Club News

Comair in Spotlight at Aviation Club

The Aviation Club UK


An African success story will be the focus of the Aviation Club UK on 11 March, when the guest speaker will be Comair Group CEO and former head of Comair Airlines Wrenelle Stander.

Wrenelle Stander: 15 years at executive level.She was appointed in December as part of a restructuring at South Africa-based Comair, which operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee and as a low-cost carrier under its own Kulula brand.

Working for most of her career in what she acknowledges is a male-dominated business, Stander has more than 25 years’ experience in the aviation and energy industries, 15 at executive leadership level.

Previous jobs include periods as managing director of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company (ATNS), one of only three women worldwide to hold such a position; deputy CEO of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and director general at the Department of Transport.

Comair operates within South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean islands and the group continues to form partnerships with industry leaders in travel reward and recognition programmes.

It holds a special place in aviation having achieved 72 years of uninterrupted profitable operations, and has been officially recognised as one of South Africa’s top employers for 2020.

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Boeing controversy comes to Aviation Club

Last Saturday’s (25 January) maiden test flight of the new Boeing B777X will provide another topical subject to be discussed at next month’s Aviation Club lunch in London, with the man in one of the industry’s currently most controversial jobs as guest speaker. (see also in the issue Further MAX delay to summer confirmed plus AND FINALLY.

Steve Dickson: At the heart of controversy.Steve Dickson, administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is at the heart of the B737 MAX controversy and is expected to give some indication of when the aircraft will be allowed to return to service.

He now also has the pending arrival of the B777X, the world’s largest twin-engine passenger jet, to deal with as well as the wider issue of safety regulatory issues post Brexit.

As a former senior vice-president of flight operations for Delta Air Lines and a strong advocate for commercial aviation safety and improvements to the US national airspace system, Dickson is particularly well qualified to carry out his new job.

He was sworn in as FAA administrator last August after being confirmed for a five-year term by the US Senate.

Bookings are now open for the Aviation Club gathering, which is on 6 February at the new venue at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. It is also a curtain-raiser for the organisation’s 30th anniversary this year.

Article courtesy BTNews: BTN‘s full edition is at

Aviation Club to feature MAX

As American Airlines again delays the date for bringing its Boeing B737 MAX fleet into service, next month’s Aviation Club lunch will be highly topical with the head of America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Steve Dickson, as guest speaker.

Steve Dickson: A strong advocate for aviation safety.Bookings are now open for the 6 February event, the club’s first lunch at its new venue at the Royal Automobile Club building in Pall Mall London, and a curtain-raiser for the organisation’s 30th anniversary this year.

As administrator of the FAA, Dickson leads the US equivalent of the UK’s CAA and will be speaking about the MAX and the wider issue of safety regulatory issues post Brexit.

He was sworn in as FAA administrator last August after being confirmed for a five-year term by the US Senate and having recently retired as senior VP of flight operations for Delta Air Lines. He is known as a strong advocate for commercial aviation safety and improvements to the US national airspace system.

■ American Airlines said last week that “based on latest guidance”, it expected the resumption of scheduled commercial service on its MAX fleet would be on 4 June this year.

The airline said once the aircraft was certified, it would operate flights for staff members and invited guests before the MAX was entered into commercial service.

Article courtesy of BTNews –

Aviation Club raises over £3,000 for Official Charity Partner, Orbis UK

The Aviation Club UK

Aviation Club Members and guests raised £3,398.18 over the course of 2019 for the Club’s official charity partner, Orbis UK. Money raised will help to save the sight of children and adults across the world, transforming lives. For further information on the work of Orbis UK, visit

Rolls-Royce CEO speaks of ‘Sustainability and the Environment’ at Aviation Club UK December lunch

Warren East, CEO Rolls-Royce addressed a capacity audience on Thursday 5 December at the Aviation Club UK’s final lunch of 2019. East has cautioned that aviation’s share of worldwide emissions could hit 20-25%, up from around 2.5% today, if the industry ‘does not act quickly enough on sustainability. ‘

For full report from FlightGlobal – CLICK HERE

For full report from Karma – CLICK HERE

For full report from Bloomberg – CLICK HERE

For full report from Aviation Week – CLICK HERE

For full report from Air Transport World – CLICK HERE


The Aviation Club UK

Speaking to a capacity lunch today at the Institute of Directors Karl Brünjes, Chairman of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom, announced that the Club was literally moving down the road to a new home at the RAC.  Guest of Honour was Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce.

“2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Club”, said Mr Brünjes.  “It has more than fulfilled the objectives of its founder sponsors, which incidentally included Rolls-Royce, in creating an informal high-level forum for commercial aviation here in London.  From all over the world the great and good in air travel have spoken over the last three decades.  Who can forget the occasion on 6 July 2005 when Geoff Dixon, then CEO of Qantas, was handed a piece of paper and announced that the United Kingdom had won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.  After lunch it was off to Trafalgar Square to celebrate with the crowds.

“Following a long debate by the committee it was decided that the Club had outgrown our current home.  A detailed search found the Royal Automobile Club most welcoming and I am pleased to say our first guest will be Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator on 6 February.  Hopefully he will be able to talk positively about the Boeing MAX”.

Mr Brünjes said that 2019 had been a particularly successful year for the Club with the expansion of the YAP (Young Aviation Professional) programme, designed to introduce graduates into the industry, and a series of international events supported by Airline Economics, a subscriber only magazine, with happenings in Dublin, Hong Kong and most recently in New York.  He announced a quarterly ‘Forum Events’ programme of early evening, informal events with fireside discussions and debates on topical industry issues. 

Looking back over the year he noted the speaker list was of the very high standard that members were accustomed to.  “We started out with Robert Sinclair of London City Airport; followed by Johan Lungren of EasyJet; Robin Hayes of JetBlue, who announced London as the airline’s 2022 target; Paulo Mirpuri, who must be the only airline chief having been checked out on the A380; Paul Griffiths in charge of Dubai Airport; and most recently Oscar Munoz of United Airlines complete with a heart transplant.  Maybe running an airline is not that aggravating”.

“Looking forward guest speakers after Mr Dickson, it is Ms Wrenelle Stander, of South African airline Comair on 11 March, followed by John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport on 23 April”.

CLICK HERE for full article from BTNews

Airline chief on first MAX flight

Speaking at the Aviation Club in London last week, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said he would be a passenger on the first Boeing MAX service once the aircraft is re-certificated. 

Speaking at the Aviation Club in London last week, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said he would be a passenger on the first Boeing MAX service once the aircraft is re-certificated, although he was not sure when that might be. United would also reimburse any traveller who decided at the last moment not to fly. Munoz was a confident, first-rate speaker, which one would expect from an airline chief who returned to work within two months of a heart transplant. He certainly looked fit and robust at the Institute of Directors, whatever the future might hold.

United has been unable to operate its 14 MAX-9 aircraft since the aircraft was grounded in March following two fatal crashes. The airline was due to increase its fleet of the aircraft to 30 by the end of this year, with another 28 due in 2020.

Munoz noted that try as it might, United was having problems recruiting female flight deck crew, which still account for only 9% of pilots. EasyJet has a target of 20% but recently said that it had reached only 12%, noting the airline employed 100,000 staff from 127 countries.

Munoz added that when on a United flight, it was his pleasure to visit all cabins on an aircraft and chat both to travellers (he does not like the word passengers) and team members.

Article courtesy of BTNews

New York for Aviation Club UK

The Aviation Club UK

The Aviation Club UK has partnered with Airline Economics to host its second international event of 2019 with a reception on Wednesday 16 October at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel in New York.

Vist BTNews for this story and the latest industry news

The reception, supported by Embraer, is programmed around the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers New York conference and will host leading aviation sector guests.

Embraer CEO John Slattery will attend as the club’s guest of honour and will give a short address.

The club launched the international events programme with a Dublin dinner in January, reflecting the global reach of the aviation industry and to help members to broaden international business contacts and attract new members.

There are three gatherings each year, all supported by Airline Economics and sponsored by industry – the Dublin dinner in January, the New York reception in October, and a Hong Kong dinner in November.

The international events are free to members, who will be notified of details through club mailings.

Back in the UK, the club is preparing for its next lunch on 7 November at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, London, with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz as chief guest, while the pre-Christmas gathering on 5 December will be addressed by Rolls-Royce Plc CEO Warren East.

Paul Griffiths at Aviation Club lunch on 19 September 2019

The Aviation Club UK

Guests at the September Aviation Club lunch last week were treated to an usually forthright and detailed overview of the industry by Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths. In addition to his views on airport capacity (see  BTNews story here), he had much to say on other areas.

Find below an edited version of his remarks, courtesy of BTNews:

“Aviation touches hearts and minds, ignites passionate debate and is a key form of personal mobility – we are after all an island, and about to become more of one it would seem.

Air transport is key to our economic success and social progression. A 2018 WTTC study showed travel and tourism comprises 11% of the UK’s economy or about £231bn and employs more than 4.2m people. With the potential impact of Brexit, deal or no deal, this contribution could be even more vital.

The last time I was here at the Club in 2013, I spoke of the need for a radical change in thinking in the UK by politicians, the crippling effects of taxation and the need for a solution to airport capacity issues.

Sadly, a lot of the demands for change go unanswered today. However, today I want to continue to discuss the need for more forward-thinking about aviation and its needs for the 21st century and that’s not just about planes but trains and automobiles too.

With planes, there has been clarification of the future type of aircraft that will dominate – highly-efficient, twin-engine, longer-range, smaller aircraft rather than larger multi-engined aircraft.

The way we use our time means that the pursuit of speed has given way to the pursuit of economy and sustainability.  The A380 is the last of the line rather than the first of the next, conceived when two-engine aircraft weren’t allowed to fly transoceanic by the most direct route. Now nobody bats an eyelid to count the engines on the aircraft.

Another massive change is the sensitivity around the ecological impact of the industry and its growth. Changing attitudes towards personal carbon footprint are moving faster than the technological advancement to mitigate the effect of emissions.  Irrespective of the debate about the human impact on climate change, it must be intuitively right for us to manage our curation of the planet. Sustainability is therefore a major challenge for the industry.

The industry has worked to address the concerns through introduction of lighter materials in aircraft, airspace optimization, research into and adoption of biofuels with up to 60% of manufacturers’ R&D budgets now spent on finding alternative sources of propulsion”.

Expanding on the airport capacity debate, Griffiths said he believed the industry had to go back to understanding what an airport is – an effective interface between ground and air. “There should not be more and more land take to build expensive and service-hostile infrastructure to concentrate more and more people into single spaces for the convenience of everyone except the end customer”.

“Rather”, he said, “The industry must examine ways to realise fully the considerable benefits of aviation while accelerating measures to mitigate the environmental impact. The challenge was how to cope with that in a sustainable way and this was now both an urgent and important requirement”.

He went on: “If we can solve the many problems of sustainable growth, then the benefits are enormous – after all aviation supports 63m jobs, nearly $3trn of global GDP, is a catalyst to create better conversations and enables cultures to reach a better level of understanding and respect”.

“The focus of approach to airport design and development simply must change. It shouldn’t be about how we create more capacity at pinch points but more about how we can use the latent capacity in the entire transport ecosystem and apply this on a global basis.

“The way forward for airports is utterly interwoven with the way forward for ground transportation and other methods of personal mobility where sustainability will be driven by advancements in technology, their acceptance by society and joined-up thinking to ensure cost effective and coordinated development.”

Future airports will become intermodal hubs, Griffiths went on, connecting aviation with high-speed ground-based transport systems such as autonomous cars, trains, hyperloop, SkyTran, Air Taxis, UMVs and “others which we cannot even imagine today”.

He continued: “While that may be a feasible and sustainable way forward, the intermediary steps required to get there are fraught with risks associated with the age-old problems”.

“These are – can we get politicians to think beyond their four-year terms to develop a long-term intermodal strategy, can we find funding mechanisms that don’t punish consumers and can we get governments to cooperate internationally to create incentives for technological developments and R&D and the global standards and regulatory framework needed to unlock the value of a fully-integrated intermodal transportation system?”

“Currently, although the inherent challenges are plain to see, the leadership of some of the world’s most influential economies is taking us backwards instead of forwards – but it’s time that we start the discussion so that incremental improvements and developments are considered in the broader context.”

“From an airport standpoint, that means before taking decisions to expand both physical and environmental footprint, we examine and exhaust the opportunities to unlock the latent capacity that is hostage to our legacy processes

“And if and as we do develop new infrastructure, we need to ensure it is done around these core principles: Sustainable, affordable, efficient, intermodal and customer-centric.”

Griffiths said if these principles were followed, “we may be able to shape the growth of the industry for decades to come and ignite the conversations that are needed within and across industry and governments for a more sustainable way forward.”