European Aviation Conference 2015

  • Location: Cranfield campus

Restricting the skies: The end of airline liberalisation?

The European Aviation Conference is now established as a premier conference in the aviation calendar. As in previous years, it offers a meeting place for experts in industry, academia and government. This year the conference was hosted by the Centre for Air Transport Management at Cranfield University, UK, with assistance from the University of Westminster. 

The Conference considered the future for airline liberalisation. For decades, the drive within the industry has largely been moving towards freer markets, but in the current climate, some stakeholders seem to be pushing back against the view that free markets are best.

The Conference discussed:

  • For whom are free markets beneficial?
  • Are there winners and losers?
  • What might future markets look like?
  • What constitutes a ‘level playing field’?
  • Are subsidies inconsistent with it?

In addition to sessions devoted to these questions, the Conference, as usual, also featured a Debate, this year on whether Gulf Carriers distort competition, along with the Martin Kunz Lecture, and will conclude with a Review of Current and Emerging Issues.  


European Aviation Conference 2016 is now confirmed 16-17 November 2016 in Istanbul. Further information and updates will be available on the EAC website.

European Aviation Conference 2015

Location and travel details

Cranfield University is located at the very heart of the UK – within the innovation triangle between London and the cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Our central location provides easy access from the M1, excellent main line rail service as well as proximity to key international airports. Set in rolling countryside, Cranfield offers a rich, rural landscape complemented by thriving towns and picturesque villages.

  • Road: We are just 10 minutes from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1 motorway. There is free parking on campus.
  • Rail: Milton Keynes or Bedford
  • Air: London Luton (22 miles), Heathrow (50 miles) or Birmingham (70 miles).

View our location maps

Event programme

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University extended his welcome to delegates of Cranfield at the opening of Day 2 of the conference.


Wednesday, 18th November 2015

19.30 Welcome Reception, Mitchell Hall, Cranfield University
Sponsored by Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Thursday, 19th November 2015

08.00 Welcome Coffee and Conference Registration
Sponsored by Frontier Economics

09:00  Opening and Welcome: Keith Mason- Cranfeld University
Session 1 Chair:
  Rigas Doganis- Cranfield University

Speakers:            Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines, Steve Perkins, OECD

10:15 Coffee Break
Sponsored by Frontier Economics

10:15 Session 2 Economics and Politics of Liberalisation: Past and Present

The conference starts with an analysis of key experiences and outcomes of airline  liberalisation. The discussions will cover the gains from liberalization.  How these gains are  measured - whether they are usually over- or underestimated, and what effects liberalisation has had on tourism and trade? Furthermore, the role of the different stakeholders will be taken into account.

Chair:              Kostas Iatrou, Managing Director & VP PR, ATRS

Speakers:       Charles Schlumberger, World Bank

                        Tae Oum, UBC, Sauder School of Business

                        Dan Elliott, Frontier Economics



12:30 Lunch

Sponsored by InterVISTAS


13:30 Session 3: Level Playing Field – The Core Issues

Everybody talks about level playing fields, but how can they be identified? Which dimensions need to be levelled and which differences are comparative advantages rather than competitive distortions? A special focus will be given to 6th freedom traffic.

Chair:              Guillaume Burghouwt, SEO Amsterdam Economics

Speakers:       Mike Tretheway, InterVISTAS

                        Laurent Timsit, Air France-KLM

                        Martin Biesel, Air Berlin

                       James Lee Phillips, German Pilots Association

                       Roger Maynard, Advisor to IAG

                       Will Lofberg,Emirates


15:00 Key Address
Paul Kehoe, CEO Birmingham Airport


15:30 Coffee Break

Sponsored by Frontier Economics


15:45 Session 4: Liberalisation, Competition Policy and Ownership of Airlines

Many questions are linked to the ownership issue: Is government ownership a problem in liberalized markets? Are ownership restrictions out of date? What is the role for competition policy? Are competition concerns being used as an excuse for protection? Do Gulf airlines’ investments affect government policies?

Chair:               Tuba Toru, Istanbul Technical University

Speakers:         Volodymyr Bilotkach, Newcastle University

                         John Balfour, Clyde & Co

                         Mark Bosly, Department for Transport, UK.


16:30 Key Address: Good and bad Liberalisation
Cathal Guiomard, Former Commissioner for Aviation Regulation, Dublin, Ireland


17:00 Coffee Break

Sponsored by Frontier Economics


17:30 Session 5: The Debate: Do Gulf Carriers distort the Level Playing Field?

Our conference program always includes a debate on a critical issue between two opposing views, this year’s debate refers to the Gulf carriers’ growth and their supposed preferred treatment by the respective governments.

Chair:              Nicole Adler, Hebrew University

Debaters:       Jaap de Wit, Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis

                        Ian Douglas, University of New South Wales

                        Andreas Wittmer, University of St. Gallen


18:30 Close

19:30 Gala Dinner: The Sculpture Gallery, Woburn Abbey


Friday, 20th November 2015

08:30 Welcome Coffee

Sponsored by Frontier Economics

09:00 Key Address: Welcome to Cranfield University
Sir Peter Gregson, VC & CEO of Cranfield University 


09:30 Review of Previous Day’s Proceedings

Speakers:       Michael Tretheway, InterVISTAS

                        Hans-Martin Niemeier, University of Applied Sciences Bremen


09:45 Session 6: Martin Kunz Memorial Lecture: Twenty Years of Low-Cost Carrier Research (or How I Personally Benefited From Liberalisation)

Sponsored by SEO Aviation Economics

This is the 12th year where we will recognise an outstanding researcher or public policy commentator. This year the lecture will be given by Professor Martin Dresner, Robert H. Smith School of Business, Maryland University, and President of the Air Transport Research Society. 


10:30 Coffee Break

Sponsored by Frontier Economics

11:00 Session 7: Subsidies – Do they tilt the Playing Field?

There are many controversies, which kind of government intervention or framework should be considered a subsidy. Moreover, if one country assists its flag carrier, what is the appropriate answer – countervailing duties, restrictions on market access or other measures? 


Chair:              John Strickland- JLS Consulting

Speakers:       Peter Forsyth, Monash University

                        Hans de Jong, former head of bilateral negotiations, The Netherlands

                        Frankie O’Connell, Cranfield University

                       Geoffrey Weston, Bain & Company


12:30 Coffee Break

Sponsored by Frontier Economics


12:45 Session 8 What is the Future of Liberalisation?

This final session will not only provide a summary but also discuss potential future developments for airline liberalisation as well as policy recommendations. 


Chair:              TBC

Speakers:       Pieter Cornelisse, KLM

                        Brian Pearce, IATA

                        Barry Humphreys, British Air Transport Association

                        Klaus Geil, European Commission


14:00 Lunch



Please click here to download a copy of the full Event Programme.

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