Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

27 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.

Flight Centre Business Travel GM: 'We’ve won a lot of business in recent times'

Flight Centre Business Travel GM Cameron Harris said: "We've won a lot of business in recent times simply because corporate businesses understand that it's now easier to have an expert take care of everything for you", adding that the demand from "SMEs to return to business travel is clear to see". Mr Harris said in Apr-2022 "we were back to almost three quarters of our pre-COVID travel volume" for SMEs.

Etihad CEO: Achieving net zero will pose 'biggest challenge' for commercial aviation

Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas stated achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will pose the "biggest challenge" for commercial aviation. Mr Douglas said: "The physics of powered flight render the achievement of that objective extremely difficult anytime soon". He added: "Our responsibility as leaders within the aerospace sector is to enable the foundations for the next generation to deliver upon what will ultimately determine who are the winners and who are the losers in commercial aviation".

Wellington Airport CEO: 'we are taking an approach of absolute reduction' in resource use/emissions

Infratil announced Wellington Airport CEO Matt Clarke stated: "We are taking an approach of absolute reduction in resource use and emissions, rather than relying on carbon offsetting to achieve environmental goals". Mr Clarke said the airport commenced a 24 month Building Management System optimisation and analytics project in Apr-2020, with the airport managing to reduce energy consumption by 4.8% so far, representing a 65 tonne reduction in emissions. Mr Clarke stated: "The past year has been significant in the development of legislation aimed at reducing emissions across all industries… Despite this, technology is developing rapidly, and Wellington Airport is leading the way".

ICAO secretary general encourages focus on 'innovation and resilience' in aviation policy

ICAO secretary general Juan Carlos Salazar encouraged the civil aviation regulators of 42 countries from ICAO's European and North Atlantic Regions to focus on "innovation and resilience" in their aviation policies. Regarding the upcoming 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly in Sep-2022, Mr Salazar said: "Environmental protection will be high on the agenda, notably with respect to States' discussions on the new Long-Term Global Aspirational Goal (LTAG) for sector-wide emissions, how we implement that goal, and the associated strengthening of your State Action Plans". Mr Salazar said decisions to support digitisation for contactless passenger experiences at airports will also be an area of discussion.

Frontier Airlines CEO: JetBlue bid on Spirit Airlines to mitigate low-cost competition

Frontier Airlines president and CEO Barry Biffle stated the carrier is pleased with Spirit Airlines' board of directors recommendation that Spirit shareholders vote in favour of the proposed Frontier/Spirit transaction. Mr Biffle added the merger increases competition by increasing accessibility to ultra-low airfares, and delivers "substantial" shareholder value. Mr Biffle said Frontier believes JetBlue Airways is concerned about increased competition as a result of the Frontier/Spirit transaction, hence it put forward a proposal for a transaction that "can't be completed".

Norwegian CEO targets fleet of 100 aircraft 'as soon as possible'

Norwegian CEO Geir Karlsen stated the carrier's "sweet spot today is 90 to 100 aircraft" and "would like to get up there as soon as possible". Mr Karlsen said the LCC will have to make a big decision regarding expansion outside of the Nordic region when it reaches between "80, 90 or 100 aircraft", and outlined it previously had sizeable operations in London Gatwick, Spain and Germany. Mr Karlsen added the carrier had no current plans for long haul services.

easyJet CEO: We are 'absolutely focused' on strengthening operational resilience for summer 2022

easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren stated the carrier has been "absolutely focused" on strengthening its operational resilience for summer 2022, after COVID-19 affected staffing shortages led to flight cancellations during the Easter travel period. Mr Lundgren reported the LCC is expected to operate at 90% of FY2019 capacity in Q3FY2022, adding: "We are confident in our plans for summer which will see us reaching near 2019 flying levels and look forward to competing with our renewed strengths as a winner in the post pandemic recovery of European aviation".

Sensus Aero CEO: Many aviation IT systems are 'stagnant and fragmented'

Sensus Aero CEO Romas Butkevicius stated the digital transformation push within the aviation industry could become part of a bigger movement, addressing the "lethargic and fragmented" IT solutions. Mr Butkevicius said: "Most systems that are used across the industry, especially concerning MRO, ground handling, and fuelling services, are stagnant and fragmented. For example, a ground handling service provider on average can use around 20-30 different systems".

SunExpress CEO: Boeing 737 MAX allow to explore new destinations

SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki said Boeing 737 MAX aircraft allow the carrier to explore new destinations. Mr Kownatzki added: "Looking east, the range would allow for Pakistan or India routes, and they are interesting locations, particularly for ethnic travel, the VFR segment. The Turkish Riviera is still our bedrock".

SAS CEO: Early decision on flight cancellations made to avoid further stress during summer 2022

SAS president and CEO Anko van der Werff stated the carrier struggled to ramp up activities due to the "extraordinary" global situation. Mr van der Werff added the carrier decided to already cancel 4000 flights for the summer 2022 schedule as it "didn't want to wait until Jul-2022 when there's real stress on the system".