GHI Conference: the time to build back better now, says KPMG's Chris Brown

Written by: Samantha Payne |
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"How can we use this as an opportunity to grow back better?" That was the invitation of Chris Brown, Director of Global Strategy Group at KPMG Ireland during one of the opening sessions of the eagerly awaited Annual GHI Conference this week.

He said there was no better time than now during today's lower volumes to tackle the key themes that has thwarted the industry over the past year. Issues such as examining how processes are carried out, training staff for the long-term, and being mindful of the potential of future technologies that can shape the sector over the next decade should be tackled today until a full recovery happens.

"With the potential simplification of the number of assets, for example, less wide-body aircraft over the next decade, that itself provides an opportunity for streamlining the types of assets needed and standardising processes," Brown said.

He called out the constant downward pressure on pricing was not healthy and showed some research where an airline for every 100% of its ground handling value showed up another 15% of hidden value if it was benchmarked against best turnaround time, in terms of the assets being less used than they could be.

"So in that type of context it doesn’t make sense for an airline to be haggling over 2-3% discount contract values if that directly undermines the ability of its ground handling partner to invest for the long term future and where there can be mutual benefits," he said.

"Changing that is no easy ask," he continued. "But the onus to change lies with the ground handler and not the airline. So, is there an opportunity here to take a more open book approach with detailed feasibility studies and to validate business cases where there is clear specific investment in talent, process improvements and technology that can influence price negotiation, or lead to a conversation around joint investment for joint benefit of returns."

More than 400 delegates attended the annual popular event on 13-15 September, 2021 at the Bella Center in Copenhagen.

See our full conference review in our next issue of GHI.

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