Sunday 15 December 2019

High-fliers keen to talk, but don't quote me on that

As usual, there has been a large turnout for the annual Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin, which formally kicked off yesterday at the swanky Four Seasons hotel.

The brochure for the event lured delegates with a raft of keynote speakers and interviewees including James Hogan, the boss of Etihad; Christoph Mueller, the chief executive of Aer Lingus; and Ryanair's deputy chief executive Howard Millar.

The latter two were interviewed by the BBC's Gavin Esler, a 'Newsnight' presenter who was undoubtedly paid handsomely for his brief workload.

Peter Barrett, the head of Dublin-based SMBC Aviation Capital, one of the world's biggest aircraft leasing firms, was also up on stage yesterday.

But in an age of Twitter and instant communication, the organisers of the event, London-based Euromoney Seminars, have somewhat curiously insisted on Chatham House rules for journalists covering the event.

That means that while what was said by speakers can be reported, who said it, or what company they're from, can't be.

The Punt has little doubt that during yesterday morning's sessions plenty of delegates were busy tweeting comments that were made.

It seems that it may have been speakers involved in the afternoon sessions yesterday who were the more cautious ones.

Hacks were barred from those sessions, which included the former chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines, Howard Putnam, as well as executives from other aviation giants including Boeing, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney to name – or not to name – but a few.

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