The best-ever Future Travel Experience event in Europe – the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing – took place at the RDS Dublin on 23-25 May 2023, with some 650 registrations from senior executives based in 55 countries in every corner of the world.
Firmly established as the definitive event for the EMEA region, at which air transport meets innovation, the show was delivered with the support of headline partners Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport, and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).
The event featured an end-to-end exhibition of the industry’s most progressive companies, the FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing conferences, an Interactive Workshop Zone, meetings of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group and FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub, a meeting of the oneworld Digital Board, plus the FTE Airline/Airport Transformation Power List EMEA Awards, the unique FTE Innovate Awards, the APEX Passenger Choice Awards, and a fantastic social and networking programme. Here is a selection of the main highlights.
Emirates President Sir Tim Clark helps to get FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing underway
The co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events got underway with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA; keynote speaker Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates; Daniel Coleman, Founder & CEO, Future Travel Experience; and Ali Loving, Head of Events, Future Travel Experience.Join us at FTE Global in LA, 19-21 September 2023 – registration live >> Join us at FTE APEX Asia Expo in Singapore, 8-9 November 2023 – registration live >> Join us at FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing in Dublin, 21-23 May 2024 – find out more >>
An outstanding exhibition of innovative industry suppliers and our biggest-ever startup showcase
More than 50 of the most innovative industry providers showcased their solutions, products and services designed to help airports and airlines redefine the end-to-end passenger experience, optimise operational efficiency and sustainability efforts, and create new commercial endeavours both on the ground and up in the air. The exhibition featured some of the most established global players and the biggest-ever Startup Zone at the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events.
The exhibition featured a number of innovations, including the Lufthansa/Meta Mixed Reality cabin demonstrations in a dedicated space on the expo floor. Attendees were able to take a VR headset, enter Lufthansa’s Metaverse event location or the Mixed Reality full-scale model of the cabin, and experience the new Lufthansa Allegris concept.
A unique social and networking programme
Future Travel Experience is renowned for its social and networking events and FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing 2023 was no exception. To kick-off the show, delegates were able to enjoy a City of Dublin Walking Tour courtesy of passenger disruption experts Plan3. This was followed by the FTE Dublin Ice Breaker at The Odeon, sponsored by the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub.
At the end of Day 1 of the conferences and exhibition, attendees were treated to a Networking Reception on the exhibition floor, sponsored by FLYR Labs. An undoubted highlight was the special cocktails prepared by FLYR Labs for the event. The evening then continued at the ‘Summer in Dublin’ Travel Massive Meet-Up at the iconinc Café En Seine.
Inspiring keynotes from Emirates, daa, BEOND, Alaska Airlines, Vueling, Virgin Atlantic, Ethiopian Airlines and more
The conference agenda began with an exclusive keynote interview with Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates, which was conducted by Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA. It was a truly inspirational interview, focusing on his legacy and his future vision for the group and the industry at large, with sustainability a prominent theme running throughout.
The Day 2 Closing Session featured keynote addresses from Russell Pert, Director, Head of Industry, Financial Services and Travel, Meta and Kenny Jacobs, CEO, daa, as well as a special keynote interview with Michael Cawley, Chairman, Hostelworld Group and Non-Executive Director, Ryanair, which was conducted by Aileen McCormack, Chief Commercial Officer, CarTrawler.
Pert delivered a fascinating Meta perspective on what we can expect of tomorrow’s customer, and how the travel sector can embrace new technologies like AR, VR and AI to better serve their needs.
Jacobs focused on how daa is “Thinking BIG in airports”, with its future plan centred on “Basics, Innovation and Growth”. This includes being “brilliant at the basics for passengers, airlines and customers”, while innovations include a focus on the touchless journey and new security screening equipment enabling passengers to leave liquids and large electrical items in hand baggage.
Tero Taskila, CEO, BEOND, shared insights into how the new only all-premium airline worldwide of its kind will deliver an experience like no other and succeed in such a competitive marketplace. He explained that BEOND is uniquely positioned in the market, highlighting its focus on cost leadership, “bringing the best lessons from low-cost airlines to luxury leisure travel operations”. Meanwhile, entertainment onboard will maximise individual experiences. “We are not an airline but a lifestyle brand that happens to operate a fleet of luxury aircraft,” said Taskila.
Charu Jain, Senior Vice President Merchandising & Innovation, explained how Alaska Airlines is using innovation to take itself to the next level. “We are innovating products and services for our guests and employees in four areas: at home, at the airport, on the ground, and in the air,” Jain said. A transformational project is seeing Alaska Airlines innovate the lobby experience with a $2.5 billion investment in its hubs and focus cities, including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anchorage. These efforts aim to get passenger through the lobby and to security in five minutes or less. “As we thought about how to provide the most caring experience for our guests, it was clear the lobby was a pain point,” Jain explained. “We realised the majority of our guests were doing most of the kiosk actions on their own phones and we could reduce the congestion in our airports. We’re looking forward to offering the new full guest experience next summer.”
Heather Figallo, Chief Transformation Officer, Vueling and Guido Woska, Global Executive Partner & Managing Director, Manyone, delivered a presentation on “Transforming an airline from the ground up – the journey of creating the ‘new Vueling’ with super-strong customer-centricity”. This focused on success being achieved through “a corporate culture of care, trust and empowerment paired with a shared mission, vision and values”.
Fascinating keynote interviews with both Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic and Mesfin Tasew, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines, were conducted by Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA. These deep-dive interviews explored myriad areas with a strong focus on the event theme of “Tomorrow’s Customer”, including innovation efforts, passenger experience enhancements, and an emphasis on sustainability.
FTE EMEA Conference
At the epicentre of FTE EMEA was the region’s definitive innovation competition. FTE EMEA Innovate Awards Pitch Sessions were held in three categories: Most Innovative Airline Initiative, Most Innovative Airport Initiative, and Best New CX Concept. Each of the shortlisted entrants pitched on-stage in an effort to impress our judges – Nick Cole, CEO, daa International; Charu Jain, Senior Vice President Merchandising & Innovation, Alaska Airlines; and Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future – and our audience.
In a session sponsored by ATPCO, Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future, shared his futurist’s view on the future of aviation and presented initial findings from the FTE/Fast Future Survey on the needs of tomorrow’s customers. He explained that the survey includes 70+ expert interviews and broader research, with perspectives on 2030 shared by 903 respondents from 67 countries. Areas covered include the impact of tech and AI on jobs and living standards, sustainability/climate action, influences to travel, relationships with digital, how tech could enhance the travel experience, role of the Metaverse, payment mechanisms, airport processes, and the inflight experience. The FTE/Fast Future Survey will be published in late-summer 2023, with detailed findings to be shared at FTE Global (LA, 19-21 September).
Innovative approaches to better drive industry efficiency ambitions, and to protect the planet were explored in a session moderated by Clyde Hutchinson, General Partner, Team ABC (former Head of Viva Air Labs). Sjoerd Blum, Schiphol Group Aviation Solutions, Royal Schiphol Group, delivered a scene-setting keynote entitled “Build future success today: innovation, collaboration and sustainability. How to improve company & industry performance and to protect the planet”. Joining him were panellists Arlette van der Veer, Senior Manager Radical Innovation, KLM, and Mats Berglind, Innovation Manager – Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, Swedavia.
The FTE EMEA Metaverse, NFT & Crypto Symposium highlighted experiences rolling out the technologies, lessons learned, and their potential use cases. The opening case study explored how Lufthansa is leveraging the Metaverse with VR & XR to champion new product offerings to the world, and featured Björn Becker, Head of Program Future Intercont Experience, Lufthansa Group and Camillo Stark, Deputy Managing Director (AR/VR Labs), MSM.digital.
The future of retailing was explored by Manuel Jose Alvarez, Data & Business Intelligence, Flybondi; and Juan Pablo Lafosse, CEO, TravelX. They explained how Flybondi is revolutionising the customer experience by providing retail attributes to airline tickets. Flybondi has become the first airline to fully tokenize its inventory, leveraging the decentralizing attributes of blockchain to enable more customer flexibility, reduce servicing costs and introduce a multiplier effect to its sales and distribution strategy. Every Flybondi ticket is now an NFTicket.
Arturs Garais, Web3 Project Lead, airBaltic, then presented how airBaltic is implementing new blockchain solutions as, for example, Planies NFTs for the aviation industry to enhance the customer experience.
A truly fascinating session explored how we can we take customer experiences involving the airport, baggage and aircraft to the next level for tomorrow’s customer. Moderated by Darin Juby, Director Baggage Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Head of Baggage Transformation, Future Travel Experience, panellists included Sujata Suri, Vice President Strategy and Commercial Development, Hamad International Airport; Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines; David Kondo, Head of Airport Customer Experience, Finnair; and Bob Kwik, Global Head of Airports, Amazon Web Services.
Another key session in the FTE EMEA Conference examined “New ways of thinking to drive unique and inspiring customer experiences – inspiration from industry leaders & disruptors in parallel sectors”. The panel shared a range of dynamic approaches to leveraging technology to deliver next-level customer experiences. Moderated by Simon Dempsey, CCO, Plan3 and FTE’s ‘Mayor for Startups’, panellists included Per Lilie, Founder, Transform Digital (formerly of Spotify, SAS & Qatar Airways); Bobby Healy, Co-Founder, Meili & Manna Drone Delivery; Guido Woska, Global Executive Partner & Managing Director, Manyone; and Russell Braterman, Proposition & Innovation Director, easyJet.
A session on “Innovative approaches to solving industry pain points for tomorrow’s customers” featured a presentation on the most successful ways to support passengers during times of disruption delivered by Luca De Angelis, CEO, HRS Crew & Passenger Solutions and Yvo van der Tol, CCO, HRS Crew & Passenger Solutions.
Southwest is on a mission to shave five minutes off turnaround times by boarding passengers faster at the gate, and has been testing 11 interesting concepts at gates at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines and Tom Garrison, Solutions Architect, Innovation & Emerging Trends, Southwest Airlines, shared how technology has played a role to improve turnaround times, as well as the key learnings and recommendations.
Marlon van der Meer, Founder, BagsID, then delivered insights into how we can revolutionise the ways in which the industry moves and tracks bags for stakeholders and passengers.
The FTE EMEA Conference also explored new approaches and technologies that can make a transformational difference to the ways airports and airlines will operate in the future. David Wilson, Managing Partner, daa International, shared what we can expect from Saudi’s ultra-luxury and futuristic Red Sea Airport, which will be operated by daa International.
Jörg Moßmann, Senior Project and Portfolio Manager, Fraport AG, explored how the operator is using its Digital Factory to generate rapid solutions for its business problems, and the results and lessons learned from its passenger-focused efforts.
Emanuele Calà, Vice President Innovation & Quality, discussed Aeroporti di Roma’s new innovation model, which has collaboration at its heart, and how that is driving the mission to create a “digital, reliable, data-driven and sustainable airport”.
FTE Ancillary & Retailing Conference
The FTE Ancillary & Retailing Conference featured a key session on “What will tomorrow’s customer expect from the travel retail eco-system, and how do we evolve our approaches to ensure we deliver for them whilst creating better efficiencies and margins?”
Moderator Peter Mohn, Owner & CEO, m1nd-set, set the scene with a presentation on consumer trends in travel retail, and was joined by panellists including Sammy Patel, Chief Executive Officer, Midway Partnership & Vice President, Commercial, Vantage Airport Group; Martin Jones, CEO, CAVU; James Lemon, Global Lead – Travel, Transport & Leisure, Stripe; and Benjamin Ritschel, Vice President Digital Strategy & Core Services, Fraport.
Special presentations were delivered by Ricard Vilà, Chief Digital Officer, LATAM Airlines, who focused on LATAM’s ancillary growth story fuelled by customer centricity and technology excellence, and Dr Jost Daft, Head of Order Transformation, Lufthansa Group, who outlined what’s next for Lufthansa in its digital retailing journey.
A fascinating session examined navigating the tech landscape and airlines’ journey to becoming fully-fledged digital retailers. Moderated by Sinead Finn, Founder, affinnity, it featured Ursula Silling, CEO, Branchspace; Georg Haraldsson, Chief Information Officer, PLAY Airlines; Chris Phillips, Vice President of Global Sales, ATPCO; Dr Jost Daft, Head of Order Transformation, Lufthansa Group; and Ricard Vilà, Chief Digital Officer, LATAM Airlines.
The FTE APEX Lounge Innovation Forum began with a scene-setting presentation by John Moriarty, Founder & CEO, Beyond, focusing on “Rediscover your passengers through the lens of social data insight” and including the exclusive unveiling of “The Beyond Airport Lounge Report”. Panellists also included Neil Tolefree, Head of Network Development EMEA, Airport Dimensions (Part of Collinson Group), and Güçlü Batkin, CEO, TAV Operation Services.
A session on “Airline distribution and payment with NDC and beyond” explored how the key to retailing is unrestricted and unlimited access to content. Participants discussed solutions to make travel content accessible, how airlines can sell more than flights, and the trends in forms of payment. Moderated by Eric Leopold, Founder and Managing Director, Threedot & FTE Ancillary & Retailing Content Director, panellists included Stéphane Ormand, VP Distribution, Air France-KLM; Roland Jaggi, CCO, Aegean Airlines; and Christian Hylander, VP Global Strategy, Travel & Entertainment Industry, Mastercard.
Martijn Steur, Business Architect and Managing Director, Kinetic Consultancy, moderated a session on “Innovative new approaches to commercial success around the airport experience and more”. Presentations came from Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing Director, Portland Design, who explored the future of retail places and how rapidly-changing consumer expectations are shaping this future, and Elisabeth Sailer, Chief Commercial Officer, Munich Airport International, who shared a case study on the customer experience vision for the commercial programme at the Newark Airport’s new Terminal A.
A panel session highlighted “Revenue Management and Offer Creation with AI”, discussing how to construct the right offer for customers at time of shopping, how to push messages about ancillary services at the right time and for the right people, and how to monitor and differentiate from the competition. Moderated by Ursula Silling, CEO, Branchspace, panellists included Paul Carroll, Chief Revenue & Network Officer, AirAsia; Simon C. Pitt, CCO, PNG Air; Alex Mans, Founder & CEO, FLYR Labs; and Andrew Murphy, Chief Business Officer, CarTrawler.
The FTE APEX Commercialising Inflight Symposium, moderated by Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA, began with a fascinating presentation from William Kramer, Transformation & Continuous Improvement Lead – Inflight Retail, easyJet, on how easyJet’s new wireless engagement portal is enabling new entertainment and spending opportunities for passengers. Lucinda Pike, Sales Director Europe, Inmarsat, presented on how Inmarsat is empowering its airline customers to drive dynamic new revenue creation inflight through connectivity. Jonas von Kruechten, Head of Strategy and Business Development, AERQ, shared his insights from the panel.
The final session of the FTE Ancillary & Retailing Conference looked at “Day of Travel: How do we better commercialise, and remove friction?” Moderated by Eric Leopold, Founder and Managing Director, Threedot & FTE Ancillary & Retailing Content Director, panellists included Martin White, Director, Ancillary Products, Spirit Airlines; Bobby Healy, Co-Founder, Meili; Jennifer Koontz, Assistant Vice President, European Airport Properties & Relations, Enterprise Holdings; Chris Gwilliam, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, Airport Dimensions; and Randel Darby, CEO & Founder, AirPortr.
Startup Pitch Session – a hotbed of innovation
The conference agenda also featured the ‘Startup Pitch Session Powered by the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub’ and sponsored by Royal Air Maroc. This showcased a diverse range of startups with a selection of pioneering products and services – from a pet reservation ecosystem through to visa management services and digitisation of baggage processes – including Pawtrip, SimpleVisa and Shabstec.
Interactive Workshop Zone
The Interactive Workshop Zone provided a platform that encouraged engagement and interaction between participants. It featured workshops focused on “How to – practically – integrate sustainability into everything your organisation is doing day to day?”, “How do we advance robotics and automation in air transport, and what can we learn from early efforts in these areas?”, and “How will ChatGPT, and applications like it, help us reimagine air transport?”
ADR, Riyadh Air, AMS, Lufthansa, DOH, PLAY, Vantage Airport Group and easyJet recognised in FTE EMEA Awards
Future Travel Experience recognised the most transformative change enablers within the airline and airport industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the FTE EMEA Awards. Winners were announced in the FTE Airline/Airport Transformation Power Lists EMEA, the FTE World Airline Ancillary and FTE World Airport Retailing Awards, and the APEX Passenger Choice Awards, during a presentation ceremony, sponsored by FLYR Labs. Read the full report here.
Hamad Airport, KLM, UCPlaces and Pawtrip recognised in industry’s definitive innovation awards
FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing concluded with the inaugural FTE Innovate Awards. These landmark awards are truly unique and are the industry’s definitive innovation platform. For the very first time, airlines and airports competed head-to-head with their peers, shining a light on their latest innovation efforts. There were three categories: Most Innovative Airline Initiative, Most Innovative Airport Initiative, and Best New CX Concept. Each of the shortlisted entrants pitched on-stage in Dublin in an effort to impress our judges – Nick Cole, CEO, daa International; Charu Jain, Senior Vice President Merchandising & Innovation, Alaska Airlines; and Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future – and our audience, whose all-important votes decided who won. The ceremony also saw the presentation of the FTE Startup Innovation Award. Read the full report here.
FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub members-only event
In addition to having access to the Startup Pitch Session in the conference, the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub Corporate Partners – including international airlines, airports, investors and vendors – had access to an exclusive event hosted at Stripe headquarters in Dublin.
The keynote session, introduced by Ryan Ghee, COO, Future Travel Experience, featured keynotes from James Lemon, Global Lead – Travel, Transport & Leisure, Stripe, and Ruth Potter, Innovation Lead Manager, Dublin Airport.
There were then two startup pitch sessions featuring a total of 10 high-potential startups. The first pitch session focused on Automation, AI and Data, while the second was an “open” session focusing more broadly on innovation and digital transformation.
FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group meeting at DUB
Members of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group gathered at Dublin Airport (DUB), where DUB shared insights into its HBS upgrade, as well as its resource synergies, innovation efforts and future baggage projects.
Idar Sørgjerd, General Manager, BHS & Tech, shared the Avinor perspective on the future of baggage handling, while Springshot and Efficient Technologies presented on the future role of robotics in the baggage workflow.
Darin Juby, Director Baggage Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Head of Baggage Transformation, Future Travel Experience, provided an update on FTE BIWG PoCs.
Mark your diary: FTE Dublin 2024 dates announced
The co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events will return to the RDS Dublin on 21-23 May 2024. Mark your diary today! Find out more information about the event here.Join us at FTE Global in LA, 19-21 September 2023 – registration live >> Join us at FTE APEX Asia Expo in Singapore, 8-9 November 2023 – registration live >> Join us at FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing in Dublin, 21-23 May 2024 – find out more >>