Soundbytes: your weekly travel and aviation industry insights

23 June, 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.   

Lufthansa CEO: Flight shaming after Covid is basically gone

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr stated "flight shaming after Covid is basically gone", as "people appreciate being mobile". Mr Spohr added: "After Covid took away our mobility for two years, we all appreciate mobility so much that we don't flight-shame anymore, which was a big thing at least in Europe before Covid".

Riyadh Air CEO: Sustainability to 'differentiate winners and losers' in aviation industry

Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas stated airlines that do not take sustainability seriously "will probably fail". Mr Douglas added sustainability will "differentiate the winners and the losers" in the commercial aviation industry.

Air France CEO: There's a real issue around the price of SAF

Air France CEO Anne Rigail stated "there's a real issue around the price of SAF". Ms Rigail added "we can't just think in terms of France and Europe", and highlighted "a tonne of SAF costs EUR5000 in France, compared with EUR2000 in the US".

Air Lease Corporation executive chairman: Net zero by 2050 is 'a very tough goal'

Air Lease Corporation executive chairman Steven Udvar-Házy commented on the aviation industry's goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, stating: "I think it's a very tough goal to achieve, but I think the industry will do everything it can to get as close to it as possible". Mr Udvar-Házy added: "I would not be surprised if it's delayed between five and 10 years".

ACI World: air travel demand will remain strong into the northern hemisphere summer season

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira stated: "Increasing passenger volumes, rising consumer confidence in most OECD countries, combined with declining jet fuel prices, suggests air travel demand will remain strong into the northern hemisphere summer season. The opening of Chinese aviation markets represents especially positive progress to global activity and air travel demand". However, Mr de Oliveira added: "GDP growth forecasts have moderated and energy and food prices, although decreased from their peak levels, remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. Inflation will also be an issue in the near term, straining the financial viability of airports as they face increased operational costs".

Nok Air CEO: ‘Travelling doesn't stop at buying flight tickets’

Nok Air CEO Wutthiphum Jurangkool stated: "Travelling doesn't stop at buying flight tickets", adding: "We want to cooperate with other partners to provide accommodation, transportation, and tourist activities". Mr Jurangkool said: "If you only want a plane ticket, we have that available for you. But if you want the full experience that includes the baggage and the food, we also provide that".

DAT CEO: Domestic services without Govt support hanging on by a very thin thread

DAT CEO Jesper Rungholm stated domestic flights which are not government supported are "hanging on by a very thin thread" globally. Mr Rungholm said the carrier will have to cut scheduled services in Denmark at some point, as they are currently "living on borrowed time without support for social discounts". He added: "Domestic flights in Denmark are collective transport, but we are not treated as such", and highlighted "all other public transport has support in one form or another".

Alaska Airlines CEO: Ongoing pilot shortage 'getting worse, not better', regional services at risk

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci stated the ongoing pilot shortage in the US is "getting worse, not better". Mr Minicucci reported the carrier does not plan to end service to smaller communities in the short term future, however Alaska's regional air services may be impacted going into 2024 and 2025 due to a captain shortage impacting regional airlines including wholly-owned subsidiary Horizon Air. Mr Minicucci said ensuring the supply of new pilots is a "critical" issue in the upcoming US FAA reauthorisation.

Capital A CEO optimistic of exiting PN17 status

Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes stated the company is optimistic of exiting Practice Note 17 (PN17) status. Mr Fernandes said: "It is a huge exercise which is almost as big as restarting the airline company. I am very confident and let's leave it at that". He added Jun-2023 and Jul-2023 "are going to be crucial months for us so let's wait and see".

Neste VP: 'No time to look for the perfect solution' in reducing aviation emissions

Neste VP Jonathan Wood commented on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry, stating: "Policy is absolutely critical to create momentum". Mr Wood added: "We need to get on with this. We have no time to look for the perfect solution".

'Pandemic recovery' at Chicago Midway International Airport 'complete': Mayor

Chicago Department of Aviation reported Chicago Midway International Airport handled an average of 1.6 million passengers per month during the first four months of 2023, an increase of 3% compared to the same pre-pandemic period in 2019. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson stated: "The pandemic recovery at Midway International Airport is complete, and we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome locals, tourists, and business travellers to Chicago's original hometown airport this summer".