Network Planning – International and Charters
With 22 years at Air Canada, Eric has held several positions with the company, starting as an agent at the Aeroplan call center, and moving into managements roles at Dorval airport, within Revenue Management, Corporate Scheduling and Network Planning. Eric was Director Regional Airlines before being named Director Network Planning where his scope encompasses managing and planning Air Canada’s world-wide network and fleet of over 200 routes and 300 aircraft.
Very recently, Eric was promoted to Sr Director International Planning and Air Canada Jetz. In this role, Eric will be responsible for studying and setting strategic direction related to network planning for Air Canada’s entire International flying schedule, expanding market share through partnerships and alliances with other airlines, as well as growing Air Canada Jetz, the carriers premium Charter service.
Eric studied at Economics at Concordia University in Montreal.
Senior Vice President
Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Division
The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Currently IATA’s Senior Vice President for the Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Division, Nick is responsible for IATA’s relations with Airports, Fuel supply, Passenger experience, Cargo, Security , Consulting and Ground Handling for IATA Member airlines and industry partners around the world.
Nick built his career in Air Canada and its subsidiary Jazz where his last role was as Air Canada Vice President for Airport, Call Centers and Customer Relations, a position he held from 2011 to 2014. He brings with him a wealth of experience covering flight and airport operations, human resource management and government relations.
He completed his studies in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. He enjoys the great Canadian sport of ice hockey among other pastimes when he is out of the office.
Founder and CEO, Shorefast and
Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn
Zita Cobb is Founder and CEO of Shorefast and Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn. A registered Canadian charity, Shorefast uses business-minded means to help secure economic and cultural resilience for Fogo Island, Newfoundland: one of Canada’s oldest settlements.
Following a successful career in high-tech, Zita returned to her home of Fogo Island to help grow another leg on the economy of this singular rural place.
Shorefast’s notable achievements to date comprise a holistic set of charitable initiatives, including the world-class artist-in-residence program Fogo Island Arts (fogoislandarts.ca), and three innovative social businesses whose operating surpluses are returned to Shorefast for reinvestment in further community development work. Specifically, Shorefast is behind the award-winning, 29-suite Fogo Island Inn (fogoislandinn.ca), the Woodshop on Fogo Island (woodshopfogoisland.ca), and Fogo Island Fish. Shorefast has pioneered the innovative practice economic nutrition labelling for its social businesses, transparently demonstrating “where the money goes.”
In 2016, Zita was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of Shorefast’s work in collaboration with the community of Fogo Island to help secure a more resilient future for this singular rural place.
Director of Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Andrew (Andy) Gibbons is WestJet’s Ottawa-based Director of Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs. Andy has been with WestJet since 2012. He is one of Canada’s leading public affairs practitioners.
Prior to joining WestJet, Andy served as Vice President of Public Affairs for H+K Strategies, a global communications and government relations agency. At H+K, Andy led advocacy efforts for a diverse group of clients in the transportation, finance and health sectors.
Andy is responsible for WestJet’s overall relationship and advocacy with a broad range of stakeholders including government of all levels and industry partners. He also oversees the company’s public affairs function which includes public events, corporate announcements and stakeholder engagement. His team also includes regulatory affairs, responsible for the company’s regulatory compliance, international aero political issues and facilitation and accessibility.
Director of Product Supply
Chris has been with Malvern since its inception, taking the role of Director of Product Supply in January 2019 and having previously been with Super Break since 2003.
He is responsible for Product Supply across the group and he and his team ensure excellent relationships and commercial terms with partners in accommodation, transport, entertainment, attraction and experience sectors together with leading product supply strategy.
Chris started his career in retail travel on the shop floor with Lunn Poly (now Tui) before moving to Thomson Travel Group within their call centres in the North East and Yorkshire.
He joined Super Break initially as part of the reservations team before moving to product where he has held various roles responsible for all elements of Super Break product supply including introduction and development of the overseas portfolio and more recently the introduction of exclusive North Iceland charter flights packages to the product range.
Charlene Johnson was a Member of the House of Assembly, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, from 2003 to 2014. As a senior cabinet minister during her tenure she led a number of high profile departments, including Finance and Human Resource Secretariat, President of Treasury Board; Innovation, Business and Rural Development; Child, Youth and Family Services; and Environment and Conservation. She was also the minister responsible for the Status of Women and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. Prior to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Charlene worked as a policy analyst for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
Prior to becoming CEO of Noia, Charlene lived in Brunei. During her time overseas, she completed a Master of Business Administration (with Distinction) from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. This complements her Bachelor of Science in forest engineering from the University of New Brunswick and Master of Applied Science in environmental engineering from Memorial University.
Charlene became Chief Executive Officer of Noia on January 9, 2018.
President and Managing Partner
AirTrav Inc. | Affiliate Canada, ICF Aviation
Robert J. Kokonis leads Toronto-based aviation advisory, AirTrav Inc., a firm he co-founded in 2001. In 2013, AirTrav became the Affiliate Canada for ICF Aviation (formerly ICF SH&E), the world’s oldest and one of the largest aviation consultancies. Robert has spent 29 years in the aviation and travel sectors, with companies such as Air Canada, Finnair, Royal Jordanian, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Worldspan.
AirTrav provides commercial, financial, fleet, fuel strategy, operational, regulatory and risk management advice to airlines, airports, governments, and trade associations like the International Air Transport Association. For many years, the firm has partnered with IATA on many aviation-related matters.
AirTrav performs due diligence for banks, private equity firms and law firms on aviation investment deals, aircraft lease restructurings, M&A transactions, privatizations, reorganizations, bankruptcies and lawsuits.
Robert’s work has touched every continent and every airline type in over 40 countries, such as major network, low cost, ultra-low cost, charter, regional and cargo, with clients ranging from start-up and re-launch to legacy/flag carrier.
With AirTrav and also through ICF Aviation, Robert has work on a wide range of airport assignments in Canada, Europe and Africa, covering commercial, operational and fuel management areas.
Robert is considered to be an expert in the evolution of Canada’s ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) sector. He has assisted ULCC start-up and existing airlines worldwide, including long-haul low-cost entrant World Airways of the United States and VivaAerobus of Mexico. Robert also co-founded a LCC business plan that was in process of being funded when the events of 9/11 adversely affected plans.
Robert is intimately aware of Canada’s recently started and proposed ULCC start-ups, including the investment requirements, current financing situation and likely start-up dates. In addition, Robert meets regularly with the senior executive team of Canada’s two largest airlines, and has a strong understanding of their two low-cost subsidiaries, Swoop and Rouge, along with directional changes at Air Transat. The growth of self-connecting low-cost passengers in Canada may signal an opportunity for airports to consider self-connect programs. Indeed, Robert examined distribution opportunities and program structure for Gatwick Airport Ltd., which operates the GatwickConnects program.
Robert is also exceptionally knowledgeable about the immunized trans-Atlantic joint ventures from the leading three global airline alliances—STAR, Oneworld and SkyTeam—and what the implications are for passengers, airports, and Canada’s airlines.
Robert’s expert opinion is often solicited by top media such as Al-Jazeera, BBC World Business Report, Bloomberg-BNN, Bloomberg Television, Canadian Press, CBC, CCTV, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, CTV, Financial and National Post, Globe and Mail, Thomson-Reuters, and Wall Street Journal.
He regularly addresses leading conferences such as the Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin, the Middle East Airfinance Conference in Dubai, the North American Airfinance Conference in New York, and Aircraft Commerce FlyOps in Amsterdam. Robert lectures on airline deregulation in the Regulatory Theory course, Master of Laws program at Canada’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and on fuel prices and hedging strategies at the North America School of Aviation Finance and a seminar in Singapore.
Robert holds an International M.B.A. (Honors Finance) from the Helsinki School of Economics (now Aalto University) in Helsinki, Finland and a B.A. from Western University in London, Canada.
Marcus Lam, with over 12 years of industry and professional experience, has worked with aviation clients across the globe in airport air service development, airline network and fleet planning, airline alliance/partnerships valuation, and airline turnaround business plan development.
At Air Canada, Marcus was responsible for the network planning, scheduling, and capacity optimization of flights operated by over 340 aircraft through the airline’s major hub operations across Canada. Marcus is currently working with airports in Canada and the U.S. to increase domestic and international non-stop air access to their communities. In addition, Marcus has worked on air service development and airline network fleet planning projects worldwide, including engagements in Cabo Verde, France, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Turkey. He is an expert at using industry-trusted network planning and passenger choice forecasting tools to build robust, and commercially sustainable air service business cases for presentation to airlines.
Marcus has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) and Masters of Business Administration degrees from The University of Toronto.
Howard K. Mann
Campbell-Hill Aviation Group
Mr. Mann joined Campbell-Hill Aviation Group in February 2015 as a Vice President with more than seventeen years of wide-ranging aviation consulting and Washington experience.
For the last twelve years, Mr. Mann been active in air service development consulting where he specialized in air service development, strategic planning and regulatory policy to airport, airline and industry clients.
Throughout his career, he has created and implemented strategies to grow and retain traffic for both incumbent and potential new entrant carriers at airports around the world. As a consultant, he has led numerous successful air service and aeropolitical projects for domestic and international airport clients. Mr. Mann has an in-depth comprehension of market data from government and community sources, an understanding of the changing business models of target air carriers and forecasting skills to work with carriers on expected performance. He is a frequent speaker at airport community events, board meetings and industry conferences regarding air service development strategy. Mr. Mann brings a unique approach to air service development by incorporating aeropolitical and passenger facilitation policies into route proposals in order to ensure new itineraries are sustainable in the future.
Prior to his work in consulting, he served with ACI-NA where he worked extensively with U.S. and Canadian airport members on a wide variety of issues including bilateral air service policy, domestic air service and passenger facilitation. While at ACI-NA, Mr. Mann managed the JumpStart program for three years as well as worked with member airports on U.S. passport and visa policy, US-VISIT and various other CBP Issues.
Mr. Mann was selected as one of Airport Business Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2014.
Education B.A., Business/American History Dual Major, University of Pittsburgh
Gunnar Már Sigurfinnsson
Air Freight and Logistics
Gunnar Már Sigurfinnsson has served as the Managing Director of Icelandair Cargo since May 2008. From mid-year 2018 to February 2019 he also served as Chief Commercial Officer alongside his role at Icelandair Cargo. Prior to that he was SVP of Sales and Marketing at Icelandair from 2005. Gunnar Már became the Director of Sales Planning and Control in 2000, and in 2001 he became General Manager of Germany, Netherlands & Central Europe regions. Gunnar Már holds a Business Administration Degree from the University of Iceland.
Network Planning and Reporting, Porter Airlines
Andrew joined Porter’s startup team in 2005, when he participated in the initial business plan and purchase of Bombardier Q400 turboprops. He led the sales, marketing and communications efforts before taking on technical projects like the website and its integration with the reservations system, followed by program initiatives like Porter Pass and VIPorter.
From 2008, Andrew led the Commercial Planning department including pricing, revenue management and scheduling. Since 2013, he has been VP – Network Planning and Reporting, which includes working with departments across Porter in the areas of fleet planning, route profitability, network optimization, commercial and operational reporting, and business intelligence and analytics.
Prior to Porter, Andrew worked in marketing, airline analysis and program development of the CSeries at Bombardier Aerospace for 6 years. He holds a BASc in Engineering Science and a MASc in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.
Senior Vice President
Air Canada Express and Government Relations
Ferio Pugliese was appointed Senior Vice President, Air Canada Express and Government Relations in August 2018. In this role, Ferio has overall responsibility for the strategic direction of Air Canada’s regional operations, management of the Capacity Purchase Agreements and the relationship with current and future regional carriers operating on its behalf. He also has oversight for all relationships between the airline and the various levels of government.
He joined Air Canada from Hydro One where he was Executive Vice President, Customer Care, Corporate Affairs and Hydro One Telecom. He has also held executive leadership positions at other Canadian companies including at WestJet, WestJet Encore and Catalyst Paper Corporation.
Ferio holds a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University, an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, both from the University of Windsor. He has also been recognized by Caldwell Partners as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.
Cláudia Ribeiro De Almeida
Tourism, School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism
University of the Algarve
Cláudia Ribeiro de Almeida has a Post-doctoral Degree in Tourism, a PhD Degree in Tourism, a Master Degree in Total Quality Management in Services, a Degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in Tourism.
Since July 2017, Cláudia is the Tourism Course Director at the University of the Algarve. Since 2016, she belongs to the Coordination Team of the Tourism Master at the University of the Algarve. Between July 2015 and July 2017, she was the Director of the Tourism, Hospitality and Social Sciences Department. From 2009 to 2013 Claudia was the Tourism Course Director and between 2010 and 2011 the Pedagogical President of Management, Hospitality and Tourism School at the same University.
From 1993 until 1996, she worked in a Travel agency in Faro, Portugal. Since 1996 she is a lecturer at University of Algarve in the Tourism Department, teaching in areas such as Tourism Operations, Air Transport Operations, Transport and Accessibilities in Tourism, Dynamics of Tourism, Management of Tourism Attractions, Marketing of Tourism Operations, Tourism and Development, Events Management, Events Marketing and also Quality Management in Tourism.
Cláudia belongs to CIEO/CinTurs (Centre of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics) at University of the Algarve. She was the Guest Editor of several Academic Journals and she wrote several articles about airlines, airports, residential tourism, partnerships, coopetition and quality in tourism. She published a book about “Airports and Residential Tourism” (in Portuguese). She is also Co-author of the book “Tourisms: Mobilities and Territories” (In Portuguese). Cláudia belongs to several Interreg-Med Research Projects and Cost Action Projects.