Conference Programme

Find business solutions to combat Covid-19 disruption

Covid-19 has unleashed unprecedented changes on our business environment from socially distanced boarding to GSE disinfection regimes. Don’t risk being left behind! GHI’s 22nd Annual Programme will keep you on top of all the crucial changes to operational best practice that will keep your stations operating safely, efficiently and profitably post pandemic.

The programme will feature practical, case study-led best practice advice from frontline aviation leaders on topics including recovering the costs of Covid-19; automation/innovation; stakeholder collaboration; airline:handler relations; flexible SLAs; ramp safety strategies; cleaning, santisation and social distancing measures.

Do you have a story to tell on any of these topics? Email
Time Information
10:00 - 17:30
Conference registration

11:00 - 11:10
22nd Annual GHI Conference welcome
Max Gosney, Portfolio Director & Conference Chairman, Ground Handling International

11:10 - 12:30
The Big Debate: ‘Where do we go from here?’: Establishing a blueprint for aviation’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis
Raul Barrera, SVP Sales and Commercial Operations Americas, Menzies Aviation
Neil Pritchard, Head of Ops Transformation & Ground Handling, Heathrow Airport

Fleets grounded, mass redundancies and our faith in the unstoppable rise in passenger demand shattered. This has been a uniquely devastating year for the aviation community, but what lessons can we take out of the crisis to deliver a more sustainable, resilient and equitable industry in the future? And how do we make sure our businesses are in better shape for the next time a pandemic strikes?
This session will start with GHI revealing the results of an exclusive industry survey into the   business mood heading into 2021: where are volumes at? How strong is cashflow? What change to SLAs? Our panel of industry leaders representing airlines, GSPs, regulators and airports will then share their views on a recovery strategy for the year ahead and how we turn stakeholder collaboration from a principle into standard practice.
12:30 - 14:30

14:30 - 15:00
Stakeholder Collaboration: The end of OTP as we know it? Building the SLA, version 2.0
Peter Hewett, Aviation Consultant,

The coronavirus crisis has rendered most SLAs based on precision turn times and boarding passengers cheek to jowl untenable. This session will be an interactive discussion to explore how airlines and ground handlers should reimagine their business relationships to jointly prosper in the post pandemic age. We’ll examine flexible SLAs pioneered during the pandemic and their lasting impact. The session will also address future KPIs, collaborative working, the cost split of implementing Covid-19 compliant ground activity and explore the hidden role of airports in a more harmonious future.
15:00 - 15:30
Contract negotiation: Prisoner’s Dilemma – increase your rates now or wait to react to rivals?
Wolfgang Fasching, Owner, AGORA Consulting

Ground handlers face some contentious decisions on pricing, SLAs, unpaid invoices and much more as they try and get to grips with a dramatically changed landscape after coronavirus. During this session, Wolfgang Fasching will bring in lessons from Game Theory and the Prisoner’s Dilemma to help inform your next move. The psychology tools will show how two parties could both profit by adopting a cooperative approach. But how do we unlearn the hardball tactics of the past?
15:30 - 16:30
Meet the Airline and Meet the Handler Speed Networking

GHI’s Meet the Airline / Meet the Handler Speed Networking Forums aims to boost your networking opportunities with attending airlines & handlers, whose busy schedules may not permit all their formal One-to-One Meeting requests to be accepted. The format will offer delegates quick-fire introductory slots with up to 10 carriers & handlers and the chance to swap contact details.
Coffee Break

16:00 - 16:30
Cleaning: Strategies for protecting your people, passengers and GSE from Covid-19
Dr. Ralph Brückner, Co-founder, Hecosol

From alcohol-based sanitisers to aircraft cabin fogging and UV light emitting robots – the industry is suddenly bombarded with cleaning tools that claim to eradicate Covid-19. This session will assess the myriad of options on the basis of effectiveness, practicality and cost. What is an essential tool in a station’s Covid defence armoury? The seminar will also look at designing effective cleaning protocol both at check-in, crew areas and for ramp equipment.
16:30 - 17:30
Market focus: The Americas story – an update from the global region hit hardest by Covid-19
Raul Barrera, SVP Sales and Commercial Operations Americas, Menzies Aviation
Ruben Atehortua, Director Cargo Operations , Avianca
Gustavo Di Cio, Director, ABIAX AIR AVIATION

The Americas remains the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with its two economic powerhouses – the US and Brazil declaring the highest number of positive cases in the world. Aviation has been hit hard with LATAM Airlines and Avianca both filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year and US carriers declaring gargantuan losses. How do we start to rebuild? And does Will CARES Act support in the US, but limited government aid anywhere else, put Latin-based carriers at an unhealthy disadvantage once conditions improve? GHI brings together a selection of leading aviation operators in the Americas to give us their insight.
17:30 - 19:30
Welcome Party

Time Information
08:55 - 09:00
Chairman’s welcome
Max Gosney, Portfolio Director & Conference Chairman, Ground Handling International

09:00 - 09:35
Market analysis: The aviation market outlook for 2021
Chris Brown, Director, Global Strategy Group, KPMG

How quickly will volumes rebound next year? And, which global markets will lead the recovery? This session will analyse the most likely traffic scenarios in key markets and the impact different recovery rates may have on liquidity, M&A activity and investment across the supply chain. Our speaker will pinpoint changes to the ground handling market in terms of the market share of major operators and the likelihood of new business models and alliances taking shape in the event of a transitionary year.
09:35 - 10:30
Cargo: The Great Air Cargo Opportunity

With PAX traffic falling by 90% or more during the pandemic and belly space constrained by erratic restart schedules – cargo capacity is struggling to match demand. This session will examine the opportunities for the entrepreneurial to capture some desperately needed revenue from the cargo market during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. Topics will include:
  • The freighter conversions market: the impact of Covid-19
  • Temporary cabin conversions, the air cargo capacity crunch and how to capitalise
  • GSE for cargo handling
  • IT, load-planning and software solutions
  • Automated warehouse innovations and robotics
10:30 - 11:00
Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:30
Legal: The Ground Handling Directive: what does the future hold?
Catherine Erkelens, Founder, ERKELENS LAW

Aviation leaders have lobbied the EU to relax the Ground Handling Directive during the pandemic to ensure the continuity of critical ground handling services through and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.
A group including ASA and ACI Europe have urged emergency contract extensions and the ability to fast-track new handling providers where existing operators enter bankruptcy. Will the policy makers listen? And, what changes are likely to the Directive that could ease the financial burden on handlers and preserve critical services?
11:30 - 12:30
GSE: a strategy to excel in the post Covid-19 age
John North, Area Manager, JBT AeroTech

This session will invite GSE experts to identify a Covid smart equipment strategy to meet the myriad of challenges thrust on ground handlers by the pandemic. The panel will debate steps to bringing back pushback tugs back into service safely; finance options to cope with erratic flight schedules; GSE cleaning and disinfection tips; and the latest innovations coming from manufacturers to help their customers rise to the challenges of Covid-19.
12:30 - 14:30

14:00 - 14:30
Stakeholder collaboration: delivering operational excellence in the face of furlough – the Copenhagen Airport coronavirus diaries
Simona Jespersen, Operational Manager, Copenhagen Airport

Kastrup airport, CPH decided from the end of March to send home most of its staff until end of August based to qualify for coronavirus economic support. So how did the team continue to ensure operations ran safely, on-time and to high customer expectations as well as implementing more complex Covid preventative measures? This session will explore the leadership challenge of doing more with less resource and the importance of teamwork and motivation across all airport stakeholder groups in meeting the enormous challenge of Covid-19.
14:30 - 15:15
Automation: Dawn of the great digital age: how automation and new tech can help your operation overcome the challenges of the pandemic
Altay Fellah, Vice President Business Development, Aviation Division, Inform
Tony Chapman, Senior Director Product Management and Strategy, Collins Aerospace

In a matter of weeks, Covid-19 shook up the tried and tested ground handling processes of the past 30 years. GHI brings together a panel of technology specialists to assess the opportunities for digitisation, automation and process innovation arising from unprecedented change at our stations. Which technologies (AI, robotics, contactless boarding, big data, IOT) can we turn to help us manage the challenges of distancing, passenger/staff safety while maintaining expected OTP? And, how do we finance the adoption of new technologies during these cash constrained times?
15:15 - 15:45
Stakeholder Collaboration: ‘OTP is a misguided measure’ - the London Luton Airport story
Liam Bolger, Head of Airside Operations, London Luton Airport

Crowing about 100% OTP is not the object of the game at London Luton Airport. The innovative airport actively discourages overreliance on the measure by resident airlines and instils a focus on teamwork, prompt passenger offloads and turnaround optimisation. This session will explore how this pioneer in stakeholder collaboration sewed the seeds of successful cooperation with initiatives including GSE pooling, a safety stack and passenger steps positioned on the apron to speed offloads. What does it take to turn a disparate array of airport tenants into an aligned team who profit from a more aligned partnership?
15:45 - 16:15
Coffee Break

16:15 - 16:50
Legal: adapting the SGHA to the post Covid-age
Peter Coles, Partner, Clyde & Co

The pandemic has turned everyday aviation practices on their head from aircraft arrival, baggage handling and catering to the prospect of physical distancing during the unloading of cargo holds. How does the SGHA respond to this radical change? Is there a risk of triggering widespread confusion and redtape by creating endless addendums? How do we adapt the cornerstone of handler:airline partnerships to cope with the post-Covid age?
16:50 - 17:30
Stakeholder collaboration: Negotiating your way out of the pandemic
Desiree Perez, Leadership Coach & Aviation Consultant, Level Up Your Potential

This session will explore how negotiating strategies will need to shift to reflect a radically altered business landscape. The seminar will introduce the principle of Mutually Beneficial Agreements, a theory taught by Dr Fred Kaufman of Google that says the only way for me to profit is for you to profit as well. How can this dovetail with a renewed spirit of stakeholder collaboration?
18:00 - 21:00
Awards & Networking Evening

Time Information
09:10 - 09:15
Chairman's welcome
Max Gosney, Portfolio Director & Conference Chairman, Ground Handling International

09:15 - 09:45
Aviation trailblazers: Taking the fight to Covid-19 – the Celebi Aviation story

This session will explore the spirit of defiance and solidarity among Celebi Aviation’s Istanbul Airport team to overcome the existential threat of Covid-19 this year. The presentation will reveal how Celebi has gone on the font foot to protect passengers and staff with extensive deployment of PPE, social distancing systems and heightened disinfection regimes. Alongside new procedures and equipment: we’ll also explore the critical  leadership challenges essential to maintaining morale in the face of huge fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
09:45 - 10:30
Finance: Who is going to pay? Finding an equitable agreement between aviation stakeholders for funding the Covid-19 crisis response
Christian Bergfelder, Senior Director Network Airside & Airport Affairs – Europe, DHL
Thomas Konietzko, Global Sales and Marketing Executive Vice President, Celebi

Volumes are inefficiently low, process complexity has gone off the scale and everybody is trying to keep hold of cash. But if a handler raises prices too high, too soon then will it prove counterproductive by damaging the financial future of airline customers? How do we address the hugely complex and sensitive issue of funding our industry through this tumultuous time in a fair and equitable way? The session will look at flexible SLAs, Covid surcharges and debate the role of airports and government aid.
10:00 - 10:30
Aviation trailblazers: Achieving an airside ultra-low emission zone and bringing the stakeholders with you – the London Heathrow story
Neil Pritchard, Head of Ops Transformation & Ground Handling, Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport has set it stall on achieving an Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2025. This session will reveal how the airport operations team have set about delivering the goal with the buy-in of the handlers, airlines and suppliers operating airside. Challenges include persuading a myriad of stakeholders to invest in lower emission GSE against the uncertainty caused by high contract churn and demand for charging infrastructure. Could pooling be the answer?
11:00 - 11:30
Coffee Break

11:30 - 12:00
Sustainability: Can Covid-19 be the great catalyst for a greener aviation age?
Helmuth Von Grolman, CEO, Colibri Energy
Lars Barsoe, VP Sales & Marketing, VESTERGAARD COMPANY

Lockdowns and travel bans have triggered record breaking drops in C02 emissions and even the dolphins returning to the waterways of Venice. As operations return, our sector will come under enormous pressure not to undo the good work. So what opportunities are there to use the pandemic as the primer for creating a more sustainable industry? Could government aid, for example, be twinned with requirements to implement of greener aviation practices in return? What can we do now to advance the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels, reduce fuel burn on the ground and embrace electric/bio-fuel powered GSE?
12:00 - 12:30
Safety: Ramping back up safely

Identifying the safety risks awaiting employees upon their return to the apron and what employers can do to manage the dangers. The session will explore what steps businesses should take before redeploying ramp teams – who may have been furloughed for many months – to full turnaround duties. And, we will discuss how social distancing measures align with turnaround activity and working in often confined areas like aircraft holds.
12:30 - 14:30

14:30 - 15:15
Legal: Employment law hazards and how to handle them in the age of Covid
Nick Elwell-Sutton, Partner, CLYDE & CO

A returning ramp operative has tested positive for coronavirus and claims it’s because of insufficient protective measures in their workplace – what do you do next?  This session will explore the myriad of employment law challenges after the pandemic from ensuring your duty of care to employees in the workplace to providing flexible working from home arrangements where required. What do aviation operators need to be aware of as they navigate this alien landscape?
15:15 - 16:00
Automation/technology: Optimising the turnaround

Covid-19 disruption means the challenge of matching the right equipment and teams to increasingly erratic flight schedules has never been tougher. Throw in new airport best practice guidelines around staggered bag offloads, enhanced cabin cleaning and limiting passenger bus capacities and performing the right turnaround activity, at the right time just got a whole lot more complicated. So how can technology help? How do we collect and process data to fine tune ramp performance and what role can AI play in predicting capricious flight arrivals in uncertain times ahead?
16:00 - 16:30
Farewell drinks & close of exhibition