Soundbytes: travel and aviation industry insights – week ending 24-Nov-2023

24 November, 2023

CTC – Corporate Travel Community each week brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.

Dubai International Airport to 'eliminate check-ins altogether': Dubai Airports CEO

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths reported the company aims to "eliminate check-ins altogether" at Dubai International Airport by using upgraded technologies. Mr Griffiths stated Dubai Airports is testing technology to integrate its check-in and immigration processes, with hopes to roll out the technology "shortly" and begin trials by 2024.

A4E MD: Europe and US leading the way to a net zero aviation industry

Airlines for Europe (A4E) MD Laurent Donceel stated "between 2025 and 2030 European airlines will use up to nine million tonnes of SAF, saving around 30 million tonnes of CO2", adding: "This is like taking 1.1 million cars off the road each year". Mr Donceel said: "Europe and the US are accelerating down the runway towards a more sustainable future so it's critically important that the rest of the world keeps up and delivers a truly net zero aviation industry".

SAS CEO: Passenger tax will pull Danish aviation in the wrong direction

SAS CEO Anko van der Werff, commenting on the Danish Government's announcement of a new passenger tax, stated it "will be the highest in Scandinavia, and it will not benefit SAS". Mr van der Werff said: "We are looking into an overwhelming increase in costs, and this will pull in the wrong direction if we want to further develop Danish aviation". He stated: "We all agree that we want to make a green transition, but we need financing if it is to be possible to do it", adding that "if the amount from the tax was to be used exclusively to drive that development, we would be in favour of it". As previously reported by CAPA, the passenger tax will also finance an increase in the pension scheme, which will be increased by DKK4800 (EUR643.55) from 01-Jan-2025.

Tourism New Zealand attracting 'high quality' visitors: CEO

Tourism New Zealand CEO René de Monchy stated "Tourism is critical to New Zealand's economy, particularly if it can provide a boost during off peak seasons". Mr de Monchy said: "We are focused on attracting high quality visitors, this includes off peak arrivals to ensure visitation is spread out across the year". He added: "We are also seeing international visitors spend around 18% more than pre-COVID, with length of stay on par with 2019 and strong off-peak arrivals. This shows our strategy to attract value over volume is working". 

Air Peace CEO rejects national carrier concept for Nigeria

Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema said Nigeria does not require a national carrier. Mr Onyema described the concept of a national carrier as "a moribund idea that has been jettisoned several decades ago by countries". The ‘Nigeria Air’ national airline project was temporarily suspended in Sep-2023.

Aer Lingus chief corporate affairs officer: Ireland could become a net exporter of SAF

Aer Lingus chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty said Ireland has "a unique opportunity" from an "onshore and offshore wind perspective" to establish a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry and become a net exporter of SAF. Mr Moriarty added: "If you look at the cold, hard facts of what's required for aviation, sustainable aviation fuel is really where it's at. And establishing a supply and a scalable and competitive production of sustainable aviation fuel is critical".

Loganair CEO calls for UK Government to reform pilot training costs

Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles called on the UK Government to remove the 20% VAT on pilot training and to enable trainees to access student loans. Mr Hinkles stated: "If we cannot get the pilots to operate our aircraft, it will mean services being reduced in three to five years unless this issue is tackled now. We are concerned that the same scenario as in the US and Australia could develop in the UK unless we start to do something by increasing the number of people who are able to pursue flying as a career option by making it affordable and providing access to funding".

AirAsia X ensuring all aircraft return to service within stipulated timeline: CEO

AirAsia X (AAX) CEO Benyamin Ismail stated the company remains committed to "driving the momentum for full recovery, particularly in fleet activation". Mr Ismail said AAX has been working with business partners to ensure all aircraft can be returned to service within the stipulated timeline. Three additional aircraft were activated in 3Q2023 to support the company's network growth requirements.

Swedavia: Aviation tax represents a competitive disadvantage for Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Swedavia president and CEO Jonas Abrahamsson said a review of the Swedish aviation tax represents "the highest priority", adding the tax is a major competitive disadvantage for Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Mr Abrahamsson stated: "Other instruments can replace our flight tax, especially since there are already instruments at EU level. There is a system for mandatory reduction where the use of renewable fuel is gradually increased and possible common taxation at European level should be considered. It would be better because it does not distort competition".

Ibom Air COO: Poor airport infrastructure impacting airline productivity

Ibom Air chief operating officer (COO) George Uriesi said poor airport infrastructure has resulted in a restriction in operations and underutilisation of fleets by Nigerian carriers. Mr Uriesi stated there are "too many impediments in the operating environment that limit airline productivity", adding: "These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others".

eVTOL aircraft could operate at London Biggin Hill Airport 'within the next three years': CEO

London Biggin Hill Airport CEO David Winstanley confirmed that eVTOL aircraft could be operating from the airport "within the next three years, easily". The airport is also seeking to construct an up to 20MW solar farm on 100 acres of adjacent land.