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Day 2 Report

Thursday 30 March

The second day of the conference began with ERA’s Director General, Simon McNamara interviewing veteran leaders of two ERA member airlines about their wealth of experience in the industry.

Pioneering leaders
Jesper Rungholm, President and CEO of Danish Air Transport (DAT) and Ian Woodley, Board Member of bmi regional discussed the changes they had seen in the industry over the years, and how it continues to evolve with new technologies, competition and consolidation and the development of new business models to adapt to these changes. They also touched on the issue of pilot shortage, and Rungholm commented that it had been a problem before for DAT and is an even bigger issue for the industry these days when it takes four months for a get a pilot flying, compared to when it was possible within 24 hours in previous years.

The passion of the speakers for aviation was clear throughout the session, with both having made a huge contribution to connectivity and development in regional communities across Europe. Their inspiring stories and collected wisdom certainly gave delegates a lot to think about as they met for their networking coffee break before the conference’s final session.

Risky business
Aviation is a notoriously and understandably risk-averse business, but inspirational speaker Caspar Berry made it his mission in the final session of the event to challenge the way the audience looked at risk. The former professional poker player discussed the butterfly effect, looked at how people make decisions and explored the benefits and problems of using intuition. He also contested the concept of risk management, looked at how we deal with uncertainty and explained to delegates how fear of failure can actually be used to advantage in their businesses. Berry stated that while our emotions can sometimes lead us into trouble, “our emotions allow us to make better decisions”.

This final session definitely succeeded in challenging preconceptions about risk, and was an inspiring end to a brilliant and varied programme of speakers and topics at the event.

Delegates then enjoyed their final networking opportunity at the buffet luncheon. This year’s conference was more popular and successful than ever – a real testament to the value that delegates place on ERA’s events. Thanks to all delegates, speakers and sponsors for supporting ERA’s first major event of 2017.

We now look forward to ERA’s next event, the ERA General Assembly 2017, which is this year being held in Athens, Greece on 17–19 October.