Airline CEOs to Address Major Industry Event

Executives to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 10:39 AM, 11 Sep, 2020

Wizz Flies High (pre Covid-19 picture)

(September 10, 2020) Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.

In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith, (lower far left) Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers, (lower second left) Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff, (lower second right) airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss, Air Astana CEO Peter Foster, and Stefan Pichler (lower far right) President & Chief Executive Officer Royal Jordanian will address the week-long hybrid event, taking place from 30 November – 4 December 2020.


As the leading group in terms of intercontinental traffic on departure from Europe, the Air France-KLM Group is a major global air transport player. Having steered the SkyTeam alliance members through the worst of the crisis, Ben Smith and Pieter Elbers are focused on rebuilding the airline’s balanced global network and reasserting its place in the market.

With plans to double passenger numbers to 80 million by 2025, Wizz Air has continued to expand rapidly despite the disruption that coronavirus has brought. Under József Váradi’s leadership, the Hungarian low-cost carrier has announced more than 200 new routes over the last six months, opened a string of new bases, and launched a start-up in Abu Dhabi.

Latvia’s airBaltic connects the Baltic region with over 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. Martin Gauss expects measures taken by the airline, including the reduction of capacity and costs, will mean the carrier is in an excellent position to fully redeploy its A220-300 fleet as the market recovers.

Despite effective debt reprofiling in 2019 and the successful execution of its “Avianca 2021” plan through Mid-March, Colombia’s Avianca was forced to file for voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in May due to the impact of the pandemic. Anko van der Werff will outline the carrier’s turnaround plan and recovery strategy during the conference.

Royal Jordanian has been an essential part of the country’s economy, contributing 3% of the national GDP. With extensive experience in leadership roles across the aviation and tourism sectors, Stefan Pichler is well placed to outline the financial considerations and actions that airlines must take to rebuild from the crisis.

Steven Small, Brand Director at Routes, said: “By uniting leaders from across the sphere of aviation, we can help to shape the collective industry action that must be taken to stimulate the recovery.

“Over 30 hours of live and on-demand content at Routes Reconnected will provide unmatched insight, inform future business strategies and the recovery plans of the global route development community.”

Routes Reconnected will bring together the world’s aviation community to tackle the impact of COVID-19 and develop strategies that will support the industry’s recovery. This five-day event will consist of three virtual days of meetings, on-demand content and virtual networking opportunities, as well as two full days of in-person meetings at the Hilton, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

The airline CEOs join a strong line-up of big-name industry speakers. Association leaders including ACI World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira; IATA’s Regional VP, Americas, Peter Cerda; and WTTC’s SVP, Membership & Commercial, Maribel Rodriguez will outline how aviation stakeholders can work collaboratively to develop networks that create long-term economic benefit and positive local impacts.

More than 115 airlines and 275 airports and destinations are expected to attend Routes Reconnected, both physically and virtually, to engage in conversations that will go on to rebuild the world’s air services.

The hybrid event will support the airlines, airports and destinations in navigating and adapting to the new market patterns, regulations and business practices that are emerging in the post-pandemic era.

To view the full list of speakers or to find out more about Routes Reconnected, please visit

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