the disruptors and innovators in the aviation industry”.

Ms McArthur even suggests a few alternative titles for the LCC model, including:

  • The Disruptive Airlines;
  • The Innovative Airlines;
  • The Full Choice Airlines; or
  • Airlines of Choice.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

9:50 – Tigerair Australia’s new CEO Merren McArthur on the future of the LCC

New Tigerair Australia CEO Merren McArthur starts off her keynote with an important issue of diversity in aviation and asks the audience to do more to combat this issue.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

9:30 – Travelport’s Ian Heywood unpacks NDC and its journey to 2020

Travelport Global Head of New Distribution Ian Heywood is here to explore NDC and let us know What, Why, How and the Journey to 2020. We caught up with Mr Heywood yesterday on CAPA TV to explore this very topic. Keep amn eye out in Blue Swan soon for the full interview.

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

9:15 – Hawaiian Airlines evolution and 2020 strategy

Mr Ingram takes the audience on Hawaiian AIrlines’ journey since 2005, and into the future as part of its 2020 strategy. The “next horizon” for Hawaiian includes new growth and development, new aircraft and partnerships:

Hawaiian has established strong presences in all key international markets, especially Japan which has the most daily seats to Hawaii:

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

9:05 – First up on Day 2, let’s hear from Hawaiian Airlines new President & CEO Peter Ingram

Thursday 02-Aug-2018

08:00 – Photo Highlights from Day 1


Thursday 02-Aug-2018

07:00 – Welcome to day two at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit

It’s an early start and the agenda doesn’t kick off for a couple of hours but the CAPA team are on site to make sure everything is ready on what is sure to be another interesting day of discussions.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

19:15 – The tables are set and the drinks are ready!

The tables are set and the drinks are ready for the CAPA Gala Dinner hosted by Travelport.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

17:35 – At the end of the day!

A busy day’s programme comes to an end. Time to enjoy a drink and continue the networking before dinner. What is this entertainment we keep hearing about? Hopefully someone has a camera handy.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

16:45 – Up now and closing the day’s agenda…What does truly frictionless travel look like? How to reduce customer touchpoints and enhance the travel experience using new technologies and AI

From voice based commerce during the booking process, to automated check in and inflight WiFi, technological innovations are enhancing the travel experience.

FCM Travel Solutions general manager Melissa Elf:

  • “Voice activation has been introduced in the leisure space but not quite in the corporate space… AI potentially will improve the voice activation technology.”
  • “AI is not about replacing service, its about enhancing service”.

The Lido Group CEO Steve Mackenzie:

  • “I see AI and personalisation as much the same, and this is where things will end up”.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

16:30 – Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans: “We would argue that we are the world’s first truly global LCC”

At last year’s event, Gareth Evans joined us as the CEO of Qantas International. This year he takes the stage as the CEO of Jetstar Airways, in his opinion, the world’s first truly global LCC. A great supporter of CAPA, Mr Evans also recently spoke at the CAPA Global LCC Summit in Singapore. During his discussion, Mr Evans highlighted a few key points about one of Australia’s, and now Asia’s, most recognised brands:

“Thirteen years after Qantas established Jetstar on the east coast of Australia we have grown to be a global LCC.

  • We have a fleet of 133 aircraft – made up of a large A320 fleet, 11 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and a small turbo-prop fleet.
  • We have carried over a quarter of a billion people – or roughly 10 times the population of Australia. I had the pleasure of meeting the 250 millionth passenger – a family from the West of Melbourne – and give them a trip of a lifetime: flights and accommodation for 10 people to anywhere on our network.
  • We have five airlines consisting of Australian domestic and international operations – including a successful long-haul LCC operation, a domestic operation in New Zealand and joint venture airlines with local partners in Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.
  • We fly directly to and from three continents – Australia, Asia and North America. And in the continents and regions we don’t operate to – South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East – we have airlines knocking on our door to put their customers on our network.
  • And Jetstar Japan is the largest low cost carrier brand operating in Japan. We see great potential for this business and with low fares travel still in its infancy, we are well placed to serve the Japanese market as demand for low fares increases.”

To hear more from Mr Evans, visit Gareth Evans speech at CAPA Global LCC Summit 2018.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

16:00 – Afternoon panels are bringing out the big guns

Travelport VP Asia Pacific air commerce Chris Ramm:

  • Recent global digital travel research reveals that 47% of travel related searches include voice device involvement
  • “When you get personalisation right, it works”.

HRG Worldwide MD David Lorimer:

  • TMCs “need to do better in terms of personalisation”.

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan:

  • “Overarchingly, the story is a good one” for inbound tourism into Australia.
  • Tourism Australia would be willing to talk to any airline about direct services to India.

South Australian Tourism Commission CEO Rodney Harrex:

  • “Visitors want to spend money – make it easy, don’t make it hard”

Tourism WA chairman Nathan Harding:

  • “We now have Malysians visiting Perth than Sydney”

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

15:30 – Sydney domestic airfares to most capital cities up more than 5%, hotel rates also climb: CWT/CAPA Report

CWT Solutions Group, the consulting division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and CAPA – Centre for Aviation have found that economy class airfares on several key domestic routes from Sydney increased during the first six months of 2018, compared with the same period last year. Economy fares to Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide increased more than 5% year-on-year. Airfares on the Sydney-Perth route bucked the trend, with economy ticket prices falling 1-5%, while business class fares increased more than 5% year-on-year.

To find out more, visit:

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

15:00 – Join the debate: more from #CAPASummit

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

14:50 – Deconstructing the digital airline and what it means for airline distribution

Web In Travel, Founder, Siew Hoon Yeoh kicks off new panel on “Deconstructing the digital airline and what it means for airline distribution” highlighting some key figures of online distribution:

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

14:20 – Insights from LATAM

After putting him through his paces in a grueling CAPA TV interview, LATAM Airlines Group Senior Vice President of Global Sales Nicolás Goldstein takes to the stage to give the audience an update on LATAM and their market share in South America.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

14:00 – Lunch was a clear distraction

Thank you to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth for yet another fantastic meal. Networking is definitely in full swing as our guests enjoy their meal.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

13:15 – Time for lunch…Look out for our exclusive CAPA TV interviews

It is time for a break in the formal agenda so we can enjoy the great hospitality of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.

In between posts, I have been running back and forth to our filming location for CAPA and Blue Swan TV. Look out for our exclusive video interviews on CAPA TV and in Blue Swan in the coming weeks.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

12:45 – Delivering an efficient airport access system: how to ensure Western Sydney Airport is fit for purpose

Western Sydney Airport CEO Graham Millett confirms the remit from the Government is to deliver an airport fit for full service airlines, low cost carriers, domestic services and international services a like.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

12:00 – TTF: Is the industry really in good shape?

Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond just concluded a panel of industry experts asking the question “Is the industry really in good shape?”

But how far have we come in the last year? Let’s take a look at what was impacting our industry in 2017, thanks to a previously recorded interview with Ms Osmond on the sidelines of the 2017 CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit:

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

11:45 – SIGN UP to The Blue Swan Daily news, analysis and insights

The Blue Swan Daily platform has four daily newsletters covering the entire globe. Make sure you sign up for regional focused material on the aviation and wider travel industry by inputting your details in the box at the top right of this screen. The South Pac newsletter is delivered every weekday at midday, sign up now to receive today’s edition.

Here’s some of its recent stories…

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

11:35 – Thoughts from the Aviation Stream Panel: Is the industry really in good shape?

Agri-nomics Australia non executive director Barry Parsons:

  • Commenting on the industry’s overview: “Numbers are all good but there’s a new benchmark” and that will be hard to continue to perform.
  • “Always a crisis around the corner…but it’s never been better for the airline industry”.

International Air Services Commission chair Ian Douglas:

  • “The sense is that the market is comfortably doing well but no one is feeling exuberant about it”. He said there’s a feeling that “doom and gloom” is coming, noting the aviation industry is cyclical in nature.

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

11:25 – The cost benefits of virtual payments

Wex Inc Director, Market Development APAC Justin Cross takes to the stage to deliver an overview of payment innovation and why more and more organisations are taking up virtual payments as a more flexible, seamless alternative payment platform.

We recently caught up with Mr Cross to discover more about WEX’s products and services and look to the future of payments around the world:

Wednesday 01-Aug-2018

10:55 – After the short break we split the room…Aviation Stream on one side…Corporate Stream on the other. How will you decide?

As we split in two and delve deeper into aviation and corporate travel, lets take a look at what’s up first:

Aviation Stream: Panel – Is the industry really in good shape?

  • Understanding the latest market dynamics, macro trends, realignment and consolidation – and the implications for Australia/South Pacific
  • After aviation’s best two years, will the good times continue, or is a downturn looming?
  • Building sustainable access: are bilaterals putting a constraint on growth in markets where more capacity is clearly needed?
  • As full service airlines and LCCs blend their models, what new dynamics will take shape?
  • What are the specific challenges remote communities face in accessing aviation services?

Corporate Stream:

The evolving payments landscape and implications for corporate travellers

Understanding the key role payment platforms are playing on your travel programs, working with your customers and enabling savings in your business.

American Express, Director Product Management, Bevin Aston

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

10:20 – There’s more to a CAPA Membership than you may think

Global aviation & travel is undergoing significant and rapid change. Keeping on top of everything is one thing however, being able to leverage these insights to make a difference is another.

CAPA – Centre for Aviation is a global aviation knowledge firm providing access to the resources you need to stay connected and up to date in a fast and timely manner. We have four key pillars; news, analysis, data and events which give our customers the confidence and connections they need to make informed strategic decisions.

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

10:00 – Join the debate via #CAPASummit


Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

9:50 – World economic outlook and what it means for the Australian travel industry, according to BIS Oxford Economics

BIS Oxford Economics, Head of Australia Macroeconomics, Sarah Hunter takes the stage to discuss the global macroeconomics and the impact on tourism:

One of the major impacts on our industry is higher oil prices, so what impact will this have on global GDP growth?

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

09:30 – Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert

Mr Culbert starts his keynote talking about the questions he is continually asked especially during the first six months in the role as CEO:

  1. Am I enjoying the role? “Unequivocally, YES.”
  2. What surprised you? “The passion and commitment coming from the employees of Sydney Airport staff and the entire industry. However, I am also surprised by the level of fragmentation between members of the industry, whether it be airport to airport or airport to airline. The thing is we all share the same client, the traveller. Part of my plan for Sydney airport is to focus on the end traveller and ensure collaboration between all of us in the industry.”

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

09:15 – The future of aviation in Australia Pacific according to Peter Harbison

CAPA – Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison officially opens proceedings with his aviation outlook:

Mr Harbison talks the “Balance of Probabilities” and the “Trump Effect”, stating: “Aircraft orders have peaked…. That means something bad is about to happen… but not yet.”

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

9:05 – A quick welcome from our host, Destination NSW

Once again, the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit is hosted by Destination NSW. Destination NSW is the lead government agency for the New South Wales tourism and major events sectors. Their role is to market Sydney and NSW as one of the world’s premier tourism and major events destinations; to secure major sporting and cultural events; to work in partnership with Business Events Sydney to win major international conventions and incentive travel reward programs; to develop and deliver initiatives that will drive visitor growth throughout the State; and to achieve the NSW Government’s goal of doubling expenditure within the State’s visitor economy by 2020.

Over the last week, the CAPA team has been sharing some of their favourite NSW spots. Share yours using the #CAPASummit.

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

9:00 – And we are off…as tradition dictates we start with a welcome from CAPA Executive Chairman Peter Harbison

CAPA – Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison takes to the stage to welcome delegates to this year’s summit. We look forward to hearing from him shortly in his CAPA Aviation Outlook.

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

8:40 – Attending today’s Summit? Remember to download the dedicated app

Those lucky enough to be in attendance at today’s event can connect with Summit attendees and maximise their event experience with the Bizzabo events app.

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

8:20 – Why this is the pre-eminent aviation strategy summit for the Australia-Pacific region

CAPA’s global events attract the highest calibre of thought-leaders in the industry. This includes strong C-Level executive representation from all travel related businesses.

Below is a snapshot of some of the key speakers you can expect from the next two days:

Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

8:00 – Registrations are now open. Looking forward to an informative summit

Don’t forget to join the conversation at @CAPA_Aviation #CAPASummit


Wednesday 1-Aug-2018

07:30 – The calm before the storm

It is just a couple of hours until the formal agenda starts on day one of the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. 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.

Tuesday 31-Jul-2018

17:00 – The stage is almost set

Tuesday 31-Jul-2018

16:30 – Delivering insights on all the industry’s key talking points

For almost 30 years CAPA – Centre for Aviation has been delivering market intelligence, research and data solutions that support strategic decision-making at hundreds of the most recognised organisations in global aviation. Its unrivalled reputation for independence and integrity underpins the commitment of a global team of experts who deliver a wealth of insightful analysis on the latest developments and trends affecting commercial aviation.

Here are just some of the recent insights available to CAPA members…

Tuesday 31-Jul-2018

16:00 – What to expect from this year’s stellar line-up

Aviation Agenda Highlights:

  • The Australia Pacific aviation industry outlook: key drivers in the regulatory and operating environment
  • Infrastructure outlook and future of Western Sydney Airport
  • Digital innovation in the airline and travel industry
  • Enabling frictionless travel through AI and biometrics
  • The disruptive effects of new hubs and new generation aircraft
  • The growth and development of low cost long haul airlines
  • World economic outlook and what it means for Australasian aviation and travel
  • The future of selling for airlines and the travel industry

Corporate Travel Agenda Highlights:

  • Airline negotiations in a supply driven market
  • Sourcing hotel rates in a highly competitive open market
  • Managing TMC costs
  • The evolution of payments, the arrival of NDC and why it matters for the corporate travel industry

Tuesday 31-Jul-2018

15:30 – “History is who we are and why we are the way we are”, David McCullough

As we get set to host another ground breaking summit in Sydney, lets take a trip down memory lane to the 2017 CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit.