What We’re Made Of: Kasper Hounsgaard, Copenhagen Optimization


Kasper Hounsgaard, Copenhagen Optimization, writing from a comfy armchair in his living room.

What We’re Made Of is a Q&A series that looks at how companies in the aviation industry are tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to adapt to changes in where, when and how we work, but we are resilient. If you would like to share your experience, e-mail editor@apex.aero.

Kasper Hounsgaard
Managing Partner, Copenhagen Optimization
Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Day 40 of working from home
Date of writing: April 21, 2020

Where are you writing from?
My home. I have no work station but two comfy chairs that I interchange between. I try to take walks during calls (if it is not too windy).

What’s your new office attire or go-to comforts at home during this time?
T-shirt and shorts – I love it!

“The crisis underlines the need for further sharing of data and information to enable a collaborative approach between airlines, airports and other stakeholders.”

Have you or anyone you know been directly affected by COVID-19?
No, luckily not.

What news outlets are you following?
CNN and BBC for international news – and several Danish ones.

How are you passing time?
It’s not been a problem at all with two kids while also getting a new kitchen and doing a general deep clean of our house. I did find time to watch Tiger King – fairly scary, to say the least.

What were your goals/projections for 2020?
Our software solution, Better Airport, is to offer complete coverage of the airport operation – we are still on track to achieve this important milestone.

Can you share some specific challenges your business has faced as a result of the outbreak? How did you overcome them, and how can the industry learn from your experiences?
As a young, paperless company, it was almost pain-free to move to remote working. We keep up with productivity through daily check-ins and by continuing to share what we are working on. However, getting a solid BCDR [business continuity and disaster recovery] plan in place was definitely worth it. I am extremely proud of our team and how we were able to execute our business continuity plan within 12 hours of Denmark locking down.

What’s one thing you would do to better prepare your business to weather a similar storm in the future?
Know where to find the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow 😊.

How can we, as an industry, work together and rebound from this unprecedented crisis?
I think the crisis underlines the need for further sharing of data and information to enable a collaborative approach between airlines, airports and other stakeholders. Information is still guarded between stakeholders, which makes it a lot harder to plan in times of uncertainty. The need for airports to plan for social distancing has also spurred new, innovative ideas in our development of Better Airport.

How do you feel about your government’s response to the crisis?
I was proud of our prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, when she shut down Denmark (the first country in Europe to do so besides Italy). While it came as a big shock and will be a day to remember for many years to come, this has proved to be a good strategy as schools opened back up on April 15, and the pandemic is (seemingly) under control.

Where do you see your company or the industry in six months from now? One year?
I see us continuing our journey to empower airports to plan and operate better than today through the use of Better Airport. The ability to make accurate forecasts will be even more critical, given the large volatility in traffic expected over the next 6-12 months. We want to make sure that we help our airports overcome the challenges and come out stronger once we are past COVID-19.

What’s one thing that will never be the same again for commercial aviation?
Taking flying for granted. I never thought something like this could happen, but I will enjoy my time in the air even more after being grounded for this long.

Read more about the coronavirus impact on the air travel industry, including APEX’s position on the matter, and subscribe to the APEX Daily Experience newsletter to stay up to date.