Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

14 August, 2020

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

Viva Air CEO: It is not a dichotomy, 'coexistence is key for the world to move forward'
Viva Air CEO Felix Antelo commented on the state of the aviation industry in Colombia and the question of reaching balance between health safety and the economy when handling with the COVID-19 pandemic (Portafolio, 11-Aug-2020). Mr Antelo stated: "We should advance thinking of health and the economy, not one or the other, as both are important and necessary". He added: "For that reason, it harms to try to present both as a dichotomy, when their healthy coexistence is key for the world to move forward". Mr Antelo concluded: "[We] need to understand that in this new reality we need to be able to live with the virus. Personal hygiene is key from an individual perspective and biosecurity protocols and standards are key from the companies' perspective".

Air France-KLM CEO: 'I never imagined a crisis of this magnitude'
Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith commented on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, stating: "I've been in this industry for 30 years, I've been through a lot of crises, but I never imagined a crisis of this magnitude" (franceinfo, 07-Aug-2020). He said the company is unsure of when business will rebound, concluding: "I think it will take at least three years to get back to 2019 levels".

LATAM Brasil CEO: 'Cost reduction, which was important became urgent, a condition of sustainability'
LATAM Airlines Brasil CEO Jerome Cadier, via Panrotas' official YouTube channel, addressed (07-Aug-2020) LATAM Airlines Brasil's personnel, to explain the reasoning behind the carrier's offer to permanently reduce wages, compared to competitors which offered a temporary reduction. Mr Cadier stated: "I'm going to use Avianca Brazil's example. Did Avianca have a bad product here in Brazil? No, it did not. It had a good product". Mr Cadier developed: "On the other hand, Avianca spent more than it earned, and did that for a long period". He concluded: "That led to the end, it led the company to bankruptcy". He proceeded: "This is valid for us too. When we entered this crisis, LATAM had costs greater than its competitors… The crisis came and eliminated 80% of our passengers, fares dropped between 30% and 40%". Mr Carier added: "Cost reduction, which was important, became urgent, it became a condition of sustainability for the company… What we proposed [in the collective wage agreement] was to equal the costs of our competitors".

Delta Air Lines will work to become 'more just, equal and anti-racist company': CEO
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported the airline considered its record of diversity, and found people of colour represent 43% of its existing employees, 35% of leaders and 18% of its top 100 officers. Black colleagues represent 21% of Delta's employee base, 16% of leaders and 7% of its top 100 officers. Mr Bastian said these numbers do not present a "picture of equity" and are not "reflective of the world we serve". Hence, the company will take a number of steps to "become a more just, equal and anti-racist company".

JetSMART: There will be a shift in travellers' profile, long haul travellers will travel domestic
JetSMART (Chile) CEO Estuardo Ortiz commented on the expected passenger demand post-coronavirus, stating: "There will be a shift in demand… A hypothesis we have with Frontier and Wizz Air is that people who travelled very far, for instance to the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe or Australia, will continue to travel but domestic" (Aero-Naves, 29-Jul-2020).

Virgin Australia CEO: New Zealand travel bubble reliant on hot spots 'getting under control'
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said a New Zealand travel bubble is not "out of the question" however is reliant on Australia's hot spots "getting under control" (Sky News, 06-Aug-2020). Mr Scurrah believes a "really selective city by city decision" may be experienced, and "we could see Queensland" opening a trans Tasman bubble "far sooner than other parts of the country".

ALTA: Brazil's domestic market shows 'a gradual restart of the commercial aviation'
ALTA CEO Jose Botelho commented on Brazil's traffic in Jun-2020, stating: "Brazil's domestic market, which had dropped over 90% year-on-year in Apr-2020 and May-2020, decreased 87% in Jun-2020, demonstrating a gradual restart of the commercial aviation industry". Mr Botelho added: "It is very likely that in Jul-2020 and Aug-2020 there will continue to be progressive improvements following the reopening of other markets".

Irish Aviation Authority CEO: 'The scale of the crisis is immense'
Irish Aviation Authority CEO Peter Kearney said: "While there are some green shoots of recovery visible in July, the industry remains in a precarious situation" with recovery needing to be "sustained and long term" (Irish Examiner, 11-Aug-2020). Mr Kearney said: "The scale of the crisis is immense, but I am confident that the Irish aviation sector has the flexibility and resilience to navigate the turbulence in the months and years ahead".

Canberra Airport CEO: Could be 'as late as Easter when domestic aviation is able to restart'
Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said: "We've gone backwards" as "Domestic aviation is shutdown with two to three per cent activity" (Canberra Times, 10-Aug-2020). Mr Byron said due to domestic border restrictions "it looks like it could be until Christmas or maybe even as late as Easter when domestic aviation is able to restart unless we have a proper national plan".

Kerry Airport CEO: 'There will be many months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully'
Kerry Airport CEO John Mulhern said: "Undoubtedly there will be many months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully" (Irish Examiner, 10-Aug-2020). Mr Mulhern added: "When the time is right and it is safe to do so, the airport will regroup and continue its mission in supporting Kerry and this region", noting the airport has not introduced redundancies and all jobs have been retained.