Aviation – Reconnect the World

Keynote speech by Rafael Schvartzman, IATA Regional Vice President, Europe
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Rafael advocates for the interest of IATA's members and strengthening the relationships with aviation stakeholders across the Europe and Central Asia region.

Rafael joined IATA in 2005 as Country Manager for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and has held various positions in the association since then.

Rafael's aviation expertise also includes a decade at DHL in the Americas and experience working for a range of air transport companies in South America.

Rafael holds a Master in Positive Leadership and Strategy from IE Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of the Pacific. He has lived in numerous countries including Argentina, Ecuador, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. He speaks Spanish and English.

Panelist - Ole Orvér
 Ole Orvér, Finnair

Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair

As Chief Commercial Officer for Finnair, Ole is responsible for all Revenue activities and Customer Experience. He drives, among other things, increased customer choice and flexibility, modern distribution and new ways of working. Before joining Finnair, Ole worked as a consultant for airlines and airport operators, and he also has an extensive experience in leadership positions in several airlines, including Qatar Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Air Berlin and SAS.

Panelist - Gijs van Popta

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Gijs van Popta serves as Air France KLM General Manager for North Europe, covering the countries Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the Baltic states, overseeing all commercial, sales and airport operations activities.

Since the beginning of 2020, van Popta is responsible for growing the Air France KLM market position in North Europe, to continue to develop the Customer Experience and strengthen the cooperation with partners in the region. Obviously much time has been spent dealing with the impact of the Covid19 crisis.

He brings more than 15 years of airline industry experience in a variety of executive management roles, in Pricing and Revenue Management, Marketing and Sales, while based in different locations such as Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Moscow, London, Singapore and now Stockholm. Van Popta joined KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 2004 as a Corporate Management Trainee.

He completed his Business Administration studies at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He has also completed several Executive Management Programs at the London Business School and HEC Paris.

Panelist - Svend Leirvaag
Svend Leirvaag Amadeus

Svend Leirvaag, Vice President Industry Affairs, leads Amadeus’ government and institutional affairs globally.

Svend holds a degree in Business Administration from the USA, and started his career as a management trainee in Scandinavian Airlines in 1986, before joining newly established Amadeus in 1988. He returned to SAS in 1992 as Director of Marketing & Distribution. Working for the SAS CEO he led the implementation of TQM/LEAN in SAS’ commercial division worldwide, and subsequently the development and implementation of SAS’ travel agency programme in Scandinavia. After leaving SAS in 1997 he embarked on a successful management consulting career, acting as trusted advisor to top management across different industries. Svend rejoined Amadeus in 2011.

Svend is a respected travel industry expert, and has broad international management and consulting experience from airlines, hotel chains, travel management companies, and online travel distribution.  

Panelist - Juha Järvinen
Juha Järvinen, Virgin Atlantic

Juha Järvinen is Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic.  He leads the Commercial function with responsibility for Network Planning, Joint Venture & Partnerships, Global Sales, Revenue Management, Distribution, Government Affairs, Sustainability, Holidays and Cargo business units, and core contribution to becoming the most loved travel company.

Juha has previously worked at Finnair Plc, where he had been Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Board Member since 2014 and Managing Director of Finnair Cargo from 2012 to 2016. Prior to Finnair, Juha held several senior commercial and operations positions at SAS Scandinavian Airlines during his 14 years at the airline.

Juha is currently President Emeritus of the Airline Passenger Experience Association [APEX] Board, a US based non-profit association representing the global airline, technology and entertainment industry which looks at ways to continue improvements in customer experience.

Juha holds an MBA from Danube University in Austria and a BA Honours from London Metropolitan University Business School. He resides in London with his spouse. Loves travelling and exploring the world. Enjoys going to the gym, running or a bikram hot yoga class.

Panelist - Paul Starrs
Paul Starrs, Qatar Airways

A seasoned global aviation professional, Paul has over 20 years of commercial leadership experience with British Airways, Emirates, Oman Air and now Qatar Airways.

Since joining Qatar Airways as Senior Vice President for Western Regions, Paul has played a vital role overseeing the airline's commercial team responsible for the west at a time when the airline faced and continues to come up against unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He takes pride in setting and achieving ambitious global objectives, as well as leading the way on change initiatives that demand close collaboration and stakeholder management across various organisational disciplines.

Paul's extensive global experience enables him to navigate the complexities of managing multi-national and multi-cultural teams to achieve stronger commercial success.

An avid outdoorsman, Paul enjoys every opportunity to immerse in nature and looks forward to soon visiting "the land of the thousand lakes" and witnessing Finland's spectacular revontulet phenomenon.