Up in the Air Conference

The conferences at FTE Global are the most forward looking in our portfolio and truly unique. They deliver a memorable learning experience by providing progressive insights from industry leaders, technology giants, disruptors, parallel industries, academia and startups. We run plenary sessions to provide outside-the-box thinking and inspiration on the future, and also drill down into dedicated tracks for specific areas of interest. In addition, to facilitate the best level of knowledge-sharing and interactivity, our conference sessions utilise diverse formats ranging from JumpSeat debates through to Elevator pitches.

In 2019 we will once more run four conference tracks focusing on “on the ground”, “terminal design & delivery”, “up in the air” & “digital & innovation” in support of our “Transformation” theme.

Agendas will be launched in the coming months

UITA conference track sponsor - Panasonic

 View sponsor (video)

Monday 10th September

Speaker Invited

Monday 10th September 13:30 - 15:00

Opening Keynote Session

Session sponsored by – Amadeus

 View sponsor (video)

Welcome Address

Daniel Coleman
Future Travel Experience

Welcome Address

Joe Leader

Welcome from the host

Rosemary A. Vassiliadis
Director of Aviation
Clark County Department of Aviation


Our 2018 event will see us introduce a team of provocateurs who will challenge the status quo in every session. A provocateur will be present in each of the four conference tracks, and will offer their expert opinions and pose challenging questions on topics that they do not usually focus on in their day-to-day roles. This outside-of-the-industry inspiration will help to provide new ideas on alternative approaches that could benefit the air transport sector. In each case, they will be paired with a progressive thinker who works within the industry in order to provide a balanced view. In this session, they will debate the motivations to disrupt and lessons they have learned to date.

Outside-of-the-industry innovator

Stefan List
Senior Manager Cabin Innovation Strategy

Industry innovator

Dave Wilson
Director, Airport Innovation
Port of Seattle

Outside-of-the-industry innovator

Joyen Vakil
Senior Vice President of Design & Development
MGM Resorts International

Industry innovator

Kiran Merchant
Merchant Aviation & Chairman of Airport Fast Forward

Outside-of-the-industry innovator

Christine De Lille
Professor Innovation Networks
The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Industry innovator

Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks

Outside-of-the-industry innovator

Jim Newton
Global Market Development Director
McLaren Applied Technologies

Industry innovator

Sander Stomph
Director ODS (Design Doing & Data Science)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


Design and technology powering the next wave of innovation

Brian Loo
Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering is the unique, creative force behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts that dreams up, designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide. In his inspirational Keynote, Brian will explain how design and technology will power the next wave of innovation at Walt Disney Imagineering, and how this thinking can be applied to the air transport industry to help shape future customer experiences.

Disrupting through approaches that WOW

Sveinn Akerlie
CIO, Head of WOW labs

15:00 - 16:00
Official exhibition opening and coffee break

Speaker Invited

Monday 10th September 16:00 - 17:30

The future of travel, and guest experiences, according to those with disruptive visions

Second Working Session


Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks


Supersonic travel, labs and fresh approaches to coincide with the 2020 Olympics

Akira Mitsumasu
VP - Global Marketing, Japan Airlines & Member of the APEX Board of Directors
Japan Airlines

Developing and operating the first-ever luxury hotel in space 

Frank Bunger
Orion Span

Extending capacity and enhancing air travel with Hyperloop

Ryan-Kelly Head of Marketing and Communications
Ryan Kelly
Head of Marketing and Communications
Virgin Hyperloop One

Reimagining what the purpose of an airport will be in the future

Sarah Wittlieb
Vice President Innovation & Creation
Munich Airport & LabCampus GmbH

Speaker Invited

Monday 10th September 17:30 - 18:00

Day 1 Closing Keynote for all participants

Our Next Guest Needs No Introduction… with Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA

Gil West
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Delta Air Lines

Gil leads the team at Delta responsible for safe, reliable operations across the globe, including more than 70,000 employees in Airport Customer Service; Cargo; Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance; Delta Connection; Delta Global Services; Delta Private Jets; Flight Operations; In-Flight Service; Information Technology; Operations Analysis and Performance; Operations and Customer Center; Supply Chain Management; and Technical Operations.

Speaker Invited

Monday 10th September 18:00 - 19:00

Happy Hour in the exhibition hall

Make the most of the vital networking opportunities provided at the FTE Global 2018 Happy Hour drinks reception, where delegates can enjoy demonstrations in the exhibition and network with their peers over refreshing drinks and snacks. Happy Hour will begin early so participants have more scope to network outside of the official event proceedings.

Tuesday 11th September

08:00 - 09:00
Breakfast, networking and showcase in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 09:00 - 10:15

FTE “Up in the Air” Keynote Addresses


Master of Ceremonies & Provocateurs at Large

Christine De Lille
Professor Innovation Networks
Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks


What are the views of JetBlue on how technology and innovation will continue to redefine an airlines performance, product and service offering inflight?

Mike Stromer
Vice President - Tech Products
JetBlue Airways


Finnair is reaping the rewards of its Asia-centric, end-to-end customer-focused strategy, but have all the investments in technology, service and empowering staff paid off, or were some not as valued by passengers as expected?

Juha Jarvinen
EVP Commercial
Virgin Atlantic Airways and President of the Board of Directors, APEX

10:15 - 11:00
Coffee break in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 11:00 - 12:30

How can we stop stifling innovation?

Fourth working session

Innovators and disruptors come up with great ideas to improve the inflight experience but very few make it to market. How can we work together to stop stifling innovation and deliver meaningful improvements on board aircraft? This session will provide a platform for open and honest discussion between a variety of stakeholders.

Format: Each panellist gets 5-10 minutes each to present their opinion before a panel discussion begins.


Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks

The airframe manufacturer perspective:

Stefan List
Senior Manager Cabin Innovation Strategy

The airline perspective:

Brian Richardson
Director of Aircraft Interiors, Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity
American Airlines

The systems and equipment supplier perspective:

Ron Verweij
Innovation / R&T Manager
Zodiac Aerospace

The Startup Perspective:

Hank Scott
Molon Labe Seating

The Student Perspective:

Elevator pitch from one of the finalists in the FTE/KLM/TU Delft Student Disruptor Global Design Challenge

Iris Chung
Graduate Student Integrated Product Design
Delft University of Technology

12:30 - 13:45
Lunch break in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 13:45 - 14:10

Post-Lunch Keynote for all conference delegates

Our Next Guest Needs No Introduction… with Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA

Ted Christie
Spirit Airlines

Ted joined Spirit, the largest Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, in April 2012 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In January 2017, Mr. Christie was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In January 2018, Christie was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer. In this role he has overall responsibility for the finance and commercial functions as well as operations, IT and human resources. Christie will become Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2019, succeeding Bob Fornaro.

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 14:10 - 15:30

Connectivity & IFE Business Case Summit – Global Edition

Fifth Working Session

With a raft of IFEC solutions already on the market it can be difficult for airlines to decide which product and approach best suits their individual needs. While high-speed connectivity might be the best option for one airline, a non-connected IFE solution might be more suitable for another.

We will bring together a collection of airlines and industry providers for a fast-paced panel discussion where attendees will be able to cut through the noise, learn from the first-movers and identify which solutions are right for their airline today, in five years’ time and further into the future, and the best ways to maximise the roll-out of a new IFEC programme.


Seth Miller
Contributing Editor


Eric Watko
Executive VP Product, Marketing and Strategy
SES Networks
Juha Jarvinen
EVP Commercial
Virgin Atlantic Airways and President of the Board of Directors, APEX
Lania Rittenhouse
Vice President, Inflight Experience
Spirit Airlines
Caroline Reynolds
Solution Strategy Manager
Panasonic Avionics

Questions to be debated: 

  • What are the best ways to market a connectivity/IFE product to drive awareness and usage among passengers?
  • What are the best approaches to deliver a consistent experience across mixed services and fleets?
  • What impact does connectivity have on the usage of existing seatback IFE platforms? Also, does installation of connectivity make future investments in seatback IFE less likely?
  • What impact have your connectivity/IFE efforts had on passenger experience scores?
  • How effective have your connectivity/IFE efforts been so far in terms of creating new ancillary revenue streams?
  • Does the industry need more standardisation around onboard connectivity? If so, how should this be addressed?
  • How are airlines and suppliers dealing with data and privacy, especially with GDPR now in play?
  • How will the rollout of 5G impact onboard connectivity and the wider passenger experience?
  • What are your views on the need for supplier consolidation?
  • What is the best piece of advice you can share from your connectivity/IFE experiences to date?
  • How do you expect your connectivity strategy to evolve over the next 5 and 10 years?

15:30 - 16:15
Coffee break in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 16:15 - 17:30

Future technology & innovation in the cabin

Sixth Working Session


Ryan Ghee
Head of Strategy, Engagement and Content
Future Travel Experience

Scene-setting presentation:

The Panasonic view on how technology will disrupt the cabin experience of the future 

David Bartlett
Chief Technology Officer
Panasonic Avionics

The FTE Tech Download Think Tank – Inflight Special – A live experience with audience participation that will help to shape the final Think Tank output

A working team of industry experts including representatives from Google, WOW air, APEX & Alaska Airlines has worked to assess a range of new technologies and will report on the viability of what can each technology can do for airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders. In this session we will deep-dive on the potential these technologies could offer in the cabin.


  • Understand the potential of each of the technologies
  • Identify use cases for airlines and their partners
  • Share best practice and lessons learned from first-movers
  • Create a final ranking of which technologies to prioritise
  • Leave the audience with a clear idea on which technologies to invest in

Potential topics/technologies to be discussed include:

  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Robotics
  • Biometrics
  • Wearables, VR & AR
  • Big Data & Analytics
  • Internet of Things
  • Blockchain
  • 5G
  • Other new tech to watch

Think Tank team members presenting onsite: 

Sveinn Akerlie
CIO, Head of WOW labs
Joe Leader

Additional Perspectives from our provocateurs:

Christine De Lille
Professor Innovation Networks
Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks

Speaker Invited

Tuesday 11th September 19:30 - 22:30

FTE Global 2018 Gala Evening and FTE Awards Ceremony

AT Hyde – Bellagio casino & resort

Hosted by

Sponsored by

Hosted by McCarran International Airport and sponsored by Rockwell Collins, we can guarantee you a memorable evening with the finest food, drink and entertainment that Las Vegas has to offer at the FTE Global 2018 Gala Party. The event will be this year’s premiere networking event, providing a perfect opportunity to unwind and network with fellow attendees in a relaxed environment. The social and networking events are open to all FTE Global delegates.

Wednesday 12th September

Speaker Invited

Wednesday 12th September 09:30 - 10:30

Day 3 Keynotes for all conference delegates


NASA… It’s not just about space. New technologies that fuse the physical, digital and biological worlds are converging to create the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. So, how will that change things on the ground and in the air?

Jay Dryer
AAVP Program Director

Dr. Jaiwon Shin is the associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), a position which he has held since 2008. Mr. Shin manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction, including research in advanced air vehicle concepts, airspace operations and safety, integrated aviation systems, and the nurturing and development of transformative concepts for aviation.


Can Swoop be ultra-low-cost and still provide a great customer experience, and how else will this new airline (part of the WestJet Group) differentiate itself?

Steven Greenway

Steven serves as Executive Vice-President and President of Swoop at WestJet Airlines Ltd. since March 2018. He has been Member of the Management Board at SkyEurope Airlines, a.s. since 2007 and serves as its Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to joining WestJet, he was the CEO of reward-U, the pioneering low -cost carrier (LCC) loyalty programme of HK Express, and as the Board of Director of Zuji. Mr. Greenway served as Chief Commercial Officer at Jazeera Airways Co. K.S.C.P. since January 2009. Mr. Greenway has held a variety of executive and leadership positions at airlines including Japanese LLC Peach Aviation, Virgin Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas.

10:30 - 11:15
Coffee break in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Wednesday 12th September 11:15 - 12:45

Co-Creation, Workshops & Jump Seat Debates

Seventh Working Session

Co-Creation Groups

We want FTE to be an industry change catalyst and we are making more efforts to facilitate actual industry collaboration and co-creation between stakeholders at the show, as opposed to just discussing the need for it, which is why we run our co-creation sessions. This session will provide a platform for various stakeholders to discuss how they can collaborate in key areas to enhance the end-to-end passenger experience and business performance. Delegates will be able to choose which topic they would like to discuss and then join the relevant table to exchange thoughts, ideas, frustrations and potential ways forward.

What learnings could we apply from F1 to air-transport?

Jim Newton
McLaren Applied Technologies
Martin Bowman
Aviation Technology Director

Four Ways AI is Re-imagining the Future of Travel

Adnan Saulat
Head of Consulting - Travel, Transportation and Hospitality

What more can we do to improve the airport security experience, and what role should each industry stakeholder play in driving those improvements?

Mara Winn
Lead Program Manager, Innovation Task Force
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)


Harnessing the power of airport maps digitally through the end-to-end passenger experience, and beyond.
How airports can empower innovators by providing accurate, real-time venue information.


Chris Runde
Director, Airport Innovation Accelerator


Sean Greer
Sean Greer
Sr. IT Manager Application Architecture and Innovation
Denver International Airport
Phillip Easter
Head of Emerging Technology
American Airlines
Manik Arora
President and CEO
Arora Engineers, INC
Bakari Brock
Senior Director of US Operations
Campbell Kennedy
CEO and Co-founder

Questions to consider:

  • How do we create one single source of truth on maps?
  • Who, if anyone, should be paying to facilitate digital maps for passengers and other third parties who want access to them?
  • How do you keep digital maps updated for all parties that want to use them?
  • How could we better use digital maps throughout the passenger journey?
  • What are the operational gains that could be realised through dynamic use of digital maps?

Jump seat debate

Jump seat debate on the “Future of biometrics in travel” (invitation only – no press allowed)

FTE jump seat debates enable an entire group to participate in a lively conversation and debate, without the use of any AV or slides.

A single chair is placed at the front of the room. This is the jump seat. The remaining chairs are arranged in a semi-circle facing the jump seat. A group of relevant participants are selected to fill the seats around the jump seat in advance of the session beginning. The moderator introduces the topic and at any time any member of the audience can, occupy the jump seat and voice their opinions. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the jump seat. When time runs out, the jump seat is closed, and the moderator summarizes the discussion.

Moderated by

Raoul Cooper
Raoul Cooper
Senior Design Manager -
Innovation at British Airways & Director at Biometrics Institute

12:45 - 13:45
Lunch in the exhibition hall

Speaker Invited

Wednesday 12th September 13:45 - 15:15

Creating a business case for customer experience

Eighth Working Session


Daniel Coleman
Future Travel Experience

Building an iconic brand, and guest experience proposition, from the inside out

Lilian Tomovich
Chief Experience Officer/CMO
MGM Resorts International


Tapping into technology, design and service to create a world-class guest experience in Doha

Suhail Kadri
Vice President IT
Hamad International Airport

Special Closing Presentation

Invest in the Guest: How Spirit Airlines transformed itself by providing not only a low price but also a great value

Lania Rittenhouse
Vice President, Inflight Experience
Spirit Airlines
Bobby Schroeter
VP of Sales and Marketing
Spirit Airlines

Speaker Invited

Wednesday 12th September 16:00 - 17:00


McCarran International Airport tours

A showcase of passenger experience and design excellence – guided tours of Las Vegas McCarran International Airport T3 will start kerbside and work through the terminal and onto the apron.

Tours of the Las Vegas Switch Data Center

Las Vegas, Nevada is home to Switch’s Tier 5® Platinum rated multi-tenant/colocation data centres. With capacity approximately 2 million square feet of data centre space and capacity to deliver up to 315 MW of power, it is the most advanced and most efficient data centre campus in the world.

Why attend FTE Global?

Don’t just take our word for it – read what FTE Global attendees have said about the show..

“FTE Global was fantastic! It’s very inspirational and it opens the stage for a lot of collaboration and building the future of travel. I was very impressed by the exhibition this year. The diversity of the products and what could be built with the technology that was featured is really a new world.”

Liliana Petrova, Customer Experience Director, JetBlue Airways

“FTE is one of my favourite conferences to go to. I like the fact that you bring in both airlines and airports, and the content is really different. I also enjoy that you bring in different speakers from other industries. I’m a “future” guy and this is a really good place to be. It’s fun because we’re all on the same page – we’re all looking for future technology.”

David Wilson, Director, Airport Innovation, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Port of Seattle

“The networking opportunities are always fantastic at FTE Global. There has been a high level of interaction and engagement between delegates.”

Rick Belliotti, Director Innovation & Small Business Development, San Diego International Airport

“FTE Global is a wonderful event. I have met representatives from many different modes of travel, and heard what people need to think about in the next decades. In terms of networking, the right players are here to have conversations with.”

Zachary Matthews, Senior Regional Manager, Business Development and Operations, US and Canada, Uber

“I have particularly liked that the event helps from a strategic standpoint. FTE Global really allows for a holistic strategic mind-set. The conference sessions have been very relevant in terms of customer experience.”

Michael Morford, Airport Concessions Manager, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

“It’s great that we’re hearing about disruption. Blurring the lines between industries is very important, and this event does that very effectively.”

Rachel Walker, Director – Tools & Technology Global Ops, Strategy, Planning & Design, United Airlines

“I have been very happy with the conference sessions, which have been projecting us into the future. It’s my first time here at FTE Global and it has exceeded my expectations. I have met lots of different contacts – the event is very good for networking.”

Aymeric Dussart, IT Director, Aéroports de Montréal

“The panel sessions have been excellent, with good interaction with the audience. It’s a very forward-thinking event and people here are not afraid to talk about the future.”

Joshua Krall, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Boom Supersonic

“I’d heard a lot about FTE Global from industry colleagues and it has certainly met my expectations. The conference sessions have been very interesting, and it has been my pleasure to take part.”

Christoph Rufenacht, Director Capital Facilities Development, Vancouver Airport Authority

“FTE Global was definitely a great opportunity for us to network and to learn from all the players that are changing the airline industry and the travel industry. During three days we were exposed to lots of insights and we were exposed to a broader way of approaching our business.”

Alessandro Fusaro, Coordinator Digital Marketing & Innovation, SkyTeam

“It has been great attending FTE Global. The conference sessions have really informed our thinking and the Co-creation Forums were particularly good in generating a high level of interaction. FTE Global is highly recommended – I will definitely attend again.”

Max Coppin, Partner Development Manager, Google

“The event has been very insightful. I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and the knowledge gained at FTE Global is unique and innovative. It’s very good that the event is all about collaboration. I will take some nice concepts home with me.”

Maria Rosario C. Jocson, Assistant Vice President, Centre for Customer Management, Marketing Department, Philippine Airlines

“As always, I come away inspired, with lot of ideas and new perspectives to try to push my organisation even further.”

Guðmundur Daði Rúnarsson, Technical and Infrastructure Director, Keflavik Airport

“I really enjoyed the event and seeing lots of interesting airlines and technologies. Highlights for me were the NASA and TSA talks and the collaboration work between the partners. There are differences we have, but it is very interesting to make it all come together.”

Lilian Narumi, Passenger Services Manager, Singapore Airlines

“I’ve been asked by a number of people how FTE compares to other events on the aviation circuit. My response is that it’s very much a case of “quality over quantity”, with a more focused selection of relevant speakers and discussion topics, rather than the broad brush approach used by others. It’s this focus on quality speakers, innovation and informative topics that makes FTE the success that it is.”

Martin Bowman, Aviation Technology Director, Deloitte

“The sharing amongst partners airlines and operators is what makes this show unique. Everybody gives a lot of insights on the issues and challenges of the industry and it is good to hear that there are similarities in the issues we are all facing.”

Alphonsus Chan, Senior Associate - IT Infrastructure Changi Airport

“The event has been very good. I met a lot of informed and passionate people. We have been doing a lot of work in the identity space and the general swell of interest and keenness to find collaborative solutions has been great. I thought that the presentations from Delta and NASA were fantastic. It is good to catch up with people and connect through the networking events.”

Raoul Cooper, Senior Design Manager, Digital Airport, British Airways

“The show has been tremendous so far. I managed to see some incredible presentations from a lot of great people from inside the industry. We were able to meet with a lot of vendors with whom we have talked to before, but it is great to meet them here in person, which makes it a lot more efficient for us to make decisions on how we drive the guest experience for passengers. For me, this event is really forward looking – it’s not just about what people have accomplished, but about what they were trying to accomplish. So, I think that’s very valuable, as we are trying to move the industry forward.”

Bobby Schroeter, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Spirit Airlines

“Compared to some of the other industry events which are a lot broader, FTE really focuses on innovation, so that makes it different. It is always about new ideas and new technologies that could be applied in real life problems, so that’s what makes it unique.”

Suhail Kadri, Vice President IT, Hamad International Airport

“I found FTE Global 2018 to be a wonderful gateway to engage with a wide array of industry stakeholders, and to learn across the diverse subjects covered in the four conference tracks. The keynote speakers were spectacular, and I found the involvement of leaders in parallel sectors such as Disney and MGM Resorts very beneficial, as we search for synergies between the hospitality and airline industries, exceeding our Guest Expectations. I look forward to attending next year's show!”

Chris van Rensburg, Director Guest Experience, WestJet
Travel & Accommodation

ARIA Resort & Casino

4-6 September 2019, Las Vegas, United States

There’s the Vegas you’re used to, and then there’s the AAA Five Diamond–awarded ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Unsurpassed amenities from their world-class restaurants to the most technologically-advanced rooms and suites await you at our new venue for FTE Global 2019 .

Full Travel & Accommodation Details