As in previous years, a delegation from the SPAAK board visited the General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) held in The Espace Grande Arche, Paris, on Tuesday 28 May.
This year's well-attended meeting was dominated by Ben Smith's first cautious steps to make the group more profitable and decisive. What stood out was the focus on making Air France more profitable. KLM stayed out of the way in the short term plans and the message was to continue along the same path.
Ben Smith has used the recent period to get acquainted with the company, make quick agreements with various areas to bring back the peace and see where the pain points within the organization lie. Sometime in the coming months he will announce the medium and long term plans.
Last year's results were explained by Mr Gagey and do not deviate from the presentation in February. Looking ahead, tensions on the world stage and the development of the kerosene price remain a cause for concern, but the bookings for the coming period show a positive trend and are slightly above last year's bookings.
Furthermore, 37 resolutions have been voted on, there have been changes and reappointments in the Board of Directors that have been discussed and, as every year, there has been an opportunity to ask questions to the directors present. The SPAAK board took the opportunity to ask a question about the loss of Jet Airways and how the group is dealing with it. Afterwards, we asked what this means for the released slots at Schiphol. The first question was answered by Ben Smith and the second question was answered by Pieter Elbers. The atmosphere at the table seemed good from a distance.
The board also used the visit to have conversations with some key-players outside the meeting. It is clearly visible, also on the French side, that people are now aware of the status of SPAAK as a major investor. The board of directors has strengthened the existing network and also expanded on a few points. For example, we have been invited for an investor day where the plans of the holding company are presented to large (potential) investors.
The coming period will also be devoted to strengthening and expanding the network and trying to obtain as much relevant information as possible.