11th GHI Asian Conference provides food for thought

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Things are wrapping up here at the Centara Grand hotel in Bangkok as the 11th Asian GHI Conference draws to a close. Over 360 delegates, including 95 airline representatives from 40 carriers, have attended the regional three-day event, with over 1000 One-to-One meetings taking place, alongside a thought-provoking conference agenda.

On day one, delegates learned of the double-digit growth occurring in the Asian air travel industry and panel discussed the opportunities versus the challenges that this growth presents to the sector. Yacoob Piperdi, Executive VP Gateway Services at SATS emphasised that “people define ground handling”, suggesting that education courses in aviation alongside re-skilling and up-skilling of staff would help drive growth by improving staff retention and attraction. Infrastructure was deemed to be an area in need of attention, and aggressive ways to cope with the “unexpected traffic boom” in Southeast Asia are required as airports are struggling to keep up, said Edward Clayton of consulting company Stratgey&.

Day one also saw the launch of GHI’s brand new conference offering: the ‘Meet the Airline’ speed networking forum. A raving success, and a feature that is sure to return bigger and better at future events, the speed dating format saw GSPs able to maximise their time and make quick-fire connections with the airlines present. Stay tuned for details of the total meetings held in this exciting new provision in the GHI conference.

Day two heard KPMG’s Ashwin Noronha deliver all-important statistics on the projected future of key Asian markets, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and India. With a 25-30% erosion to be expected in ground handling revenues in the years to come, Noronha explained that the industry must adapt to stay in the game. Technology and innovation are vital in this endeavour, he asserted. Delegates learned how to cut vital minutes from their turns in a safe and efficient manner using Six Sigma from consultant Andy Dobson of ICF, while Derrick Ogden provided Jetstar’s guide to operational excellence in Asia and a second panel debated the future of IGOM.

On day three, delegates were inspired to be better leaders in their organisations by Al Valentine, lecturer in transformation leadership at Assumption University in Thailand, followed by an engaging master class on the subject by Michael Paul Stevens, MD, Provolution, which taught delegates the three simple rules of how to think more collaboratively.

The event drew to a close with Aviation Disputes Lawyer Kate Seaton’s examination of a ground damage case study and employee behaviour on the ramp, asking ‘is the operative in the wrong?’ Social media made an important appearance in this context, with due mention made of the global coverage that all events, big and small, are subject to in today’s society. How does an organisation approach this? Read the full report in next month’s GHI to hear Seaton’s advice.

Next year's event, the 12th GHI Asian conference, will be held in Kuala Lumpur, 19-21 March 2019. Book your place soon for more informative presentations, stimulating discussion and high quality networking opportunities.

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