In conversation with… Con Korfiatis, Chief Executive Officer, flyadeal

Next week, the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Middle East and Africa Aviation Summit will take place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC), formerly the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Among the high-profile speakers at the event is Con Korfiatis, CEO of Saudi Arabian LCC flyadeal, and whom will be part of the ‘LCCs in Africa & the Middle East: Lessons to be shared and learnt’ panel session that takes place on the morning of 29-Apr-2019. The Blue Swan Daily spoke to him recently to find out more about what attendees can expect to learn from the session.

Q) Tell us about your career and how you came to work in the industry?
“I started my career as a chartered accountant and then a management consultant. In the course of being a consultant, I had the good fortune of specialising in the aviation space. In short, my exposure to the aviation industry resulted in a deep passion and fascination for it, and I was convinced this was the industry I wanted to work in for the long term. So in 1993 an opportunity to join the dominant domestic airline in Australia came calling and now it’s more than 25 years later.”

Q) What message would you like delegates to take away from your session?
“It’s a well known fact at the aviation industry is a great destroyer of capital. It’s a complex, constantly changing, innovative, political and cyclical business and very often operates irrationally. Success comes by knowing your customer, thinking of it only as a business, successfully managing a political minefield, and remaining remarkably agile.”

Q) What are the biggest challenges you have faced over the past year?
“No different to those I’ve faced over the past over 25 years. Although there are always local nuances, they have the same characteristics. The main difference is they keep coming faster!”

Q) What challenges do your forecast for the coming year in your line of work?
“On a global macroeconomic basis we’re seeing excess capacity, rising costs, and some economic slowdown. This is resulting in airlines deferring orders, lower rates of market growth, and quite a number of spectacular airline failures. Notwithstanding every market not being the same, it will remain a challenging global environment the 2019. In Saudi Arabia, we do have an advantage in that we still have a young market which is not yet mature and so expect to weather the global storm better.”

Q) What is the best innovation you have seen recently?
“The most exciting innovations recently have been in the area of digitalisation and technology across all parts of the industry; too many to mention. And we’re not done yet; There is so much in the pipeline to come and I think the years ahead will be even more exciting.”

Q) Why do you attend CAPA Events?
“I’ve been attending CAPA events for more than 15 years now. They have always attracted those who shape the industry and CAPA truly understands the business. The sessions are topical and the debates of interest and they provide a great networking platform.”