Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

15 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.

CNN: Aviation industry has done 'colossal' job recovering from COVID

CNN anchor Richard Quest, speaking at the CAPA Airline Leader Summit – 'Airlines in Transition', stated "The [aviation] industry has done a colossal job to recover, they survived the GFC, pandemic and regional wars, and that was a phenomenal job to do it. He said: "As a collective group everybody is focusing on their own areas in their own ways and even at the representative level like IATA, the ability of the principal lobbying group to be effective at a national level is diminished because it's such a broad area so you have these large segments and new policies but the airlines themselves have to do it and they don't and they won't". He added: "You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs and the industry has refused up until now to break eggs".

Corporate Traveller records 'significant uptick in bookings'

Corporate Traveller MD Tom Walley reported "a significant uptick in bookings" over the course of six weeks, adding: "We anticipate demand will climb steadily throughout the year as we continue to track bookings". Corporate Traveller recorded an 18% increase in domestic bookings between 07-Feb-2022 and 23-Mar-2022 and a 416% increase in international services in the six week period following the reopening of Australia's borders.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO: 'Bookings are gaining momentum' following border easing

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) CEO Rebecca Ingram, in response to amendments in travel restrictions, stated: "The industry is reporting forward bookings are gaining momentum, and there's definitely a more positive feeling about the future and the opportunities to rebuild businesses". Ms Ingram said TIA anticipates a slow and steady return of visitors, with people visiting friends and family first following by Australian and US visitors. Ms Ingram stated: "TIA's Recovery Roadmap suggests it could be 2-3 years before we find our 'new normal', meaning new levels of demand and travel patterns". Australians can now travel to New Zealand quarantine free (from 23:59 on 12-Apr-2022), followed by visa waiver countries, including the US, UK, Europe, Japan, Korea and Singapore from 01-May-2022.

ETC president: European travel confidence growing as COVID-19 becomes a 'fact of life'

European Travel Commission (ETC) reported COVID-19 concerns of European travellers continue to decrease, with 27% having been able to realise their original travel plans, an increase from 16% in Dec-2021. Following high vaccination rates in Europe, Europeans indicated flexible cancellation policies (14%) and freedom from restrictions (13%) are the top factors boosting respondents' confidence in planning trips within Europe. 17% of travel ready Europeans are worried about quarantine measures, while 15% are concerned about possible changes in travel restrictions. ETC president Luís Araújo commented: "European confidence in travelling is growing now that COVID-19 has largely become a fact of life". Mr Araújo added that despite challenges presented by "the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the rising cost of living... appetite for travel is still on the rise and the European tourism sector remains resilient".

Delta Air Lines CEO: Past five weeks the 'strongest period of bookings' in carrier's history

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian stated the past five weeks was the "strongest period of bookings" historically recorded by the carrier. Mr Bastian added the current demand environment is at "a historic high", and expressed optimism that consumers will be "in a very good place to continue to travel". US passenger traffic has averaged 89% of pre-pandemic levels since mid Feb-2022, according to the US TSA.

SWISS CEO: Ticket prices 'very likely' to increase in 2022

SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx stated ticket price increases are "very likely" in 2022, following a 50% increase in fuel costs. Mr Vranckx added the effects of the increasing costs will likely not be immediate, but felt over the coming months. Mr Vranckx said the carrier has continued to increase capacity despite increasing costs, from 35% in Feb-2022 to over 60% in 2022. As previously reported by CAPA, the carrier is aiming for 2022 capacity to reach 80% of 2019 levels

UK CAA CEO: UK airlines should schedule flights based on operability

UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) CEO Richard Moriarty, commenting on the recent increase in flight cancellations at UK airports, stated airlines should "schedule flights based on what can be given to available staff" and where there is "flexibility for staff illness". British Airways and easyJet have cancelled approximately 1200 flights since early Apr-2022 and are expected to incur as much as GBP100 million in compensation costs during the Easter travel season.

Alaska Airlines CEO: 'Wonderful to hear' President Biden's support for SAF advancement policies

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci, via the carrier's official Twitter account, stated it is "wonderful to hear" US President Joe Biden's support of federal policies to advance sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) commercialisation. Mr Minicucci stated the carrier is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, adding SAF is "critical" to do so.

Swedavia CEO: Traffic recovery is gaining momentum

Swedavia CEO Jonas Abrahamsson stated traffic recovery across its airport network is "gaining new momentum", after the company recorded a 418% year-on-year increase in passenger traffic for Mar-2022. The 10 airports in the Swedavia network handled 1.7 million passengers in Mar-2022, down 46% compared to Mar-2019. Mr Abrahamsson stated: "We currently see no signs of weaker demand and have continued a positive basic view regarding the summer", adding: "there are about a hundred ongoing recruitments" in anticipation of increased traffic numbers.

Ryanair Group CEO unconcerned about future of low cost travel in Europe

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary said he is not concerned about the future of the low cost air travel model in Europe, despite the fact that the industry needs to make travel "more sustainable and less environmentally damaging". Mr O'Leary said the low cost model is especially important in the case of countries such as Ireland, stating: "It's not like we are living in Holland or Belgium - we have no alternatives and we have to fly. We live on an island and have a right to travel".