Soundbytes: your weekly travel and aviation industry insights

21 July, 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.

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport CEO: China recovery ‘phenomenal result’

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport reported it handled 3.1 million passengers in Jun-2023, an increase of 18.9% year-on-year and a decline of 10.1% compared to Jun-2019 pre-pandemic traffic levels. For the third consecutive month, visitors from China ranked third on the list of top 10 nationalities travelling through the airport, with Australia, New Zealand, the US and India making up the remainder of the top five. Airport CEO Geoff Culbert stated: "To see the Chinese visitor market 69% recovered within six months of the border reopening is a phenomenal result. As demand grows, the seven Chinese carriers operating out of Sydney are continuing to add capacity, with 51 return services now flying weekly".

IATA: ATC staff shortages in North America challenge the continuity of operations

IATA director general Willie Walsh stated the air traffic control (ATC) staff shortages in North America challenge "the continuity of operations" at the air traffic control facilities. Mr Walsh said 77% of the facilities are staffed below the 85% threshold in the US, with 54% at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control and 66% at Miami Tower. He added: "Poor ATC performance comes on top of the FAA and DoT requiring airlines to invest over USD630 million to upgrade or replace fully certified onboard avionics equipment on thousands of aircraft to mitigate the risks of 5G rollout near airports". Mr Walsh also said that "hundreds of flights" had to be cancelled in Canada because of the ATC shortages.

Malaysia Airlines Group prioritising 'hyper-personalisation': CEO

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Luqman Mohd Azmi stated: "We prioritise hyper-personalisation, which involves segmenting customers, developing tailored products, crafting marketing messages for relevant channels and utilising suitable communication tools and platforms". Mr Luqman added: "This enables us to efficaciously engage with our customers at the right time and in the right place".

Regional Express looking to grow in 'measured way': deputy chairman

Regional Express (Rex) deputy chairman John Sharp stated: "We believe it's best to grow in a measured way, ensuring capacity meets demand". Mr Sharp added: "We invite expression of interest from other cities who want a share of Rex's trademark reliability and country hospitality".

American Airlines performing at 'historically strong levels': CEO

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom stated 2Q2023 was "fantastic" for the carrier, with continued "strong demand for our product". Mr Isom said: "Our operation is performing at historically strong levels, and we have worked to refresh our fleet and build a comprehensive global network, all of which helped to produce record revenues". He added: "We will build on this momentum the rest of the year and continue to prioritise reliability, profitability, accountability and strengthening our balance sheet".

Swedavia CEO predicts punctuality challenges at Stockholm and Gothernburg airports in summer 2023

Swedavia president and CEO Jonas Abrahamsson stated European air travel is facing "persistent challenges" including strikes, capacity challenges for airlines and ground handling companies and crowding in European airspace. Mr Abrahamsson said the challenges will "probably have a negative effect on punctuality" at Stockholm Arlanda Airport and Gothenburg Landvetter Airport during summer 2023.