Breaking boundaries in the air cargo industry, ACE 2023 soared to new heights, transcending the conventional event landscape. This unique gathering in Abu Dhabi seamlessly intertwined forward-thinkers from across the air cargo logistics spectrum – be it forwarders, consolidators airlines, or GSSAs – forging bonds in a setting that radiated freshness and class.

The recent ACE Event in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Etihad Cargo, which unfolded over three days, December 4-6, saw 180 decision-makers immersed in an atmosphere of community and opportunity. This was an event of knowledge-sharing, carefully curated one on one meetings, hi-class networking, and industry recognition.

ACE 2023 delegates, including the heads of industry associations, international freight forwarders, consolidators, time-critical experts, and decision-makers from major airlines and GSSAs, had intellectual exchange and meaningful interactions. More than 90% of the ACE 2023 delegates were holding the role of Founder, CEO, President, Managing Director, Vice President, Chairperson demonstrating the high calibre of ACE participants.

The format of the ACE event is quite unique mixing conference with inspiring speakers, one-to-one scheduled business meetings and social luxury networking events from the Welcome Reception above the Formula 1 tracks on the first evening, to a sparkly Gala Dinner sponsored by Neutral Air Partner at the renowned beach club Café del Mar and ending with casual friendly goodbye drinks on the rooftop of W hotel in Yas Island.

Céline Hourcade, Founder and Managing Director of Change Horizon, and co-organizer of ACE, emphasized the event’s role as a powerful business enabler for companies of all sizes. Looking ahead to ACE 2024, she promised an even more opulent affair, brimming with enhanced networking opportunities and a rejuvenated conference program.

The stage is set for December 2024, where ACE will once again redefine the industry narrative.

Christos Spyrou, co-organizer behind ACE, shared his excitement about the event’s format, combining high-level panel discussions with exclusive networking and pre-scheduled meetings. . “We craft a distinct approach to our events, delivering a lavish business experience for our esteemed delegates.”


Over the course of well-rounded panel discussions and presentations during ACE, speakers focused on the global trends, economics, opportunities, but also challenges in the air cargo industry and of the time-critical and special cargo logistics sector, case studies and solutions. Eye-opening facts about emerging countries, shifting powers, and the growing potential for air cargo logistics, the sustainable practices and paving the way for a greener future and the importance of SME forwarders, consolidators, and shippers for the airlines and the industry, but also the endless potential of the Middle East air cargo logistics market.


ACE opening & welcome keynotes

Celine Hourcade | Managing Director, Change Horizon

Maureen Bannerman | Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports

Leonard Rodriguez | Head of Revenue Management & Network Planning, Etihad Cargo

FIRESIDE CHAT: 2023 air cargo market overview | 2024 forecast

Turgut Erkeskin | President, FIATA

Glyn Hughes | Director General, TIACA

Tomorrow’s air cargo

Key trends, challenges & opportunities that will affect air cargo in the next decade. The sustainability imperative: Driving sustainable practices in air cargo logistics and paving the way for a greener future. The power of many: The importance of SME forwarders, consolidators & shippers for the airlines and the industry.

  • Celine Hourcade | Managing Director, Change Horizon

Joined later in panel discussion by:

  • Serkan Sönmez | Cargo Director, Turkish Cargo
  • Elodie Bertonneau | VP Cargo Network Planning & Strategic Partnerships, Qatar Airways Cargo
  • Chris Condon | Chief Executive Officer, Aircon
  • Turgut Erkeskin | President, FIATA

Digitalization: What’s next for air cargo?

Accelerating performance in the digital booking era. Innovative technology firms presented their concept and how it can help air cargo logistics players and the industry.

Universal cargo payment solutions

  • Matt Petot | Founder & CEO, Cargowallet

Shared airfreight gateways

  • Chris Condon, CEO Aircon

Air cargo community platforms

  • Freek De Witte | Director, Air Cargo Belgium

Digitalizing end-to-end operations of logistics & freight

  • Kunal Maheshwari | Director at Softlink Global, Logi-Sys

Critical times for GSSAs?

The panel discussed and analyzed the evolving role of GSSAs in the new digital era with its challenges and opportunities and explored the airlines growing demand in total cargo management services. How does the role of GSSA evolve in the digital age? Has the traditional role of GSSA changed? Digital space: a threat or an opportunity? Total cargo management (TCM): a new trend or a business reality? What does the future ready GSSA look like?

  • Ralph van Eijk | Director Airline Development, Chéváro,

Joined later in panel discussion by:

  • Jabir Salam | CEO, Alpha Cargo Services
  • Joe Lawrence | President, Airline Cargo Services Intl
  • Melanie Hoericht | Sales Manager Middle East, Awery
  • Grant Kemp | Area General Manager, Etihad Cargo
  • Mortiz Claussen | Co-CEO,

Competing against time

The panelists presented and and then discussed new strategies and best practices when time is of essence: how to meet emergency demands, complexity, and capacity? From expedited products to air charter solutions, on-board courier, and expedited ground handling, the panelists explained how they compete against time while ensuring quality and operational excellence.

Urgent transports & complex shipments market review. Emergency air charter solutions & market review?

Christos Spyrou | CEO, Neutral Air Partner

How do Airlines respond to NFO and JIT demand for emergency shipments? How do they manage their capacity?

Freddie Overton | Regional Commercial Manager Europe & Africa, IAG Cargo

Healthcare logistics: From 747 Freighter load to a vial

Yulia Celetaria |Head of Logistics, EarlyHealth Group

The vital role of OBC hand carry in time-critical logistics

Gerhard Coetzee |Regional Director Cargo Solutions IMEA, Chapman Freeborn

Operational excellence, quality, and infrastructure investments in the time-critical logistics sector

Tushar Jani | Group Chairman, Cargo Service Center

Building the right eCommerce logistics ecosystems

Empowering leading supply chain providers to scale eCommerce capacity seamlessly, efficiently, profitably, and sustainably.

Justus Klüver-Schlotfeldt | CEO, NeX eCommerce

Focus on time-critical logistics industry verticals and special cargoes

Each industry-vertical and special cargo has its own specificities, requirements, and challenges. We had the pleasure of hearing the best transport and handling practices and recommendations from logistics specialists.

Pharma | Life Sciences & Healthcare
Fabrice Panza | Global Cool Chain Solutions, Etihad Cargo &

Stuart Stobie | Director, Priority Freight

Aviation | Aerospace
Turgut Erkeskin | CEO, Genel Transport

Fresh & Perishable foods
Carl Haspels | CEO,

Live Animals
Pascale de Mieter | CEO Coastair Group

Focus on the Middle East market

The region is expected to witness a rapid increase in commercialization and industrialization, which would further boost the demand for air cargo products and logistics services. The panel discussed and explored the endless potential of the Middle East air cargo logistics market.

Fastest-growing air cargo market in the next decade, New infrastructure investment, The future of supply chain and logistics in the region, Sea-Air and eCommerce logistics Hubs, Challenges and opportunities.

  • Steven Polmans | CEO, Air Cargo Experts Joined by panelists :
  • Rayan Ebrahim Al Haddar | General Manager Cargo Commercial UAE & Government Relations, Etihad Cargo
  • Liana Coyne | Director, Coyne Airways
  • Dirk Goovaerts | CEO EMEA & Global Cargo Chair, Swissport
  • Mourad Aoun | Chairman & CEO, The Net Global
  • Mammen Tharakan | VP Investment & Partnerships, Riyadh King Salman Int’l Airport

We would like to thank again, our Host Airline Etihad Cargo, our supporters TIACA, FIATA, Pharma.Aero, Neutral Air Partner, Women in Aviation Logistics (WAL) and Meantime Communications.  Our Gold Sponsors: IAG Cargo and TURKISH Cargo, Silver Sponsors: Aero Africa, AirBlox and CargoAi, and Bronze Sponsors: AirconAI, Evol, NEX e-commerce, Noatum, Space

Host Airport

Host Airline

Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors


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An ACE Event couldn’t be complete without high-level business connections. With the ACE 1:1 scheduler allowing delegates to orchestrate appointments, the pre-arranged one-on-one meetings fostered new partnerships and strengthened existing ones.

ACE’s robust one-to-one meeting scheduler provided over 180 key decision-makers in the airline, air cargo logistics, and forwarding industries with numerous opportunities to connect, negotiate and trade, in a professional yet friendly atmosphere.


A great evening concluded Day 2 with the ACE Gala Dinner and Awards, where 4 amazing industry stars were celebrated for their achievements in demonstrating remarkable leadership and innovation.

Leaders to Watch: Elodie Berthonneau and Charles E. Sarkis. Visionary Vanguard: Turgut Erkeskin, and the legendary Tushar Jani, recipient of the Life-time Achievement Award.

The fantastic four ACE Air Cargo Experts, each highlighting a unique aspect of their outstanding contributions.

You can see the best photos of ACE here and download to your liking!


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