ERA Regional Airline Conference, 01-02 April 2009
Delegates agreed that the current global economic downturn represents a real and long-term threat to the industry but insisted that negative attitudes can only be self-destructive.
A bullish ERA director general Mike Ambrose opened the meeting by saying: "We've survived other crises and we will survive this one."
Sebastian Mikosz, the new president of the management board of LOT Polish Airlines, spoke with good humour that whilst the Polish aviation industry faces the same regulatory challenges as many other European states, he believes that there are also significant and exciting opportunities in the region.
The opening session of the meeting, assessing the overall state of the intra-European aviation industry, confirmed that although many current statistics are undeniably worrying, inventiveness and energy in business practices can still bring benefits to airlines and airports.
The first afternoon of the meeting provided a variety of perspectives on business survival in the challenging economic climate. Legal and workforce issues were addressed, as well as a reminder of the value of learning from experience.
Building on the location of the event, the second day of the meeting began by focusing on the new business opportunities available in central Europe and the ex-Soviet states. Speakers agreed that now is, at the very least, a good time to prepare to enter this market in preparation for the end of the economic crisis.
The meeting closed by analysing how airlines can establish new revenue opportunities to supplement traditional revenue sources, providing a perfect illustration of the optimism and energy at the heart of the meeting. With innovation and effort, the European aviation industry can always find a way to survive and prosper.