Keynote Address Speakers
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, NL: 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.
Alan Doyle, actor, producer, best-selling author, and best-known as lead singer for Newfoundland and Labrador’s beloved Great Big Sea, these past 20+ years hardly needs an introduction.
With three solo albums under his belt, Doyle has been touring the world with his six-piece band for the last seven years. In late 2014, Doyle released his best-selling memoir Where I Belong, followed by a second book A Newfoundlander In Canada released in October 2017. Amidst these projects, Doyle found time to write music for and appear on CBC’s Republic of Doyle, guest on CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries, a role in 2014’s Winter’s Tale and 2010’s Robin Hood.
Doyle hails from Petty Harbour, NL, and formed Great Big Sea in 1993 with Sean McCann, Bob Hallett, and Darrell Power, in which they fused traditional Newfoundland and Labrador music with their own pop sensibilities. Their nine albums, double-disc hits retrospective, and two DVD releases have all been declared Gold or Platinum and have sold a combined 1.2 million copies in Canada.
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.
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
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.
Panel Discussion Contributors
International Network Planning and Air Canada Jetz
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.
Director, Passenger & Facilitation
International Air Transport Association – IATA
Pierre joined IATA in October 2015 to provide leadership and direction to drive the industry in improving the overall passenger experience throughout the journey, focusing on the interaction of the passenger with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders.
He began his career at Air Canada in 1988 and held numerous positions over his 21-year tenure with the airline. He spent most of his career managing customer service and airport operations.
He moved to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) in 2009 as the Regional Director – Service Delivery, being responsible for the effective, efficient and uniform service delivery of screening operations in the Eastern region of Canada.
He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique de l’Universite de Montréal in 1988 as an Industrial Engineer.
CEO, Destination St. John’s
Cathy Duke has been the CEO of Destination St. John’s (DSJ) for the last eight years where she directs sales and marketing efforts in attracting meetings and conventions, leisure travel and sport tourism to the destination. Prior to this, Ms. Duke served as Deputy Minister with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, leading the Departments of Tourism Culture and Recreation (TCR) and Innovation Trade and Rural Development (INTRD).
Her private sector experience includes serving as President of the Terra Nova Golf Resort and the Clarenville Inn, and Vice President of Coastal Associates and Consultants Ltd. Other past appointments also include Executive Director of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), Executive Director of the Economic Recovery Commission (ERC), and Account Manager with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Her current board appointments include Board Member of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the Destination Marketing Association of Canada, St. John’s Sports and Entertainment and the Memorial University Board of Regents; Commissioner with the Independent Appointments Commission and Vice-Chair of the Stella Burry Foundation. Ms. Duke holds a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) ’79, and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A) ’82 from Memorial University and acquired her ICD.D designation from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management in 2017.
President & CEO
Fredericton International Airport
Johanne Gallant joined the Fredericton International Airport Authority (FIAA) in March 2015, bringing over 30 years of success in the fields of marketing, sales and international trade to New Brunswick’s capital city. Prior to joining the FIAA Ms. Gallant spent over a decade leading the considerable growth at the Greater Moncton International Airport as Director of Airport Commercial Development and Acting President and CEO (2011-2014). Previous to that role she held various positions with the New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Economic Development including Director of Marketing and Trade Sales.
Her proven track record of establishing new routes and markets by developing strategic business partnerships with multiple levels of government, other airports, private industries and associations has resulted in significant investments in the local, regional and provincial economy.
Ms. Gallant is Board Director of the Atlantic Canada Economic Council, the Canadian Airports Council and past chair of the ACI Marketing and Communications Steering Group. Also, she is a former board member of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce; former Chair of Major Gifts division for the Transportation Discovery Center; and former Chair of the Canada Committee, under the auspice of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
Although she has a busy schedule, her passion for fitness, health, and travel complements her dedication to her job. She has also enjoyed participating in humanitarian missions with her family, which allowed them to assist with fund raising and building a women’s medical clinic and elementary schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.
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.
Thorleifur Thor Jonsson
Senior Manager, Trade delegations and Visit Iceland
Thorleifur has been working for Promote Iceland since its establishment in 2010 and prior to that with its predecessor The Trade Council of Iceland since 2007. Main areas of responsibility have been organizing Trade delegations and workshops, world vide, both promoting Iceland as a Tourism destination and Icelandic exports in general. He is a board member of The Icelandic Route Development Fund. Prior to joining The Trade Council Thorleifur was the Chief Economist of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association from its establishment in 1999 and earlier he was Managing Director of a Bus operating company.
Thorleifur holds a M.Sc. degree in Tourism planning and development from University of Surrey and a Degree in Business Administration from the University of Iceland.
President and Managing Director
Robert J. Kokonis leads Toronto-based aviation advisory, AirTrav Inc., a firm he co-founded in 2001. He 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, operational, regulatory and risk management advice to airlines, airports, governments and trade associations like IATA and National Airlines Council of Canada, both of whom AirTrav has worked with on aviation-related matters. AirTrav also acts as the Affiliate in Canada for ICF Aviation (formerly SH&E), a global full-service aviation advisory.
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.
Robert has worked globally with every airline type – legacy network, regional, low cost, ultra low cost, and cargo. He has also performed 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’s expert opinion is often solicited by top media such as Al-Jazeera, BBC World Business Report, 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.
Director, Marketing and Sales Communications
Gabriella holds over 25 years at Air Canada, having first started in In-Flight Service before moving into various management roles within Product Marketing and Marketing Communications.
Until recently, Gabriella was the Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Global Route Support, where she helped drive passenger revenue through impactful and creative marketing campaigns, including partnerships with airports and tourism boards. As Director, Marketing and Sales Communications she spearheads the planning, design and execution of all revenue marketing campaigns domestically and on the international stage, and leads the sales marketing strategy to help forge strong partnerships with the airline’s travel agent and corporate community.
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.
Director of Partnership – Sunwing Travel Group
Susan has been working with Sunwing for over 13 years. Her role as Director of Partnerships with Sunwing’s Travel group involves overseeing Governments and Ministries for all Caribbean countries that Sunwing flies into. She also contracts and buys all product in the Dutch and English Caribbean and she is accountable for securing, building and maintaining partnerships with both Ministries and Hotels.
To maintain program funding, she cultivates relationships with politicians, government agencies, and tourism boards. She is responsible to manage the full sales cycle and maintain the marketing budget and administer and negotiate contracts with airports.
Prior to working with Sunwing she worked in Mexico as Senior Country Director with My Travel. There she managed the daily activities of the destination and worked closely with the local authorities. She also developed and implemented sales programs, promotional campaigns and managed all financial aspects.
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.
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.
Break-Out Session Presenters
Director, Air Service Development & Passenger Markets
Edmonton International Airport
Carmen has been with Edmonton Airports for over 20 years and has transitioned from her early days in operations into the commercial side of business where she has held key roles in generating non-aeronautical revenue. She has been leading aspects of the Commercial Development team including Parking, Concessions and Marketing over the last 10 years.
Her current focus is partnering with stakeholders to develop and promote air service and to market all aspects of EIA.
She is passionate about EIA’s success and enjoys being part of the community at the airport.
OAG Airports Manager for North America
Stephen Leonard is the OAG Airports Manager for North America. He’s been with the company since the OAG acquisition of Flightview four years ago with three years spent in the Business Development role for the Americas and global sales teams.
Executive Director, Atlantic Canada Airports Association
Owner, Sea Communications
As the Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association, Monette is responsible for policy, planning and advocacy efforts for 13 airports in the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Combined Atlantic Canada’s Airports move over 8 million passengers annually and contribute over $4.4 billion to the region’s economy.
Monette has been managing marketing and advocacy programs for over 15 years. She began her career in the tourism industry leading industry advisory boards to government in both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Monette has a wealth of experience in government relations, strategic planning, tourism marketing and social media strategy.
Monette and her team at Sea Communications are award winning social media marketers, responsible for marketing strategy, planning and social media execution for Welcome PEI tourism publications, Golf PEI, Mill River Resort and have previously worked with the Charlottetown Airport for a decade to develop their brand, website and engaging social media presence.
Monette holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Business from Mount Saint Vincent University.