June 13 2024  |  Events

⦿ LIVE: Updates from FTE Dublin

By Robynne Trueman

Last updated: 5:06 p.m. (Irish Standard Time), June 13, 2024


Keynote interview between Anko van der Werff, President and CEO, SAS and y Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX

The co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary and Retailing events are taking place this week in Hall 1, Hall 3, Merrion Room, The Royal Dublin Society, in Dublin, Ireland, from June 11 to 13. The conference is hosted by Future Travel Experience (FTE) with headline partners Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), International Airlines Group (IAG), Dublin AirportRyanair and Enterprise Ireland

This three-day event is dedicated to new thinking and concepts, combining an exhibition, social events and conference sessions.

1:00 p.m. – Private meetings and sessions


The FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group Meeting

The first day of the events, June 11, began with private members-only sessions, including FTE DIGITAL, Innovation and Startup Hub Live, hosted by AWS and Enterprise Ireland; FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group Meeting, hosted by Dublin Airport; FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group hosted by stripe; and a City of Dublin Walking Tour, hosted by Plan B.

6:00 p.m. – Ice breaker

THE FTE Dublin Icebreaker took place on the evening of June 11 at the lively Giddy Dolphin. Set on the ground floor of the historic Dollard Printing House, the building itself is the oldest steel frame structure in Ireland dating back to 1886. Delegates were invited to attend the event for quality food, drink and an authentic Irish experience. It was an opportunity for FTE EMEA attendees to connect with industry colleagues and reconnect with old friends.

Day two of the conference began bright and early with the exhibition opening at 8:30 am on June 12.

9:00 a.m. – Opening keynote interview


Opening Keynote FTE Dublin 2024

The opening keynote interview took place from 9:00 am to 9:30 am on Stage Two. The address was delivered by Daniel Coleman, Future Travel Experience. This was followed by an opening keynote interview between Dr. Joe Leader, APEX/IFSA and Anko van der Werff, SAS.

Following the opening keynote interview, THE FTE Future Differentiation & Business Models Think Tank Live took place on Stage Two. Participating in the Think Tank were Rohit Talwar, Fast Future; Steven Greenway, flyadeal; Tero Taskila, BEOND; Sammy Patel, Vantage Airport Group; Guðmundur Daði Rúnarsson, Keflavik Airport; and Martin Jones, CAVU.

11:30 a.m. – Pitch session and discussion panels

Following a brief networking coffee break, FTE EMEA delegates reconvened for the FTE EMEA Innovate Awards Pitch Session. The judges for “Best Customer Centric Proposition From a Supplier of Any Size" included Kevin Kleist, Southwest Airlines; Linda Schucroft, King Salman International Airport; and Manuel van Lijf, nlmtd. Pitches in this session were delivered by Carlos Boyero, Smartvel; Ajintha Pathmanathan, Galeri AG; and Thomas Sermon, ZestIOT. The pitch session took place on Stage One.

Simultaneously, attendees of FTE Ancillary & Retailing gathered at Stage Two for the session “Transformational Airlines Retailing Strategies”. Speakers included Eric Leopold, Threedot - Ricard Vilà, LATAM Airlines; Keith Martin, Lufthansa Group; Wong Mei Hong, AirAsia; and Ursula Silling, Branchspace.

12:00 p.m. – Discussion panels

The next panels began at noon, with “How Can We Take CX Experiences Involving the Airport, Baggage and Inflight to the Next Level for Tomorrow's Customer?” on Stage Two. This panel featured Andrew Price, Opermium; Jennifer Schwierzke, United Airlines; Nick Woods, MAG; Kevin Kleist, Southwest Airlines; and Giovanni Gennaro, Aeroporti di Roma.

At the same time, “Optimizing Commercial Performance on Airports in a Fast-Changing World” took place on Stage Three featuring David Griffiths, The Travel Retail Consultancy; Gerald Ong, Hamad International Airport; Andrew Harrison, WHSmith; Luis Marin, Avolta; and Arthur Reijnhart, Royal Schiphol Group.

1:00 p.m. – Networking lunch

After a morning of innovative presentations, collaborative pitch sessions and insightful discussion panels, delegates from both FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing gathered for a networking lunch. The event was sponsored by travelx and took place in the Exhibition Hall.

2:30 p.m. – Discussion sessions and panels

Immediately after lunch, attendees broke into groups to attend one of four simultaneous panels.

On Stage One, “New Approaches to Better Serving and Supporting Passengers When They Need Us Most” saw Dr. Joe Leader, APEX/IFSA; Tara Spielhagen, Swiipr; Tomasz Pawliszyn, AirHelp; Garret Malone, Arajet; and Gus Naughton, Alaska Airlines discuss how airlines and suppliers can best elevate the passenger experience.

On the FTE Ancillary & Retailing side of the event, the panel “THE AI TRAVEL RETAILING SYMPOSIUM” took place on Stage Two. Panelists included Glenn Morgan, Threedot; Christophe Guittard, Qatar Airways; Swapnal Chouhan, Munich Airport; Niels Colemont, FLYR; Abe Dev, Riyadh Air; and Bryan Porter, Datalex.

Another panel for FTE EMEA took place on Stage Three, entitled “What are the New Technologies and Automation Approaches That Can Make a Transformation Difference to the Ways Air Transport Stakeholders Will Operate The Airport in the Future?” Participants in this panel were Darin Juby, Future Travel Experience; Harvey Tate, International Airlines Group (IAG); Claus Grunow, Fraport; Dennis van Kleef, Royal Schiphol Group; Wopke Dost, nlmtd; Idar Sorgjerd, Avinor; and Dongmin Lim, Incheon International Airport Corporation.

In the Mezzanine, all delegates from both FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing were welcome to participate in a workshop on “Building Innovation Culture: Unlocking Faster Digital Change in Airports.” The workshop was led by James Lemon, Stripe and Jamie Heaslip, Stripe & International Rugby Legend.

4:30 p.m. – Closing keynote address for Day Two


Closing Leaders Keynote 

Day two of FTE EMA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing concluded with a Closing Leaders Keynote Session, moderated by Jamie Heaslip, Stripe & International Rugby Legend. Speakers included Annalisa Gigante, International Airlines Group (IAG); Adrian Dunne, Aer Lingus; Sean Donohue, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; and Pierre-Hugues Schmit, VINCI Airports. The address was given on Stage Two.


The FTE APEX 2024 Award Winners

Afterward, delegates were invited to the Exhibition Hall for the Networking Reception & FTE and APEX Awards Ceremonies.

9:30 a.m. – Discussion panels, pitch sessions and workshops


The opening keynote on June 13

The third and final day of the FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing in Dublin opened this morning at 8:30 a.m. The opening keynote for the day was delivered at 9:00 am by Steven Greenway, CEO, flyadeal.

The FTE EMEA Innovate Awards pitch session for the Most Innovative Airline Initiative category began promptly at 9:30 am. Judges for this session included Manuel van Lijf, nlmtd; Kevin Kleist, Southwest Airlines; and Linda Schucroft, King Salman International Airport.

On the FTE Ancillary & Retailing side of the conference, delegates attended one of two sessions to begin the final morning of the event. Innovative Case studies to drive ancillary success Part 1 was moderated by Ross Falconer, Future Travel Experience on Stage Two, Hall Three. Speakers on this panel included Charlotte Posada Kandel, SunExpress; Bill McKimm, eSIM Go; Timothy Haupt, Lufthansa Group; Juliana Ramirez, Flair Airlines; and Ella Alkalay Schreiber, Hopper Technology Solutions.

Kandel presented on maximizing profitability through personalized experiences in “How SunExpress is becoming the ultimate travel companion for diverse passenger preferences”. The conversation between McKimm and Haupt focused on the The Connected Traveller: “How an eSIM can enhance CX, grow brand loyalty and increase in-destination ancillary revenue.”

Ramirez and Schreiber looked at “How Flair increases user satisfaction on direct channels and generates more ancillary profit with HTS Fintech.”


Discussion panel at FTE Dublin 2024 featuring Mammen Tharakan, Vice President, Investment & Partnerships, King Salman International Airport; Joel Godfrey, Digital Product Director, CAVU; Ahmet Er, Digital Transformation and Channel Management Deputy Manager, İGA İstanbul Airport; and Dilanur Çetinalp, Digital Transformation and Channel Management Supervisor, İGA İstanbul Airport.

Another session took place simultaneously on Stage Three in the Merrion Room: Unleashing Innovative Airport Strategies for customer and commercial Excellence.

The focus of this session was enhancing the customer experience and how commercial retail income is and will remain a cornerstone of the airport industry. The panel of industry innovators included Mammen Tharakan, Vice President, Investment & Partnerships, King Salman International Airport; Joel Godfrey, Digital Product Director, CAVU; Ahmet Er, Digital Transformation and Channel Management Deputy Manager, İGA İstanbul Airport; and Dilanur Çetinalp, Digital Transformation and Channel Management Supervisor, İGA İstanbul Airport.

Martijn Steur, Managing Director, Kinetic Consultancy, moderated the session as each panelist presented.

Meanwhile, over in the Mezzanine in Hall 1, Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX/IFSA and Jonas von Kruechten, AERQ & APEX Board Member, spoke at the workshop “The FTE APEX Commercialising Inflight Symposium – The Workshop which was open to all conference delegates.

11:30 a.m. – Special segment

Following an hour-long coffee and networking break, Melanie Harris, Managing Director of Digital Technology, at United Airlines, spoke at a special segment on Stage Two in Hall Three. The talk, entitled “Flying ahead: How United is revolutionizing air travel through technology” gave delegates attending both FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing a look at United Airlines’ latest technology initiatives.

11:50 a.m. – Discussion panels


"New ways of thinking to drive unique and inspiring customer experiences – inspiration from industry leaders & disruptors in parallel sectors" moderated by Kevin O’Shaughnessy, Founder, CityHook · Indigo

Three panels convened at 11:50 am. The first, on Stage Two, “New ways of thinking to drive unique and inspiring customer experiences – inspiration from industry leaders & disruptors in parallel sectors” was moderated by Kevin O’Shaughnessy, Founder, CityHook · Indigo.

In this session, panel members shared a variety of approaches on how they are working to elevate passenger experiences, followed by a discussion on how modern consumer expectations are evolving and the necessary response to current industry trends.

Panelists included Linda Schucroft, Vice President of Innovation and Customer Experience, King Salman International Airport; Gregory Owens, VP of Europe and Africa, X; Carlijn Brinkman, Service Designer, KLM; Kieran Harte; Head of Ireland; Uber.

Over in the Mezzanine, the session “Interactive Baggage Workshop: What are the key areas of the baggage delivery process that airlines and airports need to improve to support growth and strengthen trust with passengers?” was open to attendees from both conferences. The informative session was led by Darin Juby, Head of Baggage Transformation, Future Travel Experience.

On Stage One, the FTE Ancillary & Retailing crowd attended the “The FTE EMEA/Ancillary & Retailing Digital Identity Symposium” with speakers Andrew Price, Opermium; Harvey Tate, International Airlines Group (IAG); Ursula Silling, Branchspace – digital reinvented; Bill Carleton, NEC Corporation of America; and Vanesa Calvo, Aena.

12:45 p.m. – Lunch

Delegates took a break from the innovative and informative discussion panels and workshops for a networking lunch, sponsored by travelx. The lunch was hosted on the exhibition floor and provided additional opportunities to further discussions from the morning’s sessions and forge meaningful industry connections.

1:00 p.m. – Special presentation

After lunch, FTE EMA attendees gathered for a Special Presentation by lan Kiernan, Founder & CTO, Cation Consulting and Stephen Keane, Head of Digital Transformation, Customer Services, Ryanair. The session, entitled “Transformation at Scale: Leveraging Conversational AI and Generative AI for the Travel Industry” took place in the Expo Hall on Stage One.

Following the fifteen-minute presentation, Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines and Darin Juby, Head of Baggage Transformation, Future Travel Experience took the stage for “The FTE Community Captains Briefing – POC and initiatives update.”


Neal McMahon, Chief Operations Officer, Ryanair gives a special keynote address

At 1:45 p.m. on Stage Two, Neal McMahon, Chief Operations Officer, Ryanair gave a special keynote address to delegates of both conferences entitled “How will Ryanair evolve its approaches leveraging technology as it grows to carry 300 million passengers a year by 2034?

2:00 p.m. – Pitch sessions, discussion panels and workshops

As the afternoon continued, the final pitch session of the conference took place. This one, “FTE EMEA INNOVATE AWARDS Pitch Session: Most Innovative Airport Initiative category” saw the return of judges Kevin Kleist, Southwest Airlines; Linda Schucroft, King Salman International Airport; and Manuel van Lijf, nlmtd.

On Stage Two for the FTE Ancillary & Retailing conference, attendees were invited to the session “How do we better optimize and evolve commercial offerings and remove friction for passengers and stakeholders?

At the same time, in the Mezzanine, FTE EMEA delegates participated in an interactive workshop, “How can we engage our customers in sustainable aviation efforts whilst green-claims are under a magnifying glass?” The workshop was led by Carlijn Brinkman, Service Designer, KLM.

3:45 p.m. – The FTE APEX Lounge Innovation Summit


The FTE APEX Lounge Innovation Summer 2024, moderated by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX/IFSA

There was another networking opportunity at the afternoon coffee break, before delegates gathered for The FTE APEX Lounge Innovation Summit, moderated by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX/IFSA.

The summit began with a scene-setting case study, presented by Martin Thomas (Acting) Head of Above Wing Automation, IAG Airports. Then, a panel of industry experts delivered their views on the evolution of future lounge experiences and the best approaches, both commercial and operational.

Speakers on this panel included Gerald Ong, Strategy and Commercial Development, Hamad International Airport; Alex McEvoy; Product Manager, Airports and Lounges; Aer Lingus; and Rebecca Thorp, Partnership Director – Strategic Projects and Business Development EMEA, Collinson Group.

At the same time, the final session of FTE EMEA 2024 took place in Hall One, moderated by Seth Miller, Contributing Editor, PaxEx.Aero. Topics covered included electrification on the ground and in the sky, SAF, infrastructure needs, new business models and the role of technology in decarbonization.

The session kicked off with a scene-setting keynote “What are the most important factors to achieving more rapid industry transformation & pathways for scaling SAF & aviation decarbonization?” presented by Mark Breen, CEO, Oneiros Aerospace.

Then, each panelist spoke for approximately five minutes on their evolving approaches. Panelists included Andrea Carroll, Group Head of Sustainability, daa; Karin Gylin, Head of Strategic Development and Innovation, Swedavia; and Gary Byrnes, Founder & CEO, Tao Climate.

4:45 p.m. - Closing keynote and FTE Innovate awards

The 2024 FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary and Retailing conferences concluded with all attendees being invited to relax with a farewell drink at a final keynote address.

Still ahead

The winners of the FTE Innovate Awards will be announced and celebrated at this event marking the close of another year at FTE Dublin.

PAX Tech will continue to provide updates as events unfold this week. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and coverage, check out the PAX e-newsletter subscription page and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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