CONNECT 2017 Ajaccio – 70 airlines and 250 airports expected

CONNECT 2017 will be taking place in Ajaccio, Corsica. The largest city on the island, Ajaccio has witnessed growth over the past few years, with the airport’s traffic increasing by 39% during the past 10 years, while the international market has quadrupled.

Taking place between 22 and 24 February, 70 airlines and 250 airports are expected to descend on Ajaccio in Corsica for CONNECT 2017, a conference which provides a unique and independent forum for airlines, airports and suppliers from across Europe to meet in a relaxed and productive setting. To find out more about who is attending this year’s event, take a look at the delegate listing. Hosted this year by Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Ajaccio & Southern Corsica, the conference will take place at the Palais des Congrès in Ajaccio city centre, next to the harbour.’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford recently travelled to Ajaccio to meet with Alain Pasqualini, GM of the Chamber of Commerce of Ajaccio and South Corsica, and Laurent Poggi, Director of Ajaccio Airport, to learn more about the international growth of Ajaccio. Traffic to the largest city in Corsica has risen by 39% during the past 10 years, with international passengers quadrupling in that time. Ford also recently met with Hervé Pierret, Member of the Management Board at Air Corsica, to find out more details of why the airline, which is the official carrier of this year’s event, is interested at looking into opening scheduled international routes to Ajaccio

What to see in Ajaccio

Ajaccio is the largest settlement in Corsica, home to around 68,000 inhabitants. The people of the commune are more commonly known as Ajacciens, and the most famous of those was Napoleon Bonaparte. Born in Ajaccio in 1769, his ancestral home – the Maison Bonaparte – is now a museum, a great place for delegates at this year’s CONNECT to go and discover. Along with Maison Bonaparte, other interesting sites of Ajaccio that are worth visiting are Musée Fesch, which remains one of the most important Napoleonic collections of art, and the daily market that takes place at Place Foch. There are also plenty or bars and restaurants to relax and enjoy along the harbour close to Palais des Congrès.’s own Ralph Anker will once again be speaking at CONNECT, giving an in-depth analysis on the outlook of the European market. He will also be having a head-to-head discussion with Vincent Hodder, Chief Revenue Officer, Flybe.

The event programme

24 guest speakers are so far confirmed to take part in this year’s programme, with delegates such as Vincent Hodder, Chief Revenue Officer of Flybe and Laurent Magnin, CEO of XL Airways France, taking part in proceedings. Discussion seminars that will be taking place at CONNECT this year include: the evolution of the long-haul model; Mediterranean traffic, the challenges and opportunities; and setting the scene, the European aviation market (conducted by’s very own Ralph Anker). The table below gives further details of this year’s speakers and panel discussion participants.

Company Name Job title
Air BP Paul Westerman General Aviation Manager UK/France
Air Caraïbes Marc Rochet CEO
Air Corsica Philippe Dandrieux Chairman of the Management Board
Air Corsica Hervé Pierret Member of the Management Board Ralph Anker Chief Analyst
Bombardier Aerospace Alain Lamontagne Marketing Manager
Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Ajaccio & Southern Corsica Jean-André Miniconi CEO
CMS DeBacker Annabelle Lepièce Partner
easyJet Agi Smith Senior Manager, Airport Development & Procurement
easyJet Reginald Otten Commercial Manager France
Flybe Vincent Hodder Chief Revenue Officer
Germania Claus Altenburg Director of Sales, Routes & Systems
LASeR Aviation Support & Representations Srls Luigi Vallero Founder & Managing Director
Marc Benedetti Marc Benedetti Independent Aviation Consultant
Milanamos SAS Christophe Ritter General Manager
Philippe Wilmart Consultant Philippe Wilmart
PMP Thomas Waintraub Consultant
RDC Iain Smith Director – Airports
Ryanair Niall O’Connor Director of Route Development
SprintAir Wim Beernaert Business Development Director
SprintAir Jarosław Chłopecki Commercial Director
Vueling Gabriel Schmilovich Director of Network Planning, Scheduling & Slots
WPE Corporation Limited Paul Whelan Director
XL Airways France Laurent Magnin CEO
Source: CONNECT 2017.

What CONNECT has arranged for delegates 

Along with a pre-event reception, a welcome reception and a gala dinner, CONNECT has also arranged a series of tours for delegates. On the day before the conference commences, a tour of Ajaccio has been set up for delegates to sign-up to and enjoy before the meetings, networking and seminars commence. Join the complimentary city tour, starting at 14:30 on Tuesday 21 February, which will depart from the Palais des Congrès. Not only will a tour of the city be taking place before the event, but the host and its partners have put on a variety of excursions for delegates to make the most of their stay once the show has finished. A hiking tour through Ajaccio’s mountain range, a boat trip to discover the Sanguinaire Islands, a visit to a local essential oils distillery, a tasting session of a range of Corsican wines and a view into the past of traditional Corsican lifestyle & local produce in the village of Zevaco will be on offer for delegates to sign-up to on the afternoon of the 24 February. To book your place on one of these amazing tours, do so at this link’s morning runs return once again

Each morning before meetings and seminars commence, there will be a five-kilometre run which will once again be sponsored by Hosting the morning runs are Corsica Run Xtrem, a company which will guide delegates through the idyllic spots of Ajaccio as the sun rises over the city. As always, those who take part in the run will also receive a complimentary running shirt. The meeting point for the morning runs will be Palais des Congrès at 06:50 on the 22 and 23 February. 

Register now before you regret it!

If you still need to register for this year’s CONNECT then do so at this link

Once again there will be morning five-kilometre runs, similar to those that took place in Vilnius at last year’s CONNECT. The runs will be coordinated by Corsica Run Xtrem, which will guide groups through the idyllic spots of Ajaccio as the sun rises over the city. Participants in the run will also receive a complimentary running shirt.


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