Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

24 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.

Qantas Group CEO: 'We are seeing really strong demand internationally across the board'

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: "We are seeing really strong demand internationally across the board", which is assisting the group to "recover oil prices in the international market". Mr Joyce said within the domestic market, "we may need a little less capacity in the market to get that recovery and we are working through that at the moment".

Air New Zealand chief people officer: 'It's more difficult now to attract candidates'

Air New Zealand chief people officer Nikki Dines said the carrier is in "a period of low unemployment". Ms Dines said: "It's more difficult now to attract candidates, so that combination of high volumes of recruitment and a much more competitive labour market means that we wanted to go out with a really attractive offering to candidates". Within the next four months, the carrier seeks to fill 250 airport roles.

Lufthansa CEO: Travel resumption 'a wonderful problem' despite staff and infrastructure shortages

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated the travel restart following the COVID-19 came "later" and "steeper" than expected, but welcomed travellers' desire to reconnect. Mr Spohr labelled the resumption "a wonderful problem to deal with" following two years of grounded operations, despite shortages in staff and infrastructure.

ACI World: air transport industry ‘never been more united’

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira responded to statements by IATA on airport charges. ACI World said the air transport industry "has never been more united".

Emirates president: Surge in demand likely to remain through 2024 despite rising interest rates

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said he anticipates high demand for travel to continue "probably for the next 18 months to two years". Sir Tim added rising interest rates are unlikely to diminish built up demand, stating as long as capacity is restricted and demand remains unmet "demand will reign strong... It will be manageable, irrespective of interest rates".

ITA Airways CEO expects decision on partner 'in the next few weeks'

Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA Airways) CEO Fabio Lazzerini stated the Italian Government will likely choose a partner for ITA "in the next few weeks". In addition, the carrier outlined it expects its workforce to comprise approximately 3000 staff by Sep-2022.

Avianca CEO: New business model will serve our region's needs better

Avianca CEO Adrian Neuhauser, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated the company will "address the needs of the markets we serve much better than we used to", following the carrier's emergence from Chapter 11 restructuring. Mr Neuhauser said: "If you think about who used to fly in our region, it was a relatively small, wealthy segment of the market. As flying has become a more critical part of everybody's daily needs, a much broader segment of the population needs to fly, and we need to address that by providing more efficient, lower cost and simpler products". Mr Neuhauser added that Avianca's new business model is expected to reduce costs excluding fuel by around 40%.

Thai AirAsia X rehabilitation plan 'progressing smoothly': CEO

Thai AirAsia X CEO Patima Jeerapaet stated the carrier's rehabilitation plan is "progressing smoothly" and will allow the airline to improve operational management. The carrier expects 300,000 passengers for 2H2022, contributing to an average passenger load factor of over 85%. The airline expects to operate a fleet of five aircraft by the end 2022.

TAP Air Portugal CEO identifies digital opportunities following COVID-19 pandemic

TAP Air Portugal CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated the carrier has identified opportunities in the digital space following the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Ourmières-Widener said "customers want to be free to have the capacity to do everything online or on their mobiles", and added it provides a chance for carriers "to rethink the customer experience".

United Airlines CEO: Airlines must slowly rebuild capacity 'even when demand is robust'

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated airlines must slowly rebuild capacity "even when demand is robust". Mr Kirby explained it is not possible to ramp up the carrier's schedule "overnight" while also doing "the right thing for customers". As previously reported by CAPA, Mr Kirby reported United's current capacity is down 13% from 2019 levels, despite increased travel demand.

Air France-KLM CEO targets 75% repayment of state aid as 'next step'

Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith stated the "next step" for the group is repaying at least 75% of the state aid it has received, in order to be in a position to make future investments. Mr Smith stated the group is "in a better financial position even compared to a month ago".

airBaltic CEO: Business impact of Ukraine conflict was offset

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated the carrier offset the business impact of the Ukraine conflict by wet leasing aircraft and launching new services. Mr Gauss said: "We're actually surprised with the forward bookings coming in". He noted the carrier would like to return to the affected Eastern Europe markets.

Ryanair Group CEO: Brexit has 'introduced enormous labour market inflexibility in the UK'

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary said he expects ongoing operational issues to continue "right throughout summer", particularly at London Gatwick Airport and London Heathrow Airport. Mr O'Leary said the issues are "the by-products" of COVID-19 lockdowns and mismanagement from the UK Government in relation to Brexit, adding: "If we can't attract people to do those jobs like baggage handling, like security at the airport, we're going to have to bring in workers, whether it's from Ireland or from continental Europe to do them... And Brexit is one of the big bugbears in the system - it has introduced enormous labour market inflexibility in the UK".

IATA director general: Coordination needed to better serve customers with mobility issues

IATA director general Willie Walsh, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated airports and airlines need to work closely together on services for customers with mobility issues. Mr Walsh said: "We've all let these customers down. I can't blame the airports without acknowledging that airlines haven't done as good a job as we need to do". Mr Walsh noted: "There are a lot of initiatives, what we need to do is make sure that they're joined up". Mr Walsh said a coordinated response is needed.

WestJet will 'overachieve' 25 by 2025 female representation goal: CEO

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech, speaking at the IATA AGM, stated he believes the carrier will "overachieve" the 25 by 2025 goal, which aims to improve female representation in the aviation industry to at least 25%. Mr von Hoensbroech noted the goal is "more than necessary", as the female population on the management level is "thoroughly underrepresented".

Airbus CEO reports progress on resolving A350 dispute with Qatar Airways

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury reported the manufacturer is communicating with Qatar Airways to resolve the dispute regarding the carrier's A350 aircraft. Mr Faury stated: "There's progress in the sense that we are communicating; we are working with each other. I think we share the view that a settlement would be a better way forward, but as long as you don't have an agreement, you have no agreement". Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker stated goodwill from Airbus will be needed to resolve the companies' legal dispute.