Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

21 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.

UNWTO secretary-general: Now is the time for 'ambition and bold steps' in recovery
UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said the time has come for "ambition and bold steps" in the restoration of travel and tourism, which will help to "kickstart wider recovery".

British Airways CEO: 'the case is very compelling' for UK-US travel
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said due to coronavirus vaccine rollouts in both the UK and US: "The green list is very straightforward" and "If we simply look at the data then the US would be on there". Mr Doyle called on the UK and US governments to "get round the table and make that happen because the case is very compelling". Mr Doyle said as Europe's vaccine rates have increased "dramatically over the last couple of weeks and that should push a number of countries on to the green list as we get into June".

ICAO: Passengers will want their experiences tailored against disease transmission
ICAO secretary general Dr Fang Liu, speaking during a panel discussion at the International Transport Forum 2021 summit, said travel consumers "will want their long term passenger experience to be tailored to defend better against infectious disease transmission, inclusive of contactless travel booking and boarding solutions, new types of combined health and security screening, and better-outfitted aircraft cabins".

MAG CEO: Unacceptable for UK Government ministers to discourage international travel
Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said (19-May-2021) comments by UK Government ministers seeking to discourage international travel are "unacceptable" and "undermine consumer confidence and risk stifling the recovery of one of the UK's most valuable sectors". Mr Cornish added: "The traffic light system was signed-off by the UK's four Chief Medical Officers to provide a safe framework for international travel" and allows people to make their own decisions about travel.

Virgin Australia CEO: 'COVID will be part of the community'
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka stated concern with the Australia Government's forecast of reopening international borders in mid 2022, noting "COVID will be part of the community, we will become sick with COVID and it won't put us in hospital, and it won't put people into dire straits because we'll have a vaccine". Ms Hrdlicka added: "Some people may die, but it will be way smaller than with the flu", adding "We're forgetting the fact that we've learnt how to live with lots of viruses and challenges over the years, and we've got to learn how to live with this".

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport director advocates for international flight restoration
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport director of aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis advocated for the restoration of international services by the US federal government in time for the summer 2021 travel season. Ms Vassiliadis stated: "This blanket approach is unnecessarily crippling our economic productivity... our nation must move quickly to implement existing solutions for safely admitting international travellers." Las Vegas International handled around 3.8 million international arrivals in 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

TTF CEO: Issues remain over liability if an individual travels for business and becomes ill
Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond stated "the large problem for everybody, and not just New Zealand", is that American parent companies have not resolved issues regarding travel and liability, and who becomes liable if an individual travels for business and becomes ill. Ms Osmond added "as a consequence, that's flowing down the line to companies all over the South Pacific and other parts of the world that have American parent companies". Ms Osmond stated: "I think until that liability mechanism is clear, you will see a decrease in that business travel".

Lufthansa: Bookings for 'classic' Mediterranean destinations have tripled in the last week
Lufthansa executive board member Harry Hohmeister said bookings have increased to "classic" European holiday destinations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, adding that bookings to these countries with Lufthansa and Eurowings have tripled in the past seven days compared to earlier weeks. He added that on some routes to Spain, such as Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza or Barcelona, bookings were even higher than in 2019. Flights to the Balearic Islands and the Greek islands are "particularly in demand", leading Eurowings to add more than 500 additional flights to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza or Greece. Lufthansa will also expand its flight schedule on short notice if demand continues to increase.

Istanbul Airport CEO: 'We must open the borders'
iGA Istanbul Airport CEO Kadri Samsunlu, in an interview with EUROCONTROL, stated "We must work very closely with our government and decision makers to overcome the crisis", adding: "To restore the connection and return to normal in the near future, we must open the borders and definitely make use of our influence for this purpose". Mr Samsunlu said: "Our aim is to ensure that the air links to our country remain open. This is the most important condition for the markets being opened ensuring that activity returns".

Webjet MD: FY2021 'continued to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic'
Webjet Limited MD John Guscic stated FY2021 "continued to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global travel industry", with all businesses reporting declines in Total Transaction Value and bookings. Mr Guscic said Webjet reported a "return to profitability for the Webjet OTA driven by the Australian domestic leisure market", adding "We know there is significant pent up demand for travel".

Brussels Airlines CEO: Bookings show us Belgians are eager to travel again
Brussels Airlines CEO Peter Gerber reported that increasing booking figures "show us very clearly that Belgians are eager to travel again", and the carrier has developed a "diverse holiday offer with both traditional and new destinations" from Brussels Airport for the summer 2021 schedule. The carrier will operate to popular leisure destinations in Spain, Portugal and the Canary and Greek islands, and is also adding new destinations to the network in France, Morocco and Egypt said Mr Gerber.

Canada's Transport Minister: Plan is in motion to restart aviation industry
Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra reported the government is working on a plan to restart the country's aviation industry but did not provide a timeline. Mr Alghabra stated: "We want to restart, we want to see a gradual and a safe restart of the travel sector".

Air Serbia operating at 40% of 2019 levels and 'cautiously optimistic'
Air Serbia GM commercial and strategy Jiří Marek stated the airline is operating at approximately 40% of 2019 levels with load factors of more than 55%. Mr Marek said the carrier is "cautiously optimistic" based on performance over the last three weeks. He commented: "What is a positive sign is that the demand did not stop after Orthodox Easter [in early May-2021] and we see an upside. Despite the travel restrictions, which are still heavily in place, and the fact that Serbian citizens are still not allowed to enter the majority of EU countries, I must say that through 2020, and even now in 2021, we are performing better, mainly thanks to our fast and flexible reaction on the market".

AFTA executive chairman: with the coronavirus vaccination, 'a lot of the problems go away'
Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) executive chairman Tom Manwaring stated with the coronavirus vaccination, "a lot of the problems go away". Mr Manwaring stated individuals travelling between vaccinated countries "will be safe", and the "safest thing to do" is to "get people vaccinated, and then we can work all these processes out later".

Gander International Airport Authority CEO: Passenger traffic won't recover until 2025
Gander International Airport Authority CEO Reg Wright projected Gander International Airport will not recover its 2019 pre-pandemic passenger traffic until 2025. Mr Wright attributed the expected recovery rate to the potential emergence of COVID-19 variants, as well as the uneven pace of vaccination rollouts internationally.