Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

29 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.

Air New Zealand CEO: Trans Tasman 'will be competitive and our biggest market'

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said the carrier "is literally the only operator moving across the Tasman", noting if the airline "had the ability to ramp up even more, we would, but we don't, and therefore there is a situation where the prices are high". Mr Foran said: "The Tasman will be competitive and our biggest market so we won't reduce capacity there", believing that carriers are set to increase schedule due to easing of border restrictions.

Virgin Australia CEO: 'it's up to airlines and the airports to get ourselves match fit'

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said "it's up to airlines and the airports to get ourselves match fit" to support passenger traffic. Ms Hrdlicka said: "It's so exciting to have so many people back out travelling, and it is a great testament to the fact that we're now into the endemic stage with the coronavirus and we're all getting back to the new normal".

American Airlines CEO: Business travel demand leading recovery at 80% of pre-pandemic levels

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, stated business travel demand has recovered by 80% from pre-COVID-19 levels, with corporate travel revenue 50% recovered. Mr Isom said corporate travel bookings are the highest they've been since the onset of COVID-19, adding the carrier expects the trend to continue "as more companies reopen their offices".

Indonesia's SOEs Minister estimates domestic aviation recovery within six to eight months

Indonesia's State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir estimated the country's aviation industry will recover within the next six to eight months. Mr Thohir stated: "The condition in several countries, including Indonesia, is starting to get back to normal. It may take six to eight months to return to normal since air transportation becomes an alternative for business trips and tours".

United Airlines CCO: Trans-Atlantic traffic leading business travel recovery, Latin America follows

United Airlines EVP and chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, stated the carrier expects its trans-Atlantic traffic to increase by 25% in summer 2022 compared to 2019 levels. Mr Nocella added trans-Atlantic business traffic revenue is expected to reach at least 100% of 2019 levels, with trans-Atlantic corporate business bookings having "largely returned to normal", as well as Latin American traffic. However, Mr Nocella noted the carrier has not seen a meaningful business travel recovery in Asia.

EVA Air says higher airfares may be the new norm

EVA Air president Clay Sun said that higher airfares might be the new norm due to higher operating costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that airlines have had to implement all kinds of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, which increased operating costs. He commented: "There were lots of low priced tickets in the market, but we might no longer see this in future".

JetBlue Airways CEO reports plans to return to profitability delayed until 2H2022

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, stated the carrier's return to profitability has "likely been pushed back by a quarter" as a result of 1Q2022 setbacks, including the COVID-19 Omicron variant and increased weather disruptions. Mr Hayes added the carrier is "well-positioned" to return to profitability in 2H2022. JetBlue Airways reported a net loss of USD367 million for 1Q2022.

British Airways to continue service cuts until end of Jun-2022: CEO

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle confirmed the carrier plans to continue cutting services until the end of Jun-2022 to "make its schedules more reliable". UK airlines have cancelled hundreds of services at UK airports due to COVID-19 affected staff shortages, with Mr Doyle adding: "Everyone is recruiting for frontline roles and the referencing processes are taking too long for people to get clearance to work at airports".

Air Canada CEO: Pilot shortages 'not an issue' for the carrier

Air Canada president and CEO Michael Rousseau, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, stated pilot shortages are "not an issue" for the carrier. Mr Rousseau added the carrier's large widebody fleet renders Air Canada a "very attractive employer" for pilots, hence the carrier is not experiencing the pilot shortage affecting several North American carriers.

Hawaiian Airlines to continue operating Boeing 717s 'well through the middle of this decade'

Hawaiian Airlines SVP and chief revenue officer Brent Overbeek, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, stated the carrier is able to continue operating Boeing 717 aircraft "well through the middle of this decade". Mr Overbeek added the aircraft is a "good size" to meet market demand levels, and Hawaiian Airlines' 717 fleet is majority-owned with no outstanding debt, rendering it "an extremely low ownership cost fleet" for the airline. Mr Overbeek said the carrier will "eventually" be looking at replacements that are not "dramatically" bigger than the 717.

UK Transport Secretary: Airline staff can start training without complete security check

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said airline staff will be able to commence training prior to full processing of their security checks, in response to recent staff-impacted service cancellations at UK airports. Mr Shapps added: "We can begin the training, without exposing them to the parts of the training which are security-related, without having the security check complete, as long as it's complete before they start the security-related stuff".

Flair Airlines CEO says carrier will continue to fly, despite ongoing CTA investigation

Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones stated the carrier will "continue to fly", despite an ongoing investigation by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) regarding the airline's compliance with Canadian ownership laws. CTA released a preliminary ruling on 03-Mar-2022 finding the airline is not Canadian owned. Canadian regulation requires airlines to be incorporated in Canada, with at least 51% of voting interests to be owned and controlled by Canadians.

Kenya Airways in further talks with lessors on reducing costs: CEO

Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka stated the airline is in further discussions with aircraft lessors on reducing leasing costs. Mr Kilavuka said: "We are asking them to reduce their cost but some are not agreeable to the terms we are proposing. Until we agree, we want to put a pause to our relationship". Mr Kilavuka said two of the lessors "are not agreeable to the concession we are proposing", adding: "The other six are open to discussion and we have not signed up anything yet".