Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

8 April, 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.

Ryanair Group CEO: Air fares will be 5% to 10% higher during summer 2022

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary projected summer 2022 air fares will be 5% to 10% higher than during the same pre-pandemic period in 2019. Mr O'Leary said prices "are slightly lower than they were in 2019, pre-COVID, through March, April and May", but that they are "somewhere between 5% and 10% higher at the moment" for Jun-2022, Jul-2022, Aug-2022 and Sep-2022.

House of Travel COO: Pent up demand has departing travel return 'with a vengeance'

House of Travel COO Brent Thomas said departing travel from New Zealand has "come back with a vengeance", highlighting "pent-up demand for two years". Mr Thomas said: "A lot of people haven't been able to travel for three to four years because they might have been planning in 2018 and 2019 to go in 2020 and those travels got curtailed". Mr Thomas said: "Capacity is going to become an issue later this year", highlighting if individuals are looking to travel "in the next six months they should start booking now".

Emirates maintains Russian routes with 'healthy' loads, 'managing quite well' amid rising oil prices

Emirates president Tim Clark confirmed the carrier will maintain Moscow and Saint Petersburg services "until such time as the Government of Dubai tells us not to fly to Russia", along with continuing to overfly the country. He added passenger and cargo loads on Russian services remain "fairly healthy". Sir Tim also stated Emirates is "managing quite well" amid changes in fuel availability, commenting: "We were facing higher oil prices prior to the conflict in Ukraine and we're dealing with those as we've done in all the years that we've been facing volatility in the oil markets... The airline is profitable now, it's cash positive and we will make any adjustments to our fares and pricing points as fuel declines or even goes up".

Tourism Australia regional GM UK and Northern Europe: Forward bookings 'close to pre-COVID levels'

Tourism Australia regional GM United Kingdom and Northern Europe Sally Cope stated "Despite the further headwinds we now face", including rising living costs and unrest in Ukraine, "there remains a sense of optimism amongst our trade partners". Ms Cope stated: "UK travellers have a reputation for resilience. This market has bounced back from previous disruptive events relatively quickly and there is an expectation it can do the same". Forward bookings from the UK inbound to Australia, as well as online searches, are both "sitting close to pre-COVID levels, when compared to the same weeks in 2019", with "half of bookings being made are travelling within the next three months and are likely to be travellers visiting friends and relatives".

Jet Airways to implement hybrid premium-low cost model when services resume

Jet Airways CEO Sanjiv Kapoor reported the airline will implement a hybrid premium and low cost model when it resumes services, offering conventional business class and an economy class product where passengers can opt to pay for meals and other inflight services. Mr Kapoor stated: "It's very difficult in the domestic Indian market to take on the cost of the food and everything else in economy class, where the customer in India chooses primarily on the basis of fares", adding: "Let's just accept that and not burden ourselves with extra cost".

Brussels Airlines CEO: Departure tax is being introduced during worst crisis in aviation industry

Brussels Airlines CEO Peter Gerber stated Belgium's departure tax "is being introduced during what is still the worst crisis the aviation industry has ever experienced", labelling it a "disappointing development. As previously reported by CAPA, Belgium's Air Transport Association and IATA stated the introduction of the tax on "such short notice is a blow to airlines which are slowly recovering from the pandemic".

Virgin Australia CEO: ‘value-for-money travel experiences’ to help boost domestic market share

Virgin Australia announced its business class fares have been reduced to AUD299 (USD224) on selected routes, with Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka noting the airline's plan to create a more affordable and accessible business class offering had come to fruition. Ms Hrdlicka stated: "Right now, Virgin Australia's one way domestic business class fares are up to 60 per cent cheaper than our pre-pandemic fares", adding "Economy fares were up to 67 per cent cheaper". Ms Hrdlicka said: "Looking ahead, we are confident our value-for-money travel experiences will see us achieve a 33 per cent share of the market this year, which we've always said was our goal".

airBaltic to reconfigure Airbus A220 fleet ‘to drive efficiency’

airBaltic announced plans to gradually reconfigure the fleet following certification of the A220-300 to operate with up to 149 seats. CEO Martin Gauss said: "Until now we could use 145 seats on the aircraft, however, going forward also existing fleet will be adjusted to use the additional capacity, which will further drive efficiency of our operations". airBaltic received its first A220-300 certified to operate 149 seats in Feb-2022. airBaltic changed the cabin configuration for the first five of 33 A220-300s as of 05-Apr-2022. airBaltic plans to unblock the additional seats on its entire fleet by summer 2023. Due to different seat configuration, first 20 aircraft will have 148 seats, while the next 12 aircraft will have 149 seats. All aircraft to be delivered between 2022 and early 2024 are planned to have 148 seats.

Cambodia's PM: Siem Reap New Airport to boost economy, tourism

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen stated Siem Reap New International Airport will play a major role in increasing the country's economy and tourism when it opens in late 2023. Mr Sen stated: "This large scale international airport will bring a boost to the economic development in our northern region, including the provinces of Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear". The USD880 million project, which commenced in Mar-2020, will span 700 hectares and is set to be the largest airport in Cambodia.

Condor new brand identity reflects the airline's transformation to ‘independent airline’

Condor unveiled a new brand identity, with features including: striped livery featuring yellow, red, blue, green and beige; redesign of Condor signet, placed on tail; and adaptation of Condor lettering. CEO Ralf Teckentrup said the redesign reflects the airline's transformation from "a subsidiary of a vertically integrated travel group to an independent airline". The first aircraft featuring the new livery will take off on 05-Apr-2022, with five more to be repainted "in the upcoming weeks". Around 80% of the fleet will be repainted by 2024, while the design will also be implemented across areas including crew uniforms, accessories, onboard items, boarding passes, airport signage and social media.

Edinburgh Airport CEO predicts queues and disruption over peak summer 2022 period

Edinburgh Airport CEO Gordon Dewar said it is "inevitable there will be some queues and disruption" over the peak summer 2022 period, with the airport expecting passenger numbers to triple compared to 2021. Mr Dewar assed that the airport's recruitment campaign to employ 1000 staff commenced at the end of 2021, but "not all of those additional people will be in place as quickly as we would like".