This years speakers for Ground Handling International

Ross Marino
Senior Vice President – International Airport Operations


Panel discussion: My ground handling problem is…

Ross holds an MSc in Aviation from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. With over 24 years' experience in the aviation industry, he has held a number of senior roles in the UK, Australia and the Middle East. Ross is currently responsible for dnata's international operations.

Andrew Badham
Policy Lead Aerodromes

UK Civil Aviation Authority

Panel discussion: My ground handling problem is…

Andrew has been a regulator for 8 years dealing with EASA and ICAO airport regulations. He chairs of the ICAO Ground Handling Task Force and represents the UK on the ICAO Aerodrome Deign and Operations Panel. He joined the CAA after 18 years with the British Airports Authority (BAA) at Glasgow and Gatwick Airports and as Head of Airside Operations. He also worked closely with IATA and ACI. He also worked at London Luton Airport and with National Air Traffic Services as an Air Traffic Controller. Andrew holds a BSc degree in Geography and a Masters degree in Transport Planning.

Debra DiSantis
Project Manager-Contract Strategy

United Airlines

Panel discussion: My ground handling problem is…

Debbie began her career at United Airlines in 2000. She started with the company as a flight attendant and transitioned to various frontline leadership positions in the Inflight and Airport Operations divisions. Most recently she served as the Project Manager – Contract Strategy, focusing on vendor work scope development and performance management, while specialising in cabin appearance. Debbie studied Industrial Psychology at High Point University and earned a Certificate in Project Management from Loyola University. She also holds a Senior Human Resource Certification.

Mark Bown
Operations Excellence Director at global power generations manufacturer


Continuous improvement/Lean: the miracle cure for margin-squeezed handlers?

Pablo Lopez-Bouzas
Operations Efficiency Manager


Optimising the turn: how London Heathrow is using Lean in conjunction with GSPs and airlines to optimise target off-block times and alleviate congestion

Pablo is Operations Efficiency Manager at Heathrow airport, where he leads the punctuality programme which is aimed at improving the efficiency of operations during the turnaround phase. He is also Airport-Collaborative Decision Making SME for Heathrow. Pablo's previous experience includes terminal operations, airfield operations and airfield strategy and planning. Before joining Heathrow, he worked for Airbus Operations in Madrid. Pablo holds an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid as well as a Master's in Professional Development from CIFF Business School, Madrid. He is also a fully trained Black Belt Lean Six Sigma practitioner.

Thomas Waintraub


Special Interest Stream: the ramp of the future

Thomas has extensive experience of the aviation industry in which he has worked for many years, including time spent with Worldwide Flight Services as SVP Group Purchasing and CEO of the French Ground Handling Business unit. Thomas has over ten years’ experience in consulting (at KPMG Peat Marwick) and has now set up his own business. He works, amongst other sectors, for many players in the aviation field including airlines, manufacturers, ground handlers, GSE suppliers and private equity firms.

Claudine O’Boyle
Head of Sales & Account Management EMEA

Amadeus IT Group

Special Interest Stream: the ramp of the future

Christopher Jones
Marketing & Airport IT

Amadeus IT Group

Special Interest Stream: the ramp of the future

Ashwin Noronha

Aerospace and Defence, KPMG

Financial Overview

Margit Miller
Executive Manager Ground Operations


Why is the ground handling business a Pandora’s Box?

Margit started her professional career working for LTE International Airways in 1989. During the first five years she was involved in administrative tasks related to ground operations, and then gradually introduced to the contracting of ground handling services. She was appointed Ground Operations Manager in 1995, and with the introduction of JAR OPS, was appointed Post-holder Ground Operations in 2002. Margit has also worked at Airberlin as Regional Manager Ground Operations, Safety & Security for Spain and Portugal. Since 2014 she has been in the position of Post-holder Ground Operations at Albastar.

Nick Humphrey

Kennedy’s Law


Dirk Goovaerts
Chief Operating Officer

Saudi Ground Services

The GHI Big Debate – The New ISAGO Safety Audit: A ‘must have’ business accessory for GSPs in 2018?

Dirk joined SGS in 2016 as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his appointment, Dirk held many senior operational roles within Menzies Aviation, including that of Senior Vice President - Europe. Dirk was actually with Menzies Aviation from 1999, when he initially served as Finance Director EMEA in Amsterdam and London.

Dirk holds a degree in Accounting and Information Technology, gained from the Thomas More Kempen University College, Belgium.

Jon Conway
Director General

Airport Services Association (ASA)

The GHI Big Debate – The New ISAGO Safety Audit: A ‘must have’ business accessory for GSPs in 2018?

Jon began his aviation career in 1973 with BOAC (later British Airways) Cargo, before embarking on a 27 year career with Cathay Pacific Airways. Initially working in cargo operations at London Gatwick, he was appointed Airport Manager Manchester in 1989. In 1994 he moved to Hong Kong, where he held a variety of senior management roles, the last being Director & General Manager of Hong Kong Airport Services. In 2008, he joined dnata as Divisional Senior Vice-President Airport Operations. In 2014 he was given additional responsibility for dnata Cargo in Dubai. Overseeing a workforce of over 18,000 across the UAE, Jon was also a Director of several joint ventures. In March 2017 he was appointed Director General of the Airport Services Association (ASA) the trade association representing the global ground handling industry.

Linda Moir
former Director of Virgin Atlantic’s In-Flight Services and responsible for event services staffing operation at the London 2012 Olympics

Customer service insights

During her five years at Virgin Atlantic, Linda oversaw significant business growth whilst consistently driving the Virgin Atlantic service promise of 'Brilliant Basics, Magic Touches'. With the support of Sir Richard Branson she revised the recruitment, training, promotion and performance management of 5,000 Cabin Crew that led to the highest recorded customer satisfaction scores. Before joining Virgin she was a Director for National Air Traffic Services during the period of transition from public to private ownership. She started her career at British Airways and was involved in the organisation's transformation to a customer led business.

David Baglee
Senior Lecturer

The University of Sunderland

Improving OTP and safety through a smarter GSE maintenance strategy

Dr David Baglee gained his PhD from the University of Sunderland in 2005 where he is currently a Reader in Advanced Maintenance. He is a Visiting Professor of Operations at the University of Lulea, Sweden, and a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Maryland, USA. His research interests include the use of advanced maintenance techniques within a range of industries. David has managed a number of international projects developing a range of condition monitoring techniques, has published extensively in international journals and presented a number of keynote presentations. David is on the editorial board of several international journals.

Wolfgang Fasching
Senior Vice President - Ground Handling, responsible for Ramp

Cargo and P&O at Vienna International

Ground handling profitability – is it real or just a game?

In 1997 Wolfgang joined Vienna International airport, where he worked with the team that managed the transition of the handling unit from a monopolistic entity to one that thrives in a competitive marketplace. Since 2000 he has been working as Senior Manager - Ramp Services, with responsibility for commercial issues, such as strategy, legal aspects, price and product policy and controlling. He has been active in various management positions, from passenger handling and cabin cleaning to catering transport. In 2011 he was appointed Senior Vice President - Ground Handling, responsible for Ramp, Cargo and P&O at Vienna International. In addition to that he has been Managing Director of Vienna Passenger Handling Services since 2014.

Panellists include: Simon Witts

Aviation Skills Partnership

The Great Ground Handling Skills Crisis

Simon's career in aviation spans a wide range of roles across most aspects of the operating side of the industry. A graduate in Avionics from Queen Mary College, University of London, he initially worked in technical/engineering roles and developed up to Board level. This included spells with Bristow Helicopters, Racal Avionics (Decca), the UK's CAA, Air UK and British Regional/Manx. He was heavily involved in the Human Factors and early Safety Management work. Latterly, he broadened his career to include the accountability for, and the running of, all of the operational aspects of an airline at board level in the Chief Operating Officer role for British Airways CitiExpress/BA Connect. After the merger of BA Connect with Flybe, Simon created, developed and implemented the Flybe Academy. Simon has held many airline executive board positions and is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management, as well as Chair of Trustees for the International Federation of Airworthiness.

Amr Samir

Link Aero Trading Agency

The Great Ground Handling Skills Crisis

Celine Heinrich
VP HR Europe


The Great Ground Handling Skills Crisis

Calum Laming
Customer Experience Officer and Member of the Board


The LCC Ground Handling Model

Mario Pierobon
Researcher (Air Safety)

Cranfield University

Reducing ground damage through a more enlightened and inclusive approach to safety

Mario has worked as a safety management consultant and aviation safety regulations expert for the past five years. His specialties include the delivering of training on safety management systems and on the European aviation safety regulations, the auditing and authoring of safety management documentation, the running of safety risk management sessions and organisational auditing for the upgrade of safety management capabilities. Over the years Mario’s knowledge of aviation safety has been sought by several leading aviation industry publications.. His career has also included work in safety performance management at the International Air Transport Association headquarters in Montreal.

Dorel Picovici
lecturer at the Institute of Technology

Carlow, Ireland

Special Interest Stream: getting to zero on ground damage

Dr. Dorel Picovici holds a Lecturer's position at the Department of Aerospace Mechanical & Electronic Engineering, Institute of Technology Carlow. He has 27 years' experience in designing and testing electronic circuits. Dorel is an expert in using sensor platforms and embedded development boards and has a keen interest in ramp safety and platform technologies. He designed AVoiD's technology by discussing ground safety with airlines and companies involved in airside operations in both Shannon and Dublin airports.

Diego Alonso Tabares
Senior Engineer-Airport Operations


Special Interest Stream: getting to zero on ground damage

Diego has an MSc in Aeronautical & Airport Engineering from Universidad Politecnica of Madrid. He joined the A380 Programme at Airbus in 2003 for the A380 entry into service preparation. Since 2007 he has been working in the Airbus Engineering Airport Operations Department, taking care of aircraft/airport integration issues for in service, in development and future projects aircraft. Diego also participates in international committees for aircraft ground equipment standardisation and chairs the SAE AGE2C. He is also a member of CEN TC274 and ISO TC20/SC9.