Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

21 February, 2020

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.

Sydney Airport CEO: 2019 characterised by toughest trading conditions since the financial crisis

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport CEO Geoff Culbert reported (20-Feb-2020) the airport is "pleased with the result we've been able to deliver for 2019 in a year that was characterised by some of the toughest trading conditions we've seen since the financial crisis". [more - original PR]

KLM to introduce premium economy on its long haul fleet: CEO

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines president and CEO Pieter Elbers said the carrier will introduce premium economy products on its long haul fleet, in order to bring its product range in line with Air France and well as transatlantic partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic (, 20-Feb-2020). Mr Elbers noted this would take at least 12 months to be implemented.

US Travel Association: International inbound travel marks slight increase in Dec-2019

US Travel Association reported (13-Feb-2020) travel to and within the US increased 2.4% year-on-year in Dec-2019. Highlights are as follows:

  • Domestic market: Travel demand grew 2.6%, driven by leisure travel growth of 2.8% and business travel growth of 2.0%. The surge in business travel is primarily due to Hanukkah occurring on the same week as Christmas. Domestic travel growth is expected to grow 1.4% year-on-year until Jun-2020;
  • International market: International inbound travel increased 0.8%, but is expected to decrease by 0.2% until Jun-2020, fuelled by the continued strength of the US dollar and trade tensions.

US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow stated: "International visitor spending is vital to lowering the trade deficit, and a prolonged slide in that segment's growth could have serious implications for the overall health of the American economy". [more - original PR]

Air Seychelles considering A321XLR: CEO

Air Seychelles CEO Remco Althuis said the airline is potentially interested in acquiring the A321XLR, but added: "First we have to deliver on our turnaround plan" (Airline Ratings, 19-Feb-2020). Mr Althuis commented: "The XLR would be a fabulous tool to scale up. We could do destinations in a 10 hour circle around the Seychelles". He said potential destinations could include Cape Town and Perth.

Qantas Group CEO: 'There are obviously some challenges facing us'

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce reported (20-Feb-2020) "There are obviously some challenges facing us...but we're confident that we can manage that impact, as we have in the past". Mr Joyce stated: "It's important to keep in mind that mainland China represents about two per cent of our total international network. But we're seeing flow-on demand weakness on some other Asian routes". Mr Joyce reported the Qantas group has "a lot of flexibility in how we respond" and can extend or add capacity back in the routes. [more - original PR]

Air Canada expects capacity and costs to grow in 2020

Air Canada released (18-Feb-2020) the following guidance for 1Q2020 and FY2020:

  • 1Q2020:
    • EBITDA: Down approximately CAD200 million (USD151 million) year-on-year;
  • FY2020:
    • Capacity: +1% to +2%;
    • EBITDA margin: Approximately 19%;
    • Aircraft maintenance expense: Up approximately CAD150 million (USD113 million), impacted by additional A330 aircraft in the operating fleet and a higher volume of engine maintenance activity;
    • Employee benefits expense: Up approximately CAD105 million (USD79 million), impacted by lower discount rates from pension and post employment benefits;
    • Depreciation and amortisation expense: Up approximately CAD35 million (USD26 million), due to aircraft acquisitions.

Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu said there is "uncertainty" in 2020 because of the 737 MAX grounding, "emerging economic and geopolitical risks", and "route suspensions resulting from the COVID-19 virus". However, he noted the carrier is equipped to "respond effectively to any challenges that come our way". [more - original PR]

airBaltic to enhance business stability and environmental measures in 2020

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss stated (18-Feb-2020) the carrier will further improve business stability and enhance sustainability measures in 2020. Mr Gauss said: "We fly a growing number of Airbus A220-300, the greenest commercial aircraft available, but we are not stopping there. We have introduced various other initiatives to decrease our CO2 emissions, with more to come". [more - original PR]