Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

7 May, 2021

At a time of crisis, it is important that we share our insights and experience, helping each other to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. 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.

WTTC: Travel & tourism sector needs clear rules and agreements to safely restore travel
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) president & CEO Gloria Guevara, speaking at the G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting, said (05-May-2021) the sector needs "clear rules and agreements amongst countries to safely restore international mobility", and this will "in turn enable the return of safe international travel and bring back millions of jobs", as well as protecting a sector "which will be instrumental in powering the global economic recovery".

Airbus CEO: Lack of coordination in Europe has worsened travel situation
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said a lack of coordination on border control and other measures in Europe is "leading to a travel situation that is far worse in Europe than in other comparable markets". Mr Faury noted that large domestic air travel such as China and the US are experiencing a recovery in travel, but short haul international operations in Europe are being hampered by the conflicting set of rules on quarantines, lockdowns, COVID-19 testing and other restrictions.

easyJet 'absolutely committed to a safe restart': CEO
easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said the carrier is "absolutely committed to a safe restart and are confident this can happen while protecting both the health system and the success of the vaccine programme". Mr Lundgren called on UK's Government to provide restrictions for countries of its new traffic light system, to provide individuals "much-needed clarity on where they can travel".

IATA: Governments need to accept digital COVID-19 test/vaccination certificates and follow standards
IATA CEO Willie Walsh said that for as long as coronavirus health measures are required, governments "need to accept digital COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates and to follow global standards for issuing their own vaccination certificates and test results". Mr Walsh said the industry is "already seeing intolerable waits at some airports, as airlines, passengers and border control authorities are having to rely on paper processes at a time when airports are no longer designed to accommodate them".

British Airways CEO hopes for increased operations to Caribbean from 17-May-2021
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said the carrier hopes to increase its network from London to the Caribbean after 17-May-2021. Mr Doyle said he considered it "likely" the Caribbean would be included on the UK Government's travel green list. He expects to increase the frequency of London-Kingston service to twice weekly after 17-May-2021.

Avolon CEO: China and US domestic markets to recover to pre-pandemic levels, recovery accelerating
Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery reported that although recovery "continues to be uneven", the "worst effects of the pandemic on aviation are behind us". Mr Slattery said it is "clear that the recovery of the sector is firmly underway across the globe" and Avolon is "seeing definitive signs that demand is increasing in the US and Chinese domestic markets – the two largest domestic markets in the world – with air traffic numbers in those markets projected to reach pre-pandemic levels over the coming months". Domestic air travel demand and rollout of vaccine programmes is expected to continue to fuel the recovery. Mr Slattery commented: "As we move into the second half of this year, we expect a material uptick in air travel in domestic markets, followed by intra-regional recovery, with the sector to experience a more substantial global recovery from 2022 onwards".

Allegiant Travel Company CEO: Booking trends have been 'particularly impressive'
Allegiant Travel Company chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher reported 1Q2021 scheduled capacity was up 3.1% compared to 2019, adding: "We were the first domestic carrier to restore capacity to pre-pandemic levels". Mr Gallagher said booking trends have been "particularly impressive" with average daily bookings for Mar-2021 and Apr-2021 exceeding the same time period in 2019. He stated the booking curve is "normalising and more closely resembling 2019", adding: "We expect capacity in the coming months will be equal to or greater than our 2019 levels.

ATR: Travel will recover 'in earnest' in 2021
ATR SVP of commercial Fabrice Vautier said the manufacturer expects the recovery of air travel will begin "in earnest" in 2021, and that will drive a number of opportunities in the market for regional commercial aircraft. The COVID-19 pandemic may change some passenger and travel profiles, creating greater demand for direct services from smaller airports – resulting in greater demand for smaller aircraft.

JetSMART network includes more routes than pre COVID-19 network
JetSMART CEO Estuardo Ortiz reported the LCC is operating on 62 routes at present, more than it operated prior to the outbreak of coronavirus. Mr Ortiz noted "about 20% of our passengers weren't flying on any carrier before we entered the market" in 2017, as "there is a large middle class in Chile that couldn't afford airline pricing as it was" prior to JetSMART's launch. He said in South America there are approximately "160 million people in the middle class and they travel very little because they are very price sensitive", meaning "there is a lot of space for us to grow" as the LCC expands into additional South American markets, with the same appeal to first time flyers it had in Chile. Mr Ortiz the main obstacle JetSMART faces in expanding its network in South America is high airport fees in the region.

Canberra Airport CEO: Vaccination is 'a pathway and passport to getting our freedoms back'
Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said: "If you are vaccinated you should have the ability to travel", adding: "Vaccination rates are not going to increase" unless the benefits are explained to individuals. Mr Byron said: "Here is a pathway and passport to getting our freedoms back but there needs to be a benefit to the individual", adding that Australia's National Cabinet "need to spell that out".

Airlines UK CEO: Successful vaccine rollout key for resumption of international travel
Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade commented on the European Commission's announcement that vaccinated passengers will be able to travel to the EU in summer 2021, saying it will "pave the way for the reopening of the EU's tourism and travel industry in time for the peak summer season". Mr Alderslade added that a successful vaccine rollout should "enable a risk-based and proportionate system of international travel to resume".

Super Air Jet inaugural service in the 'near future', strong demand 'from millennials': CEO
Super Air Jet CEO Ari Azhari said: "There is very strong demand from the community for air travel today, especially from millennials", with the start-up carrier's inaugural service to be conducted in the "near future". Mr Azhari said the LCC start-up "was founded on the basis of optimism that market opportunities especially for domestic flights in Indonesia still exist and are wide open".

Alitalia CEO hopeful of ITA launch by the start of Jul-2021
Alitalia CEO Fabio Lazzerini, speaking before parliamentary committees on the future of the airline, said he is hopeful that new national carrier ITA is in a position to launch services by 01-Jul-2021 to serve the peak summer period and fend of rival carriers that are "acting aggressively", particularly LCCs. The launch of the new national airline has been slowed by talks between Italy and the European Commission over state aid rules.

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO: Recovery expected to take place from 2022 'at best'
Malaysia Airlines Group (MAG) CEO Izham Ismail stated the company is expected to increase non flying revenue from MYR2.5 billion (USD607.1 million) to MYR4 billion (USD971.5 million) by 2025 and is optimistic of breaking even by 2023. Mr Izham said: "We aim to streamline our portfolio businesses and want to position our sister companies as key growth drivers to the group". He added: "We expect recovery to take place from 2022 or best in [2H2022] followed by international travel in [2H2023]. Mr Izham stated: "We expect normalisation of unit revenue and unit cost in 2022".

Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO: Risk based travel framework 'doesn’t go far enough'
Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Shai Weiss stated (30-Apr-2021) despite the carrier welcoming a "risk-based traffic light framework" for international travel, "it doesn't go far enough". Mr Weiss stated: "Now we need certainty that the framework will allow for a phased removal of testing and quarantine", adding due to vaccination programmes in "the UK and US, and evidence to support safe reopening through testing, there is a clear opportunity to open up travel and no reason to delay beyond 17-May-2021".

JEJU air does not plan to acquire widebody aircraft in the near term
JEJU air CEO Lee Bae Kim said the LCC does not plan to acquire widebody aircraft in the near term. Mr Kim said JEJU air will continue to focus on keeping costs low and maximising efficiency by operating a single aircraft type, the Boeing 737, on short haul services.

Comair to return more aircraft to service, expecting market growth: CEO
Comair (South Africa) CEO Glenn Orsmond stated the carrier is operating its full domestic network and international services to Harare and Victoria Falls with 17 aircraft. He said the airline aims to expand its operational fleet to 21 aircraft by Jun-2021 "as we are expecting market growth over the next few months". Mr Orsmond expects traffic figures for Apr-2021 to be approximately 60% of pre-pandemic levels, but he estimated the domestic business market is only at about 30% of pre-pandemic levels.

Northern Territory Treasurer: 'a massive slice of the tourism industry's market is still cut off'
Northern Territory's Treasurer Michael Gunner stated as Australia's international borders are closed, "a massive slice of the tourism industry's market is still cut off and, even with borders open, we know it will take time for visitor numbers to recover". Mr Gunner said: "Tourism is one of the best economic multipliers we've got" and it is "at the centre of our plans for leading the comeback".

StarLux Airlines considering further postponing US service launch to 2023
StarLux Airlines spokesperson Nieh Kuo-wei said the carrier is considering further postponing the launch date for its services to the US from 2022 to 2023 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The carrier, which has received approval from the US for the launch, previously postponed the launch from Jun-2022 to late 2022. Mr Nieh said the carrier's first US service will be Los Angeles, operated with A350-900. The A350-900 will also operate San Francisco, Guam, Honolulu, Seattle, San Jose and Ontario services, while the A350-1000s will operate to New York JFK and Newark, Washington DC, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Boston.