Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

6 May, 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.

AirAsia settling all outstanding refund requests 'as soon as possible': CEO

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes confirmed the company "will continue to settle all outstanding refund requests as soon as possible". Mr Fernandes stated: "It wasn't just passengers we couldn't pay immediately, but the aim is that it's better to have AirAsia alive rather than dead". He added: "So at least by delaying payments, we were able to survive and now we are operating again, we are paying back our guests".

IATA director general: Dutch Government impeding travel recovery with 'destructive triple whammy'

IATA director general Willie Walsh stated: "Seeing the Dutch government work to dismantle connectivity, fail to provide critical airport operational resources and enable price gouging by its hub airport is a destructive triple whammy. These actions will cost jobs. They will hurt consumers who already struggling with price inflation. And they will deplete resources that airlines need to achieve their Net Zero sustainability commitment". He added: "The Dutch government has forgotten a key lesson from the COVID-19 crisis which is that everyone's quality of life suffers without efficient air connectivity. It must reverse course, and others must not follow their terrible example".

Expedia Group reports 'positive indicators' for leisure travel recovery

Expedia Group vice chairman and CEO Peter Kern stated: "While we are keeping an eye on various macro indicators including inflation and ongoing geopolitical tensions, we continue to see positive indicators for a strong recovery in leisure travel this summer". Mr Kern said: "We are also pleased to see city, business, and international travel coming back, three components key to the complete return of travel". He added: "This year is on track to be a big year of delivery for us with new product, marketplace, and platform innovation".

Capital A CEO 'pretty optimistic' about LCC sector

Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes stated he believes the worst is over for the aviation sector and is "pretty optimistic" about the low cost sector, adding that although he believes full service carriers will "do well as well", business travel will take "a bit longer". He commented that the increase in video conferencing technology has enabled people to have business meetings in a cheaper and faster manner.

Air Niugini 'one of the very, very few airlines who were profitable last year': CEO

Air Niugini CEO Bruce Alabaster stated the airline was "probably one of the very, very few airlines who were profitable last year. Mr Alabaster said: "We're expecting a better profit this year but right through that period, we'd have to pay all our national staff... We've also worked through and ensured all our creditors are up-to-date".

Spirit Airlines forecasts 'significantly higher' 2Q2022 fare revenue per passenger segment

Spirit Airlines president and CEO Ted Christie stated the carrier expects 2Q2022 fare revenue per passenger segment to be "significantly higher" than 2Q2019 levels. Mr Christie attributed the forecast to current booking trends. The carrier recorded fare revenue per passenger segment at USD49.19, down 7.6% from pre-pandemic levels. Spirit Airlines reported a net loss of USD194.7 million for 1Q2022.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO: 'Forward bookings from visa-waiver countries are looking optimistic'

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) CEO Rebecca Ingram stated "Forward bookings from visa-waiver countries are looking optimistic, with visitors planning to arrive in late spring and early summer". TIA said the industry is feeling hopeful as New Zealand enters the next phase of its border reopening plan, however is not expecting an immediate influx of visitors.

SkyWest CFO: Pilot shortage challenges will not be mitigated until 2H2023

SkyWest Airlines CFO Rob Simmons, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, reported  the carrier does not expect to mitigate its pilot shortage until 2H2023. Mr Simmons added the carrier's 2H2022 schedules were reduced to take the pilot shortage into account and will likely result in a "worse" performance than 1H2022 in terms of earnings and block hour production. The carrier forecasts 2022 block hour production to be down 5% year-on-year.

airBaltic CEO sees travel recovery in Baltic region slowed by Ukraine conflict

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss said large tour companies are gradually returning and bookings are increasing weekly, however visitor numbers are affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Mr Gauss said: "They are still very few because the Baltics are seen as a border region and, especially in the view of Western countries, that there is a big risk of war".

Canberra Airport CEO: Mask mandate legislation 'passed its use-by date'

Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said mask mandate legislation has "passed its use-by date", adding: "It is not acceptable for aviation to be left behind in the move to relax COVID rules".

Volaris CEO: VFR and leisure travellers eager to fly in summer 2022

Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena said strong demand over 1Q2022 allowed the carrier to "gradually raise fares" to offset rising fuel prices. Mr Beltranena added the airline is "well positioned for the summer season as VFR and leisure travellers are eager to fly". Volaris reported revenue of USD542 million in 1Q2022, up 79.6% year-on-year.

Allegiant Air on track to begin selling Mexico fares under Viva Aerobus JV by end of 2022, says CEO

Allegiant Air chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr stated the carrier is on track to begin selling flights to Mexico under its planned joint venture (JV) with Viva Aerobus "by the end of the year". Mr Gallagher added the JV is awaiting approval from the US Department of Transportation.