The Judges

Alwyn Brice

Managing Editor

Ground Handling International

It took Alwyn five years in the banking sector to realise the error of his ways. After that experience he took a degree in English and French and entered the educational sector, where he remained for eight years. Concurrently, he began freelance writing in his spare time. In 1992 he took another plunge, which saw him quit secondary teaching and join a monthly magazine. After several years spent in automotive and food technology journals he moved into aviation, becoming Ground Handling International's Editor in 2000. To date he has written two books and has a third in the pipeline.

Desiree Perez

Head Coach

Up Performance Coaching

Desiree is a recognised expert in the aviation industry for her work with leadership teams and individuals on leadership and professional development. Prior to her 18 years in aviation, Desiree lived in Argentina, then Germany, before being relocated to the US in 2011. Desiree served as a senior leader in the aviation industry on a global level, leading multicultural customer excellence teams for some of the most recognised airlines, airports and service providers. During that time she witnessed first-hand the importance of leadership development. Desiree currently speaks on the importance of leadership development in an ever-changing aviation environment, with an increased focus on profitability, customer service and safety.

John Batten

Executive Vice President Cargo - EMEAA

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS)

John has over 35 years' experience within senior positions in the aviation sector and is considered an expert by his peers in logistics and airline operations. He was responsible for setting up TNT's top of the range services and the formation of Special Services; and whilst at TNT, he was involved with the set-up of TNT Airways and put TNT on the map as an international cargo airline. After nearly 25 years with TNT John joined Qatar Airways as Senior Vice President Cargo and took the airline in a new direction, focusing on quality and service. In another change in direction, John completed the move to handling with Swissport International, where he was Executive Vice President - Cargo, taking responsibility for all cargo handling operations worldwide. John then set up BJ Aviation Consulting, which is involved in company turnarounds, strategy, business alignment and growth, people development and placement, as well as several long-term contracts in the logistics and airline fields of operation. Most recently John rejoined the handling business with Worldwide Flight Services as Executive Vice President Business Development. John has a wealth of industry knowledge and is considered one on the most networked people in the industry. He holds a degree in Aviation Administration, has a Master's in Business and Administration and a PhD in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.

John Willis

John has been in the civil aviation industry for over 50 years, initially with various airlines including British United Airways, before joining Servisair in 1968. He became Commercial Director, then Managing Director and subsequently Chairman and CEO. He was a founder Vice Chairman of the International Ground Handling Council and Chairman of the International Aviation Handlers Association since its formation, until December 2010. He now assists a number of ground handling related companies in various capacities in different parts of the world.

Max Gosney

Portfolio Director & Conference Chairman

Ground Handling International

Max joined GHI in 2017 after launching and hosting conference and award events in the UK manufacturing industry. A trained journalist, Max strives to deliver innovative content on stage, online or in print that challenges, educates and entertains. As a non-aviation professional - Max is always eager to don the hi-vis jacket and get out on the apron to experience the everyday challenges facing ground handling businesses and their airline customers. Max graduated as a biochemist from Cardiff University in 2001. He became a NUJ/NCTJ accredited journalist in 2003. Max went on to an award-winning 14 year editorial career including stints at magazines in the UK pub, pharmacy and manufacturing sectors. Outside of work - Max is never far from a book, the fridge or the 5-a-side football pitch.

Mohammed Akhlaq

Chief Commercial Officer


Oliver Mathwich

Manager Procurement (Airline) Ground & Cargo Handling


After different roles in Ground Handling / Airport Services on both sides as Ground Handler and Airliner, Oliver is heading up Emirates Global Procurement for Ground and Cargo Handling since August 2016.

Patricia Batista

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Empower Skills International Academy

Patricia started her career in aviation in Portugal, as a cabin crew member for TAP Airlines and Portugalia. With a Psychology background, after six years working for the NHS, in 2012 she embraced a career in Organisational Psychology.  In 2014 she co-founded AviationShake and, as the Head of Training, was responsible for designing and delivering vocational aviation programmes. In 2017 she founded Group Skills4U and launched a Training & Development Institute in Portugal (IFD Portugal) and Empower Skills International Academy in the UK. She is currently working in partnership with the Aviationskills Partnership with the aim of launching an International Aviation Diploma.