Safety and Flight Ops Conference

Postponed to 2021

Because of the COVID-19 pandemics, the 2020 edition of the Safety and Flight Ops Conference, initially scheduled for March 2020 has been postponed to 2021. The agenda may be adapted to reflect the current crisis. The new dates will be announced as soon as the situation allows. For any information, please contact us at

The IATA Safety and Flight Operations (SFO) conference is IATA's premium annual event bringing together industry leaders, visionaries and innovators. The 2021 edition of the conference will take place in Baku, kindly hosted by Azerbaijan Airlines.

Conference Theme: Focusing on the Future

​​​The pace of technological change is exponential. Over the course of the last two or three decades, we have seen computing power, data storage, Internet bandwidth, and the performance of wireless devices increase to the power of 10 for the same cost. As one of the most technology-dependent industries in the world, air transport has been significantly impacted, with new changes bringing new opportunities to improve safety, efficiency and the passenger experience, but also new responsibilities with regard to data management & protection, cyber-safety & security. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Change can also pose a threat. Such innovations as hyperloop, flying cars, city-to-city space travel, and drones would not only disrupt our industry by crowding the skies, but also our markets. Right now, our future is unclear: How soon will they arrive? What will be their actual impact? As well as the evolution of technology, we face the issue of climate change. Climate change brings additional unpredictability to our everyday operations in the form of more frequent severe weather events and increased turbulence. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​As an ever-growing industry, how can we maintain safe and sustainable operations and even reduce our carbon footprint?

​​​​​​​​​​​​As an industry, we face much uncertainty. SFO 2021 aims to provide us with clarity, pinpointing where we are now, what initiatives are under way, and where we’ll be in three to five years.

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This conference is intended for:

  • Airline CEOs
  • Airline COOs
  • Senior Management is Safety and Flight Operations
  • Leaders from key industry bodies such as EASA, FAA, CANSO, ACI and IFALPA
  • Aircraft and Engine Manufacturers
  • Key industry suppliers
  • Startups
  • Problem solvers



​​​​ ​​​​

New Entrants

How do we embrace new technologies and game changers entering our industry? ​​​​



Multi-modal Transport

How do we create the transport networks of the future via a multi-modal approach?

Artifical Intelligence

How do we adapt to the rapid technological growth revolutionizing aviation’s best safety and flight operation practices?

Talent of the Future

What new jobs are coming into our industry and how do we attract talent for those new jobs?


As an ever-growing industry, how can we maintain safe and sustainable flight operations?

Cyber Safety

What are the risks, mitigations and measures that the industry is taking to ensure cyber safety?

The SFO Bistro will be hosted at 14:15 on 1 April, 2020. Topics include:

Artificial Intelligence

Table Hosts:
Martin Mitev – Captain, Air Baltic
Christopher Martinsson – CEO, Chief Programmer, Dynamic Source AB

Summary of Discussion:
Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term for hardware and software that simulates aspects of human intelligence, such as decision-making, learning, generalizing, and reasoning. There are various forms of AI, but the most popular currently in connection with data is machine learning (ML). Machine Learning enables computer programs to automatically improve with experience by learning from the data used to train the computer programs. Rather than coding a program with what to do, the emphasis with ML is on coding a program and training it in a range of scenarios using large volumes data.

AIXM - Aeronautical Information Exchange Model

Table Hosts: 
John Synnott - Manager, Flight Operations Information Technology, IATA

Summary of Discussion:
An XML (Extendable Mark-Up Language) based data/information exchange language and/or model established on defined standards that allows for the exchange of aeronautical information between airspace users. A critical enabler of SWIM (System Wide Information Management) which is the infrastructure that allows the aviation community to access information needed to facilitate innovation and manage National Airspace System (NAS).

Aircraft Operational Data (AOD) Governance and Policy

Table Hosts:
Chris Markou - Head Operational Cost Management, IATA
Alex de Gunten - Business Development Officer, HEICO

Summary of Discussion:
Aviation is in the midst of a big data revolution. Modern aircraft are equipped with ever-more sensors that record information on every flight and while on the ground. Why is AOD important for innovation and competition? Should AOD be shared within the industry? Discuss various use cases of AOD and concerns about restrictions on data access and use.


Fatigue Management

Table Hosts:
Jim Mangie - Lead in the IATA Fatigue Management Technical Group, Delta Air Lines
Bjoern Hennig - CEO avialytics and SME for IATA Fatigue Aware

Summary of Discussion:
Flight crew members’ fatigue is a significant problem in modern aviation operations, mainly because of the unpredictable work hours, long duty periods, circadian disruptions, and insufficient sleep. It has a substantial impact on safety, operational costs, and efficiency.
With the increase in growth that the industry will experience, this problem can only get worse.
In this bistro table, we will discuss how data is needed to be able to safely and efficiently mitigate fatigue, as well as the different ways airlines can achieve it depending on their type of operation and maturity. We will talk about the relationship between airlines and regulators and how this interaction can be a collaboration of all parties.

Trajectory Intent Sharing

Table Hosts:
Claudia Mariscal - Manager Aviation Data Solutions, IATA
Jens Gesing - First officer Airbus A330, Lufthansa

Summary of Discussion:
Pilots fly trajectories based on assumptions and forecasts made on the ground at the time of filing the flight plan. Such assumptions such as weight, weather, and restrictions rarely match reality, and as a result, pilots often fly inefficient trajectories resulting in unnecessary fuel burn and environmental impact. If, during the flight phase, pilots were able to proactively propose to ATC a more optimum trajectory based on the latest dynamic information available, significant fuel and environmental emissions could be saved the Airline in addition to ANSPs releasing capacity in the network.
We are now able to downlink real-time data; we will discuss how this idea can set the way forward for the reduction of CO2 emissions and increase airspace efficiency.

Safety Sustainability

Table Hosts:
Mark Searle - Director, Safety, IATA
John Monks - Director of Safety and Security, British Airways

Summary of Discussion:
As the global expansion of aviation continuing unabated, what opportunities exist to ensure we sustain a continued focus on reducing accident rates in a period of rapid growth.

Being an Aviator in the Age of Drones!

Table Hosts:
Ruby Sayyed - Head ATM Advocacy, IATA
David Morgan - Chief Ops, Integrity & Standards Officer, Air New Zealand

Summary of Discussion:
Demand is growing for seamless movement in and out of megacities which is motivating the new models for urban air mobility. At the same time, we are seeing an exponential growth in the use of drones for parcel delivery. But that is not the only change we will see in our skies. The single pilot concept is being considered by manufacturers using automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). This means a shift in the role of human and a change in the future jobs in aviation. How can we think like disruptors and be catalysts for innovation?

MRO Spares Market Transparency & Surplus Aftermarket

Table Hosts:
Bretton Wells - Project Manager & Business Development, IATA

Summary of Discussion:
Demand for air travel and consequently growing aircraft fleets have propelled the commercial airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector into steady growth for the next decade. The total MRO sector is estimated to reach $81.9 Billion USD by the end of 2019, a significant portion of which is attributed to material costs. Facing a continuously growing aftermarket airlines and MRO service providers lack the optimum level of transparency to determine the best price and timeframe of needed material. Consequently, leading to costly resource and supply chain inefficiencies.

Facing Operational Disruptions – Can we learn from past experiences?

Table Hosts:
Carlos Cirilo - IATA
Sharron Caunt - Regional Director Safety & Flight Operations Africa & the Middle East, IATA
Blair Cowles - Regional Director Safety & Flight Operations Asia-Pacific, IATA
Ashish Jain - SVP Group Safety & Security, Qatar Airways
Geoff Hounsell - Vice President Flight Operations Support Services and ATM

Emirates Summary of Discussion:
During flight planning, airlines strive to minimize flight time, fuel usage, and carbon emissions. Many times, the flight plans are driven by capacity limitations, airspace closures, disruptive extreme weather events and others. Coordination and cooperation between airspace users, regulators, Air Navigation Service Providers is fundamental to ensure an efficient contingency operation and recovery to normal operations. How can we learn from past experiences and improve our system performance when facing operational disruptions?

Turbulence Aware

Table Hosts:
Brent King - Head Flight Operations Efficiency, IATA
Katya Vashchankova - Head IATA MET Program, IATA
Jim Graham - Senior Vice President-Flight Operations, Delta Airlines

Summary of Discussion:
Turbulence Aware is an IATA solution for assisting airlines with the mitigation of turbulence related events and injuries via a platform that shares real time, in-situ, aircraft generated, objective turbulence data. Discussion at the table will include; What impact do turbulence events have on your airline on an annual basis? Do you know how many events, injuries or the associated costs? What situational awareness tools do your pilots and dispatchers utilize to avoid turbulence or prepare for an event? What data do you have available to run analytics around a turbulence event? Do you know that aircraft technology is now available to calculate the atmospheric turbulence state around an aircraft in-flight? This being the case, how would you envisage using this technology to maximize operational benefits for your airline?

CEDAR - Connected, Ecological, Digital, Autonomous, Ramp

Table Hosts:
Joseph Suidan - Head Ground Operations, IATA

Summary of Discussion: Innovation and automation at airports are the break-through technology that must be seen to be believed. Our main focus now is to see how ground operations will tap into this parallel reality by contributing meaningfully to improving the aircraft turnaround. Safety, efficiency and monitoring on-time performance – all vital to smooth functioning ground operations - are all made possible through the multitude of innovative ideas and technological advances. IATA Ground Operations launches its CEDAR (Connected, Ecological, Digital, Autonomous Ramp) initiative. Join us at this table and be part of this change.

Aeronautical Skilled Staff

Table Hosts:
Giancarlo Buono - Regional Director Safety & Flight Operations Europe, IATA
Mark Cameron - Head of Safety and Compliance, Qantas

Summary of Discussion:
While air traffic continues to grow, the availability of skilled personnel for key aviation jobs remains a challenge. At this table we will be discussing what strategies the Industry should put in place to ensure attractiveness of the Industry to new generations, as well as concrete actions for the removal of artificial barriers for global mobility of technical staff.

ICAO Mandate - Global Reporting Format – Runway Surface Conditions

Table Hosts:
Stuart Fox - Director Flight Operations, IATA

Summary of Discussion: Runway excursions remain one of the top challenges to aviation, with serious impacts in terms of safety and cost. A key consideration is to ensure effective braking, particularly when the runway surface conditions have deteriorated. The assessment and reporting of Runway Surface Conditions (RSC) are being addressed by ICAO through the implementation of a revised Global Reporting Format (GRF). IATA has taken the initiative to deliver the required GRF - RSC knowledge as an E-learning course for access by the global aviation community.

IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA)

Table Hosts:
Parvin Gurbanov - Manager IATA Standard Safety Assessment, IATA

Summary of Discussion:
Safety assessment program aimed at smaller aircraft operators (MTOW < 5.7 ton) that assess the management safety, quality systems and all the operational areas. ISSA significantly increase Operators’ brand identification and market potentials. Major benefits for operators are: reduction of redundant audits, implementation of Safety Management System (SMS), objective measurement of operator’s conformity, review against applicable ICAO requirements, reduction of insurance premiums, preliminary step to IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit).

Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku is the capital city of Azerbaijan and the country’s booming center of commerce and international trade. Situated on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, alongside the Bay of Baku, the city has a richly layered history that stretches back long before the Romans, who made inscriptions there in the 1st century CE. At the center of the metropolis is the Inner City or Old City, with its medieval fortifications accented by intricate architectural details. Along with the Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah’s Palace, Baku’s Old City is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Today, Baku remains a fascinating mix of cultural influences from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Classified by Lonely Planet as a top international destination for those looking to partake of its thriving nightlife, Baku also has much to offer in terms of fine cuisine, ancient and contemporary architecture, museums, and music venues such as the Baku Jazz Center.

Bakı Konqres Mərkəzi - Baku Convention Center

Completed in 2015, Baku Convention Center is a recent addition to Baku’s long list of architectural gems. The structure was designed by award-winning Austrian architects COOPHIMELB(L)AU to complement the renowned Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku’s principal cultural venue just next door.

With a main auditorium that can accommodate up to 3,500 people, and multiple flexible conference rooms, the convention center has become a popular site for international conferences. Just steps from the city center, Baku Convention Center is easily accessible from both Heydar Aliyev International Airport and Baku Central Railway Station.


JW Marriott Absheron Baku

Whether you are visiting Azerbaijan for business or leisure, you will marvel at the 5-star luxury of JW Marriott Absheron Baku. Ideally located in the city center, hotel guests are near Port Baku Mall, Fountain Square, Shirvanshakh Palace and the Central Botanical Garden. Every hotel room and suite features a generous layout with views of Baku's skyline or the Caspian Sea. Amenities include pillowtop mattresses, marble bathrooms, mini-refrigerators, large workstations and Wi-Fi.

Book a family suite to enjoy a convenient kitchen or an Executive Lounge room for special amenities, including breakfasts and cocktails. The property offers a modern gym, impressive indoor pool and free parking. Pamper yourself at the luxury spa and indulge in delicious cuisine and drinks in one of the hotel's restaurants or lounges. If you are planning an event, you'll value our cutting-edge audiovisual technology, much-lauded catering and sophisticated venues, including the Sharg Zali ballroom, the largest hotel ballroom in Baku.

Registration Rates

Registration Types 2020​ ​Regular RATE
IATA Member Airline $ 1150
Non-IATA Member Airline ​$ 1350
IATA Strategic Partner $ 1525
Airport/Regulator $ 1350
ATS Provider ​ $ 1275
Solution Provider + Other $ 1750


Sponsorship/Exhibition Contact:

Mickey Martin
Director, Business Development, McVeigh Global Meetings and Events
Tel: +1 631 841 6866


Visa for Azerbaijan

A visa is required for entry to Azerbaijan. Please read the following information carefully. Many countries are eligible to apply for an e-visa:
See the list of eligible countries
Apply for an e-visa

Please ensure you check your visa requirements as soon as possible to prevent any delay in your visa application. For guidance and further information, delegates should consult the following link: IATA Travel Centre.

Thank you to our 2020 Sponsors

Host Airline & Principal Sponsor


Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors


Media Sponsors

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