Soundbytes: your weekly travel and aviation industry insights

30 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.     

AAPA director general: Outlook for airlines remains positive

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director general Subhas Menon stated "Trade tensions are likely to weigh down on cargo markets for some time to come whereas air travel demand is expected to demonstrate resilience in spite of the headwinds in the external environment". Mr Menon said: "Overall, the outlook for the airlines remains positive, with the recent moderation in oil prices providing some relief to operating expenditure even though the industry will continue to face inflationary cost pressures". He added: "Against this background, the region's airlines are focusing their attention on disciplined cost management throughout the business while maintaining excellent safety and customer service standards".

ACI EUROPE director general urges airports to evolve into green energy providers

ACI EUROPE director general Olivier Jankovec stated European airports need to evolve into 'ENERports', acting as energy hubs and providers of green energy. Mr Jankovec said: "The seismic shift in the economy as the decarbonisation imperative gathers pace comes with the opportunity to redefine and enlarge the societal role and relevance of airports... we need to take this to the next level with the generation and supply of green energy for aviation and our surrounding communities alike".

SWISS CEO expecting all travel segments to return to 100% in the long term

SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx stated it is "clear we are still below 2019 levels" in the business travel segment, which is currently at around 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Mr Vranckx noted the carrier was positively surprised that leisure travel attracted more customers than anticipated, and that they spend more for services such as additional onboard privacy, and upgrades from economy to premium economy, or from premium economy to business class. Mr Vranckx said: "In the long term everything will return to 100%, but it will take time".

Tourism New Zealand aiming to attract 'high quality international visitors'

Tourism New Zealand CEO René de Monchy stated "Global competition for visitors is fierce and New Zealand needs to work hard to showcase our unique offering to attract high quality international visitors". Tourism New Zealand said Chinese visitors support this by visiting in the off-peak, visiting a range of regions and undertaking a range of activity including cultural experiences.

Ryanair CEO: Government investment into SAS would be 'biggest waste of money'

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson stated further capital injections by Denmark's Government into SAS would be "the biggest waste of money", calling upon Denmark to change its infrastructure to attract economically efficient airlines. Mr Wilson said airlines should be "fully exposed to the free market and people should be allowed to travel with the most efficient companies", adding national governments "cannot just choose their own favourite among airlines and let them compete with the rest of us".

United Airlines CEO: US FAA 'failed us' amid severe thunderstorms, staffing issues

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated US FAA "frankly failed us" on 23/24/25-Jun-2023 when the carrier was forced to reduce its schedule at New York Newark Liberty International Airport amid severe thunderstorms. Mr Kirby reported FAA reduced departure and arrival rates by 65% and 40%, respectively, impacting over 150,000 United customers. He added the disruptions were further compounded by air traffic control (ATC) staffing shortages on 24-Jun-2023. In response, FAA stated it will "always collaborate with anyone seriously willing to join us to solve a problem".

WestJet Group CEO: Integration of Sunwing and Swoop will not result in higher airfares

WestJet Group CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech reported the company's planned integration of Sunwing Airlines and Swoop operations into the main WestJet business will not result in higher airfares. Mr von Hoensbroech stated the expanded scale will allow WestJet to operate "more efficiently [and] reliably" and adjust its schedule more easily with its newly expanded fleet of over 150 Boeing 737 aircraft.