Innovation and visionary leadership - key to success

Michael Kerkloh has served as President and CEO at Munich Airport International for 17 years. He has been a board member of #ACI Airport Council International for a couple of years, representing more than 500 airports in 45 European countries. And he served for six years as president of #ADV, the German Airports Association. According to TravelDailyNews Media Network he will retire by end of 2019, and the supervisory board has just agreed to start search for his successor. 

We were honoured that Michael Kerkloh - in spite of his busy schedule, on the way back from a business trip to Moscow and Muscat - had joined us at our event in Hamburg in February this year. His insight, innovative ideas and vision conveys the picture of the ideal leader in this dynamic world. 

We discussed #Brexit, airport charges, Lufthansa cooperation, the impact of autonomous driving on airport business models, retail concepts, future airport set up and bag handling, capacity crunch in Europe with air traffic expected to double yet having to be handled on the existing infrastructure and more. The real competition takes place between the airline - airport systems - it is not only one airport and one airline. But there are opportunities for better airline - airport cooperation. 

The Lufthansa terminal joint venture at Munich Airport has been in place for 20 years and has turned out to be a real win - win. The single till system had been a revolution which Munich Airport introduced, with airlines participating in the airport income. It needed open thinking and foresight, but it turned out to be a huge success and let to more growth. 

Interesting question from the audience by Thierry Gnych at IBM : what are the showstoppers for collaboration between airlines and airports? According to Michael this is above all the energy needed to enter in depth talks is enormous - and probably the main challenge why it is not happening more often. Data silos cause additional challenges - and these are not only of technical nature. 

Autonomous driving will mean big challenges for parking revenue. It will affect the airport business model and require new thinking in terms of the #retail approach. Why not think about the whole customer journey, linking airport and airline offers instead of e.g. separate airline duty free on board? Probably we will need cooperation with the big ones such as Amazon , DHL and others to manage the logistic challenges behind. And not to forget: customers still like some physical and human touch points as well.

Are there any projects within ACI and / or Munich Airport about the airport of the future, with check in desks gradually becoming obsolete for example? The #IoT internet of things helps to improve ground processes. Collaborative decision making could improve the aircraft departure by 4 minutes - a big figure and a huge opportunity!

We still have baggage processes from the 1920s at all airports globally - Munich Airport employs 500 workers to transport the bags to/from the aircraft. We have not seen robotics projects being able to really manage it. Shipping has achieved containerisation, we have not yet achieved this for travel as an attempt to automate these processes. 

Digital solutions today are an add on - we have to keep the old and the new world. This makes it more complicated. Listen to our interview with Michael Kerkloh at our last think future event in February 2018. 

At think future - Hamburg Aviation Conference 21-22 February 2019 we will discuss innovative solutions and case studies around retail along the customer journey, how to break the data silos, diverse approaches to the bag problem and other stress moments, how to use design thinking to innovate and change and more.

Confirmed speakers and attendees include already among others Aegean Airlines (CCO), Wizz (Head of Digital), Eurowings (CCO), Thai Airways (Board members and Presidents),  Lufthansa Group (Senior Director, Head of Direct Distribution Solutions), Lufthansa Group (SVP HR Services and Digitisation), oneworld (VP Membership and Customer Experience), flybmi (CEO) , Myway airlines (CIO), Ukrainian Airlines (CCO), Brussels Airport (Director Customer Experience), Hamburg Airport (CEO, Managing Director, Director Corporate Communication & Customer Service, Head of Aviation Marketing), Frontier Airlines (Head of Ancillary Revenue), Center of Innovation at Plug and Play Tech Center (Managing Partner, Travel and Hospitality), IBM, start ups such as Trustabit (blockchain), Winding Tree (blockchain), Trvl Porter, Grab and more.

#airport #aviation #airline Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) #travelretail #personalisation #customerexperience Ursula Silling