Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

18 February, 2022

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.  

Finnair 'ready to move fast' as Asia recovers & will also boost capacity to North America: CEO

Finnair CEO Topi Manner stated the carrier is "optimistic" about international border re-openings ahead of summer 2022 and will maintain strategic focus on Asian long haul routes, adding it will be "ready to increase frequencies and capacity whenever is possible [and] move fast once the Asian countries are open". He noted China "remains a question mark" due to its 'zero COVID' strategy, though another key market in Japan is expected to open throughout the season. Mr Manner also confirmed plans to add capacity to North America, with Dallas and Seattle services from Helsinki as well as new US routes from Stockholm Arlanda.

Queenstown Airport CEO: 'it is time for us to able to welcome back our Australian guests'

Queenstown Airport CEO Glen Sowry stated the New Zealand Government announcement of seven days self-isolation "for all travellers into New Zealand for the foreseeable future essentially means New Zealand and Queenstown remains closed for business for any international tourism, including the Australian market". Mr Sowry said: "Tourism operators, and airlines are wholly reliant on the domestic New Zealand market… it is time for us to able to welcome back our Australian guests who have been double vaccinated and tested negative for COVID prior to departure".

Volotea CEO expects sector recovery to commence from Easter 2022

Volotea announced it forecast sales of EUR525 million during 2022, increased 20% from EUR441 million in 2019. CEO Carlos Munoz stated the carrier expects the "sector will begin to recover from the effects of the fifth wave" from Easter 2022 onwards and "there will be a gradual growth in demand until the summer season". Mr Munoz added the carrier expects to operate 41% more capacity during the summer season between Apr-2022 and Oct-2022, compared to the pre pandemic year in 2019.

American Airlines to restore widebodies on long range services, says domestic planning director

American Airlines director of domestic planning Philippe Puech stated the airline is likely to restore its widebody fleet to "faraway" destinations, rather than utilising them for Latin American services as it has been doing throughout the pandemic. This is despite high load factors the carrier has seen when operating these services using widebody aircraft, which "might disappear" from Latin American routes according to Mr Puech.

TAP Air Portugal CEO expects COVID-19 sanitary measures to remain following pandemic

TAP Air Portugal CEO Christine Ourmières Widener expects COVID-19 measures including compulsory face masks, QR codes, and intensive aircraft cleaning will remain in place during the long term. Ms Ourmières Widener added the end of the pandemic appears close, and called for further cohesion in regards to international travel.

Ryanair to recover pre-pandemic traffic by Mar-2022 or Apr-2022: CEO

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary reported the carrier is expecting to recover its pre-pandemic passenger traffic levels "by March or April this year". Mr O'Leary also stated the LCC expects average airfares during the summer 2022 travel season to be significantly higher than those during the same period in 2019.

Avolon CFO: 2021 our 'most active year ever'

Avolon CFO Andy Cronin reported 2021 was the lessor's "most active year ever", with a total of 228 lease transactions executed. These included leases with 14 new customers and a number of new leases with existing large customers including Air France, Vistara and American Airlines.

IATA: Latin American governments need fundamental mindset change to aid industry recovery

IATA regional vice president Americas Peter Cerda said Latin American governments need to "fundamentally change their mindset" to avoid stalling the industry's recovery. Mr Cerda stated: "Governments cannot continue to over regulate and over tax because that will be counterproductive for airports, airlines and consumers". He also urged the industry to "get a seat at the table" with new governments coming into power in 2022, with Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil among the countries holding elections in 2022.

Wizz Air gains three to five year advantage over competitors: CEO

Wizz Air CEO József Váradi said the company is in a better position than before the COVID-19 pandemic, having gained a three to five year advantage over key competitors. Mr Váradi noted while no airline is able to achieve profits at this time, Wizz Air has high liquidity, is able to manage funds without state support and will be returning to profit once the situation returns to normal.