Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a – CAPA Live special

22 October, 2021

CTC - Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know during the recent Oct-2021 edition of CAPA Live - a monthly virtual summit, offering insights, information, data and live interviews with airline CEOs and industry executives across a next-gen virtual event platform.

Collinson: Some companies planning to increase travel budgets for the year ahead

Collinson president Asia Pacific Todd Handcock stated "in Asia Pacific in particular, business travel and travel as a whole is still being heavily impacted due to travel restrictions, lower uptake of vaccines, availability of vaccines, long quarantine periods". Mr Handcock added: "While COVID will have an impact, and some business travel budgets will continue to be reduced, we are seeing that some companies are planning to increase the travel budgets for the year ahead because of this pent up demand for face to face business engagement".

BOC Aviation: Business travel will pick up more quickly than people suspect

BOC Aviation MD & CEO Robert Martin stated traffic is currently more heavily geared towards VFR, "who seem to be less concerned about travelling than the business traveller". Mr Martin said: "I think part of the problem with business travel though, is people are still working from home. And so there's less impetus for them to travel on business when they're working from home". He anticipated this would change in Nov-2021 and Dec-2021 and "we're going to start seeing a significant pickup in business travel", adding it will be "more quickly than people suspect".

Kenya Airways CEO: New customer expectations are a 'big game changer'

Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka stated new customer expectations are "the big game changer for us". Mr Kilavuka said customers are "demanding things differently and expecting products in light of the new realities", including additional hygiene measures and a preference for point-to-point services. Mr Kilavuka said: "We need to be very quick to respond to what they're asking for", noting that technology "will help us get the data we need" and "will help us to move faster". Mr Kilavuka predicted: "The traveller of the future, of course, is going to be looking for experiences that will make his life easier, safer, faster".

JetBlue CEO: Heathrow and Gatwick services 'worked out really, really well'

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes stated the launch of the carrier's JFK services to London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport in Aug-2021 and Sep-2021 "worked out really, really well". Mr Hayes said: "I've been really pleased at how well it's doing. There's definitely a lot of curiosity in what we're doing". He added: "I'm already pleased at what point of sale we're getting for future bookings from Nov-2021 to Dec-2021. We've started some work over there to build awareness of JetBlue in the UK".

Lufthansa SVP channel management: NDC will be the dominant industry retailing trend

Lufthansa senior vice president channel management Tamur Goudarzi Pour stated "there's no doubt that NDC will be the dominant trend for retailing in the airline industry". Mr Goudarzi Pour added penetrating the B2B segment is "the next big challenge" for NDC, including the need to agree on minimum standards among various industry players. As an example, he proposed engagement offers for airlines lacking the resources to invest in direct connections with other carriers.

Breeze Airways founder Trey Urbahn: We will continue to acquire used E190s and E195s

Breeze Airways founder Trey Urbahn stated the COVID-19 pandemic is "exactly the right time to start an airline, because the leasing market is fabulous from a buyer's perspective". Mr Urbahn said the company saw an opportunity to fly to unserved markets with smaller aircraft, adding Breeze will continue to acquire used Embraer E190s and E195s.

AirAsia Super App to introduce enhanced version of Unlimited model

AirAsia Super App CEO Amanda Woo stated the company plans to introduce an enhanced version of its Unlimited model "very soon, probably in a month's time". The unlimited subscription model enables customers to pay a subscription fee and redeem products, including flights and food delivery, free of charge.

Allegiant focusing on domestic but international has 'always been of interest': CFO

Allegiant EVP and CFO Greg Anderson stated expanding into international markets has "always been of interest for us", but noted: "There's a lot of low hanging fruit here in the US". Mr Anderson said the airline serves about 600 markets and "our network team feels that there's about a thousand incremental markets in the US that we can serve, and of those markets... roughly 80% of them have no direct nonstop competition". Mr Anderson said Allegiant is focusing on domestic operations, while international remains a medium to long term aspiration. He said Mexico "would make the most sense for us" for international destinations.

Puerto Rico Governor: Air travel recovery has been prioritised as an essential task

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro R Pierluisi stated "we have prioritised air travel recovery as an essential task", due to the island's dependence on air transportation to connect with the rest of the world. Mr Pierluisi said San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport has recovered all its international routes, with Sep-2021 traffic up 14.8% on Sep-2019 levels.

IndiGo CEO: Codesharing is something we are exploring more and more

IndiGo CEO and whole time director Ronojoy Dutta stated codeshare agreements are "something we are exploring more and more". Mr Dutta noted the LCC codeshares with Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, and recently announced a codeshare agreement with American Airlines. He said these agreements enable IndiGo to inexpensively access new markets where its brand is not established, commenting: "Someone sitting in the US is booking a flight and suddenly, automatically, they can book an IndiGo segment".

Ultra Air CEO: International services to be launched by Dec-2022

Ultra Air CEO William Shaw stated the carrier is currently in phase three of the five phase AOC process. Mr Shaw said Ultra Air has already signed letters of intent for its first "five or six" aircraft, adding the airline plans to launch domestic services by the end of 2021, with plans to commence international operations by the end of 2022.

Bonza's 'success' to be its destinations: CEO

Bonza CEO Tim Jordan stated the "key" to Bonza's success will be its destinations. Mr Jordan said "we will be doing things differently in terms of our route network", with more than half of its network currently unserviced, and will stimulate a new low cost market and not "go toe to toe" with existing carriers.

Decentralised Identity Foundation: Decentralised digital ID is a 'once in a generation disruption'

Decentralised Identity Foundation Hospitality and Travel Special Interest Group chair Nick Price described self-sovereign identity and decentralised digital identity technology as a "once in a generation disruption".

Sun Country seeing 'rapid acceleration' in passenger demand: CFO

Sun Country Airlines president and CFO Dave Davis stated "faster improvement in the charter market and a lot of strength in our Amazon business has served us well, both through COVID and then into 2021". Mr Davis reported a "very strong rebound in passenger demand" in 2Q2021 followed by a pull back in late Aug-2021 and Sep-2021, which was "very much delta variant related". Mr Davis said: "In the last three to four weeks, there's been another pretty rapid acceleration for us in our scheduled passenger demand". He added: "As we're heading into the holiday season - Thanksgiving, Christmas - we're definitely seeing strong demand" and noted the company is "really bullish" about demand for 1Q2022.

Solomon Airlines CEO: 'We have a way of keeping things going'

Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers stated "from the airline's perspective, we are okay", adding "We have a way of keeping things going". Mr Gebers said the Solomon Islands Government is "concerned and remains available to ensure that we do remain in business around the South Pacific".

SPTO CEO: Collaboration with development partners underway to address digital issues

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) CEO Christopher Cocker stated digital capabilities "differ drastically" within SPTO member countries. Mr Cocker stated there are counties which are advanced in digital capability, including Fiji, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, however there are "some countries" which continue to manually process arrivals. Mr Cocker said what needs to be guaranteed to travellers is "the health and safety of our destinations", as well as the compliance of digital tools, which have been used overseas. Mr Cocker added collaboration is underway with development partners to address the issues, "particularly" for smaller member countries.

ASPA CEO: 'we know… airlines themselves are running out of money'

Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA) CEO George Faktaufon stated "I think that the islands have learned… to survive", adding "I think they… will survive". Mr Faktaufon said the "biggest question" is how long it will take for tourism to return, noting the challenge for many Pacific carriers is "we know… airlines themselves are running out of money".