Here’s just some of his observations from the two-day event that took place in Brisbane, Australia in Sep-2023.
'Airfares will come back to much better value next year'
"As capacity comes on board airfares will start coming down, but bear in mind there is inflation". Mr Turner said: "Airfares will come back to much better value next year", noting this will mainly apply to international travel as domestic "is a bit harder". He said more capacity in the middle of 2024 will see a "real decrease" in airfares, but it wouldn't be until 2024 or 2025 before a return to "reasonably normal competitiveness".
'We've won a lot of business in corporate'
"We just need cheaper airfares for better value for our customers, people will travel more and it will even out the bumps". Mr Turner said: "Over the last three and a half years our model has changed, we've won a lot of business in corporate and in leisure we shut a lot of shops". He noted: "We want a mix of volume and profit".
Flight Centre coming out of COVID-19 'reasonably well now'
On the company's strategy at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mar-2020. Mr Turner said: "We had 21,000 people and we immediately set up a war room and didn't leave it for three or four months to get the company to survive". He added: "Letting a lot of people go was really tough". Mr Turner continued: "We were in survival mode for months, we had to raise a lot of money and dilute shareholders dramatically". He noted: "We still have a lot of debt but we're coming out of it reasonably well now".
Allowing Qatar Airways flights would be in Australia's national interest
A senate inquiry into a decision by federal government to deny Qatar Airways additional flights into Australia is a "positive thing," according to Mr Turner. He said: "The reality is we haven't had any decent answers from government, there's no doubt the decision will lead to higher airfares, nobody denies that, but for government to say that it is in the national interest, I just can't see it". Mr Turner questioned: "What national interest are we talking about?", noting: "It would definitely be in the national interest to allow those flights".
Qatar Airways decision a 'real blow' for Virgin Australia
On the decision by federal government to deny Qatar Airways additional flights into Australia. Mr Turner said: "Virgin Australia has a codeshare with Qatar Airways, and they desperately need more capacity particular from Qatar, so if anybody will lose out on the decision it will be Virgin". Mr Turner added: "It's a real blow for them".
'We need to do everything we can to get more capacity into Australia'
"Australia is an expensive destination and we need all the help we can get". Mr Turner said high airfares "negatively affects" local tourism operators, adding: "We need to do everything we can to get more capacity into Australia".
Australia needs more capacity from Europe, Indian Subcontinent and UK
"Australia desperately needs more capacity, particularly from Europe, Indian Subcontinent and the UK, noting: "That is one of the areas Qatar Airways could have helped a lot with".
'Chinese carriers will help people who are on a strict budget'
Additional flights into Australia operated by China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will "make a difference, particularly for people wanting relatively low fares to North America and Europe". Mr Turner added: "Chinese carriers will help people who are on a strict budget and are prepared to transit through China".