Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

19 February, 2021

CTC – Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.

Istanbul Airport holds 'major advantages' over Persian Gulf hubs: CEO
IGA Istanbul Airport CEO Kadri Samsunlu said Istanbul Airport "does not compete with European airports" but rather with Persian Gulf hubs. He said the airport has "major advantages" such as Turkey's "strong home market" for domestic holiday travel and proximity to European cities. Mr Samsunlu also noted that flag carrier Turkish Airlines has a "better fleet mix" of short and long haul aircraft, which he said is especially important in the current crisis.

IATA CEO: Little hope of an imminent return to normal
IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac stated governments are "almost universally" focused on containing the spread of the coronavirus across borders and there is "little hope of an imminent return to normal". Mr de Juniac said the airline industry wants to be prepared to reconnect the world "as soon as governments believe it is safe to do so".

WestJet CEO 'deeply disappointed' by approval of Air Canada/Air Transat acquisition
WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims stated (12-Feb-2021) he is "deeply disappointed" by a decision by Canada's Government to approve Air Canada's proposed acquisition of Air Transat. Mr Sims said the acquisition could lead to higher prices and service reductions. Following the acquisition, Air Canada would hold a combined 94% share of Canadian carrier capacity to Europe and around a share of around 70% on routes from Toronto to London, Paris and Rome.

DAE optimistic of 'snapback' in air travel demand from summer 2021
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) CEO Firoz Tarapore stated the company remains "optimistic about a snapback in air travel demand starting in summer 2021 resulting from ramped up deployment of existing vaccines, development of new vaccines and the favorable impact of measures currently in place in impacted areas to contain the spread". In the longer term, DAE remains "very bullish that air traffic demand will revert to its historic trajectory of growing at twice the rate of GDP growth", said Mr Tarapore.

Delta CEO: Requiring negative COVID-19 tests for domestic travel would be a 'logistical nightmare'
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian stated a proposal to require negative COVID-19 test results for domestic travel is a "horrible idea" and would be a "logistical nightmare". Mr Bastian said: "It will not keep domestic flyers safer", adding there are "very few" documented cases of air travel related COVID-19 infections globally and domestically. He added the requirement, if implemented, would "set us back another year in the recovery".

Lessons and 'changes we made post quakes are at the core of this': Christchurch Airport CEO
Christchurch International Airport Limited CEO Malcolm Johns stated the airport's net profit after tax has been impacted on a short term basis due to the closure of borders, and "it is a credible result to pivot to a domestic only model and get our business to break even while also keeping our capital and strategic projects progressing". Mr Johns added: "The lessons we learnt and the hard work and changes we made post quakes are at the core of this. Among the lessons learned were revenue diversification, operating cost flexibility and building leadership deep into our team".

ACI Europe: Destination 2050 decarbonisation roadmap 'unprecedented'
ACI Europe DG Olivier Jankovec said the actions to commit to decarbonisation set out in the Destination 2050 roadmap are "unprecedented" in scope. He said that the EU now has to deliver the policy and regulatory framework that will enable the sector to deliver net zero European aviation by 2050. "We therefore urge institutional stakeholders to respond to our call and now join the EU pact for sustainable aviation we tabled last Nov-2020", Mr Jankovec continued.

Air Canada 'encouraged' by financial assistance discussions with government
Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu reported the company posted a 73% year-on-year traffic decline and an operating loss of CAD3.8 billion (USD2.9 billion) in 2020 due to the "catastrophic impact" of COVID-19 and government-imposed travel restrictions. Mr Rovinescu said despite the losses, the company has an "optimistic" long term outlook due to success in raising "significant liquidity" throughout 2020. Mr Rovinescu stated: "I am also very encouraged by the constructive nature of discussions that we have had with the Government of Canada on sector-specific financial support over the last several weeks". He added: "While there is no assurance at this stage that we will arrive at a definitive agreement on sector support, I am more optimistic on this front for the first time".

Cabo Verde Airlines will require support of suppliers and financiers: CEO
Cabo Verde Airlines CEO Erlendur Svavarsson stated relaunching the airline's operations will require the full support of suppliers and financiers, in addition to the Cabo Verde Government. Mr Svavarsson said the government has lost a significant amount of tourism revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will impact its ability to support the airline.

Virtuoso: 2021 travel 'won't be a universal tale of everything going up at once'
Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch said the company's expectations of the "general direction" for travel "is that it's a rough first quarter, with pockets opening up along regional corridors in the second quarter, and then a steady opening into the summer and beyond". Mr Upchurch warned that 2021 "won't be a universal tale of everything going up at once", with domestic, nature-driven travel a major factor.

Sarajevo Airport CEO: Wizz Air considering basing second aircraft when conditions improve
Sarajevo Butmir International Airport CEO Alan Bajić said Wizz Air originally planned to base two aircraft at the airport instead of the current one planned for spring 2021. He said Wizz Air will likely go ahead with adding a second and "maybe even a third aircraft" when market conditions normalise in the context of COVID-19.

Tunisair CEO: No plans to privatise airline or cut employees in restructuring
Tunisair CEO Olfa Hamdi said there are no plans to privatise or sell the airline as part of ongoing restructuring and rescue strategy development. Ms Hamdi also said no staff reductions are planned. Tunisair’s international committee was established in Jan-2021 to implement a strategic action plan for the airline.