Club News

Annual Reception 2019

The Aviation Club UK

This year’s annual reception was held at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in the City of London on Wednesday 10 July 2019.  The beautiful venue, tucked away at London Wall, gifted a new dynamic to the event with a wonderful outdoor terrace and bright Grand Hall.

Some 130 guests, drawn from membership, Club supporters and the Young Aviation Professionals programme gathered for the Reception and a lively and informative speech from Captain Mike Bannister, UK’s Chief Concorde Pilot.  Mike’s presentation was enjoyed by all as he recounted his career progression and exclusive Concorde experiences.  Mike is a wonderfully engaging speaker and the time he had just didn’t seem sufficient.  We were extremely fortunate he was able to join us to mark the 50th Anniversary of Concorde.

After the speeches the Reception resumed with the last guests departing at 9pm.

Our thanks go to the supporters of the evening – Maples Group and Hayward and Green Aviation Ltd, without whom the evening would not have been possible.

Hi Flying Club Lunch on 12 June 2019

The Aviation Club UK

President Paulo Mirpuri was the guest speaker for the Aviation Club UK, in London on 12 June 2019 and delivered a speech on the Hi Fly success history and innovative sustainability initiatives it is bringing to the aviation industry, in partnership with the Mirpuri Foundation.

Paulo Mirpuri highlighted Hi Fly’s  long and respected track record of supporting sustainability initiatives, always hand in hand with its principal sustainability partner The Mirpuri Foundation.

For its part, Hi Fly airlines has already committed to flying its own flights free of single-use plastic items by the end of this year (2019). And it made history last year with a series of plastic free passenger test flights over Christmas in 2018. Also all Hi Fly own flights will be carbon neutral before the end of 2021.

Hi Fly also partnered with the Mirpuri Foundation and IATA recently to host the world’s first Cabin Waste Forum. An event that bought together the world’s most prestigious airlines, airports, and industry regulators to discuss best practices and new ideas for minimising the amount of plastic and cabin waste created by airlines each year.

Committee Elections 2019


Following the annual general meeting of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom, the largest alliance of its kind in the world, chairman Karl Brünjes was able to confirm speakers until the end of the year and announce committee membership.

The event, held at the club’s London home, the Institute of Directors in London’s Pall Mall, coincided with guest speaker JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes confirming the airline plans to start transatlantic services to London in 2021 (see news item).

Speakers for the balance of 2019 are as follows:

·       Wednesday 12 June – Paulo Mirpuri, CEO Hi fly
·       Thursday 19 September – Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports
·       Thursday 7 November – Oscar Munoz, CEO United Airlines
·       Thursday 5 December – Warren East, CEO Rolls-Royce plc

The annual reception takes place at 18:30 on Thursday 11 July.

2019 – 2020 Committee (New members shown thus *)

Karl Brunjes (Chairperson) – RPK Capital

Donna Ager – Maples & Calder

Michael Blunt (re-elected for second term and Vice Chairperson) – oneworld)

Irena Badelska – Amedeo *

Nick Fadugba – African Aviation Services Ltd

Arnaud Fiscel – Bank of China

Malcolm Ginsberg – Business Travel News *

Sylvain Gloux – CargoLogic Management

Jeremy Green – Hayward & Green Aviation

Jane Johnston – NATS

James McCarthy – Dynam Aviation

Nigel Milton – Heathrow Airport

Philip Tozer-Pennington – Airline Economics *

Clive Richardson – Access Media & Events *

Philip Skinner – AMS Aircraft Services

Jane Thompson – ICF *

Tony Whitty (Treasurer) – Air Partner

The Chairman thanked those members departing the Committee, with a special note of thanks to John Strickland, who came to the end of a two year term after heading up the Speaker Working Group and Victoria Hartley, Club Treasurer for the past four years.

Tony Whitty will assume the role of Treasurer and Michael Blunt will remain Vice Chairperson.

JetBlue Confirms Plans to Fly JFK to London, With First Stop Aviation Club …

The Aviation Club UK

Robin Hayes and members of the JetBlue team landed at the Aviation Club lunch on Thursday 11 April 2019 just hours after confirming their intent to launch a service across the Atlantic to London in 2021.

The New York-based carrier are yet to announce which airport they plan to route into but are currently evaluating multiple options in London for its service and are excited by their future plans.

A traditional low cost carrier will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2020.  Currently operating 1050 flights a day with over 23,000 crew members JetBlue hold strong to the original five values that formed the organisation – Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion and Fun.  Despite being price conscious they don’t hold back on service or content.  All flights still serve complimentary drinks and snacks, were the first in the world to introduce free wifi to passengers and offer lay-flat beds on their very favourably priced MINT service, which was voted ‘Best Business Class in North America’ for the past two years.

Ahead of Jet Blue committing to serve London, the airline has been vocal about the challenges faced by smaller airlines.  JetBlue CEO, Robin Hayes is strong in his opinion that regulators need to exercise more oversight of US Legacy airlines and their international Joint Ventures, which result in the Joint Ventures controlling a significant number of slots and driving up the price of air fares.  He is adamant that JetBlue can reduce the prices on certain routes in business class offering a better service and product offering on these overpriced or routes.

British born Robin Hayes was relaxed at the Club lunch and engaged with a number of Club members and guests before departing.

CLICK HERE for report from BT News

Young Aviation Professionals event on 20 March

The Aviation Club UK

The most recent YAP networking session was held on Thursday 20 March 2019, hosted by DLA Piper in their stunning 7th floor hospitality suite overlooking the City of London.  More than 80 young professionals attended this event, which included the opportunity to network at an informal drinks reception and a 30 minute panel discussion mediated by Richard Skipper of DLA Piper.

The panel, comprising Club Chairman Karl Brunjes and Committee members Sylvain Gloux and Tony Whitty expressed their personal views on ‘Airline Bankruptcies and Consolidations’ and stimulated a great deal of interest amongst the audience. 

The Aviation Club UK’s YAP events are open to both members and non-members of the Aviation Club UK and are aimed at young aviation professionals aged between 20 and 35 years of age to help them broaden their industry connections.  Our next YAP event will be held on 12 June 2019.  Further details will be posted in the event section of the website in due course.  You can also join the YAP linked in group at

Clear Skies for easyJet

The Aviation Club UK

Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet addressed 200 attendees at the Aviation Club lunch on 20 March 2019.  During his speech, which referenced the easyJet withdrawal from the Alitalia deal, he expressed his support for the tightening of regulation around airport alcohol sales, which he strongly believes to have a direct correlation to disruptive passengers.  The airline will operate a zero tolerance policy to disruptive passengers and fully support their staff who have to make the decision as to whether to allow passengers to fly or not.  easyJet, the 8th largest airline in the world and 2nd largest in Europe, believe that high customer service levels and communication are key to their success.  ‘Better engagement with customers and stronger boarding policies will reduce disruptive passengers.’ Lundgren told the audience.

Lundgren’s speech stimulated a number of interesting questions from a keen audience who enjoyed an interesting and topical presentation.

CLICK HERE for article from Birmingham Mail

CLICK HERE for article from

CLICK HERE for article from Aviation Week

CLICK HERE for article from BTN

Robert Sinclair’s ‘Airport for London’

The Aviation Club UK

The Club’s 2019 lunch programme launched yesterday, Thursday 8 February 2019, with an address from Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport.  Members and their guests enjoyed an informative presentation from Sinclair as he outlined the future plans for London City Airport, the importance of the Aviation industry to the UK economy, the sustainability challenge and touched on airport anti-drone technology systems.

Sinclair admits he is ‘concerned’ as the clock ticks toward 29 March.  ‘Our industry is high profile and should not be used as a political football’, he said, adding ‘any threat to the aviation industry is a threat to the overall economy of the UK’.

He went on to talk about the massive expansion and refurb plans for London City Airport, which include an external terminal building, enabling it to serve two million more passengers a year by 2025 and a new digital air traffic control system.

London City is the first UK airport to replace its air traffic control tower with a remotely operated digital system.  Instead of sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, controllers will be 120 miles away, watching live footage from high-definition cameras.  The new system will now be tested for a year before becoming fully operational in 2019.

He concluded, ‘We are planning an airport which celebrates modern 21st century London.  Passenger split between business and leisure is now 50/50 and with new airline partners, multiple daily connections are growing and driving inbound tourism to the capital and beyond.’

CLICK HERE for article from BT News

Willie Walsh Back On Home Turf for Aviation Club UK’s Dublin Dinner

The Aviation Club UK


On Sunday 20 January 2019 the Aviation Club UK held their first international event at the St Stephen’s Green Hibernium Club in Dublin.  The Dinner, supported by Bank of China and Airline Economics, hosted a capacity audience drawn from senior representatives from the civil aviation industry, many of whom were in Dublin to attend the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Conference.

After dinner Committee Member John Strickland informally interviewed Guest of honour, Willie Walsh, CEO IAG.  And to the delight of the room, Walsh delivered both entertaining and informative answers. To hear the full engagement CLICK HERE.  Video coverage from the Dinner was reported by Travel Extra.

Media coverage from this event can be viewed at the following links:

CLICK HERE for second link from Travel Extra

CLICK HERE for third link from Travel Extra

CLICK HERE to see article from The Independent, Ireland

CLICK HERE to see article from The Irish Times

CLICK HERE to see article from The Irish Times

CLICK HERE to see article from RTE


Fellowship Award 2018 – Tom Williams CBE

The Aviation Club UK

The Aviation Club UK annual Fellowship Award was presented to Tom Williams by Chairman Karl Brunjes at the Club luncheon on 6 December 2018.  The fellowship of the Aviation Club is granted annually in recognition of an outstanding, long-term contribution by an individual to the Civil aviation industry in the UK.

Tom Williams completed an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in 1972 and went on to carry out a number of senior roles in UK manufacturing companies.  Tom joined British Aerospace in 1997 as Site Director and General Manager at the Prestwick site of the company’s Aerostructures division.  In 2000 he was recruited by Airbus UK as Managing Director and General Manager, a position he held until 2004.  Over the past 11 years he has progressed through Airbus and in January 2015 was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.  With responsibility for overall operations including engineering, procurement and Supply Chain Management, Tom is a member of both the executive management team of Airbus and the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Executive Committee as well as being the most senior Brit in the organisation.  

Tom will be retiring from Airbus soon and its no secret that his colleagues and friends at Airbus will sorely miss him.

In January 2011 Tom Williams received a CBE. 

Previous recipients of the Fellowship include Lord Glendonbrook (Sir Michael Bishop) in 2016, Sir Ralph Robins, Ken Smart, Mike Ambrose, Danny Bernstein and Roger Wiltshire.