Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

17 June, 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.

SPTO CEO: 'We're going back to normality'

Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) CEO Christopher Cocker stated: "We're going back to normality". Mr Cocker said: "It means hope that there's going to be an economic resurrection", with Pacific Island nations which are tourism dependent holding the ability to "capture the market that is eager to travel".

NZ Tourism Minister: Domestic travel growth 'not nearly enough' to fill role of international pax

New Zealand's (NZ) Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the country's domestic tourism market has increased 17%, however "that's obviously not nearly enough to ensure that we're actually able to make up for the loss of international tourism". Mr Nash said select South Island destinations have "a real reliance on international tourism". Mr Nash noted there are some destinations in New Zealand which are "designed quite well, it doesn't have the same reliance as national tourists and obviously with Kiwis unable to travel they actually saw a lot of New Zealanders".

Air Canada CCO forecasts 'meaningful' return of corporate travel by Sep-2022

Air Canada CCO Lucie Guillemette stated the carrier forecasts a "meaningful" return of corporate travel by the beginning of Sep-2022. Ms Guillemette noted the return won't be at 100% of pre-pandemic levels, however business travel is expected to increase in the lead up to Labor Day. Ms Guillemette stated the Canadian air travel market is currently "a very competitive market". Ms Guillemette noted an increase in low cost carriers within the market, which Air Canada will compete against. ULCC Lynx Air launched operations in Apr-2022, while Jetlines is on track to launch this summer.

Malaysia Airlines pax 30% better than forecast: CEO

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Izham Ismail stated the group was "fortunate to have a very collective decision not to retrench our people during the pandemic". Mr Izham said: "What we did was we reduced senior executive salaries to support the lower incomes... everybody is intact with us". He added: "We are now looking at 50%" capacity and the airline's passenger numbers are "30% better than our forecast".

US Travel Association CEO: Removal of pre-departure testing requirements a 'huge step forward'

US Travel Association (USTA) president and CEO Roger Dow stated the removal of pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound international travellers is a "huge step forward" for the recovery of international travel to the US. Mr Dow commended the Biden Administration on the move, which he added will "accelerate the recovery of the US travel industry". As previously reported by CAPA, USTA forecast international arrivals to increase by 5.4 million by the end of 2022, contributing USD9 billion to the tourism economy, if pre-departure testing requirements were to be eased in Jun-2022.

Virgin Australia 'currently seeing continued growth in travel demand for Gold Coast services': CEO

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka stated the carrier is "currently seeing continued growth in travel demand for Gold Coast services" and is "operating up to 180 domestic flights outbound each week". In May-2022, Virgin's Gold Coast bookings increased 55% compared to 2019, "with bookings on our existing Bali flights up 48% for the same period and growing every week".

Finnair CEO: Carrier to focus on the US and Southeast Asia due to Russian airspace closures

Finnair CEO Topi Manner stated the carrier will pivot its network to focus on the US and Southeast Asia, due to the impact of Russian airspace issues on its usual routing options. Mr Manner added the carrier "will need to resize the company" when it reviews its strategy, highlighting 10% of its capacity is being leased to Lufthansa and British Airways during summer 2022.

Cathay Pacific expects improved but still 'substantial' losses in 1H2022

Cathay Pacific chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam reiterated the group's consolidated losses in 1H2022, while "substantial", are expected to be lower than the consolidated losses reported in 1H2021. This was attributed to strong underlying cargo performance and cost management measures implemented over the past two years.

Lufthansa to consider bringing back A380s if demand picks up: CEO

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr stated the carrier may consider bringing its A380s back into service if demand picks up strongly. Lufthansa will return six A380s to Airbus from Oct-2022, and has plans to "part with the remaining eight".

AirAsia Malaysia CEO: India is a 'very important market'

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat stated India is "definitely a very, very important market". Mr Asmat added: "China, I'm not saying it's not, but at the current state, we have to work around what we have".

Rolls-Royce CEO predicts first 100% SAF trans Atlantic flight by end of 2023

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East predicted the first trans Atlantic flight powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will take place by the end of 2023. Mr East added Rolls-Royce is testing its engines to operate on unblended SAF.

Air Vanuatu not proceeding with A220 orders: CEO

Air Vanuatu CEO Atu Finau stated the airline "will not be proceeding with its order for three Airbus A220s". Mr Finau said the carrier is "looking at alternative options" as part of its fleet review. The carrier announced an order for two A220-100s and two A220-300s in Feb-2019, but cancelled one A220-300 in Aug-2021.

AerCap CEO: 'We are going to see strong levels of growth in Africa'

AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly stated African consumers are eager to travel, commenting: "In every country in the world we've seen a massive rebound... Africa is no different". Mr Kelly added: "The challenge is that it's mainly leisure traffic at the start, so the yields aren't as high as you would have with business traffic". He said Africa is "lagging behind" other regions such as Europe and the US in the pace of the recovery, but noted: "The trajectory is the same". Mr Kelly predicted: "We are going to see strong levels of growth in Africa", adding: "If we see the right moves by governments here, we will eventually open up this continent".