Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

8 July, 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.

Malaysia Airlines CEO: 'We're bullish on the future but cautious'

Malaysia Airlines CEO Izham Ismail stated: "The cash balance that we created last year, and now, should be able to withstand us to weather the economic downturn". Mr Izham said: "We're very cognisant that there's a potential recession coming into play. But while things are good, we need to accumulate cash". He stated: "We're bullish on the future but cautious. We always keep an eye on the downside", adding the carrier's capacity today is 50% with plans for this to increase by 4Q2022 to 76% vs 2019.

Boeing CEO: Economic slowdown could be 'helpful'

Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun commented on the possibility of an economic slowdown, stating: "Slowing things down a bit I think will be helpful". Mr Calhoun noted Boeing competes with other industries in areas such as IT and said: "In those instances, if we see a softening of demand it will be helpful to us with respect to the retention of our people as well as the recruitment of new people to deal with growth". Mr Calhoun commented on the recovery in global travel, stating: "By all appearances, it looks sustainable". Mr Calhoun added: "It's really supply trying to keep up with demand".

Solomon Airlines CEO: Airline facing many challenges to restore pre pandemic frequencies

Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers said it will take "a couple of years" for the airline to restore pre COVID-19 domestic and international frequencies. Mr Gebers stated the carrier is facing "many challenges beyond our control", including the condition of airports, runways and navigation aids and the rising price of aviation fuel. He added: "We will pay very close attention to utilisation of our services, seats, and cargo space and we will continue to adjust as required. We have little influence over many of the factors which determine our daily operating costs. However, we will continue to seek ways to contain costs, increase fuel efficiencies and find better ways to fly so that in the future we can offer more reliable and affordable domestic air services". Solomon Airlines recently announced a new international schedule effective 01-Aug-2022, reintroducing regular services between Solomon Islands and Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati, and connections to partner airline services from New Zealand, Asia and the US.

SAS CEO calls for unions to 'engage constructively' in bankruptcy protection process

SAS president and CEO Anko van der Werff stated ongoing strikes have made an" already challenging situation even tougher" but expects SAS' voluntary filing for the US Chapter 11 process to provide the legal tools to accelerate its transformation while continuing to "operate the business as usual". Mr van der Werff added SAS plans to "continue to build back the network connectivity, products and service our customers expect... throughout this process and beyond".

'There should be some incentives' for airlines 'who invest in technology': easyJet

easyJet group markets and marketing director Thomas Haagensen said "there should be some incentives" for airlines "who invest in technology" to meet the challenge of sustainability in aviation. Mr Haagensen also said that when there are "totally clean aircraft flying in short range" by 2035, there should be "a regulatory framework and a European incentive system that rewards good practices", adding: "There are countries that impose climatic taxes on airlines and it would not make sense for an airline that invested heavily in renewing its fleet to pay the same as another that did not. There must be a regulatory framework that helps accelerate the decarbonisation of the industry".

Austrian Airlines CEO: Priority is to find a long term solution for the long haul fleet

Austrian Airlines CEO Annette Mann stated the carrier's priority is finding a long term solution for its long haul fleet, and expects "a lot will happen in the Austrian Airlines fleet in this decade". Ms Mann hopes the airline will not require temporary wet leasing solutions, but noted it could be a possibility "if the aircraft market gets more complicated" in the future. Ms Mann also added the first of the A320neos ordered should arrive in Nov-2022. The aircraft will be operated by the carrier on continental flights and initially on routes to London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

Ryanair Group CEO expects increase in average fare

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary expects the average Ryanair fare to increase from EUR40 to between EUR50 and EUR60 in the medium term, as a result of high oil prices and environmental charges. Mr O'Leary said air travel became "too cheap". Mr O'Leary considers fares will remain structurally higher for the next four or five years.

CemAir CEO: Airfares to increase further to support 'sustainable and investible airline industry'

CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen commented on airfares in South Africa, stating: "I believe there's probably a need to increase a little more". Mr van der Molen said: "We have a huge cost base increase with record high fuel prices and various other costs have increased. So the fares have risen, but I think there's probably more room for them to increase before you have a properly sustainable and investible airline industry". He added: "We see the market stabilising, fares going up, airlines being able to move to a more predictable phase than we've seen in the last two years".

Sky Express CCO calls for aviation sector to create an 'attractive' working environment

Sky Express chief commercial officer Gerasimos Skaltsas stated the aviation sector must "become attractive" for young people again by offering satisfactory jobs, a healthy working environment, good salaries, and opportunities for development. Mr Skaltsas highlighted the carrier has implemented initiatives in this regard, having created new job openings and returning salaries to pre-pandemic levels. Mr Skaltsas added he is optimistic about the 2022 tourist season, but called for immediate and coordinated actions within the industry ensure the increase in demand is not temporary.

NAS COO: High fuel prices are 'a threat to overall recovery'

National Aviation Services (NAS) group COO Burak Kurt reported high fuel prices are having a "significant impact" on NAS' airline customers. Mr Kurt commented: "Although we see that travel demand is in a recovery trend, I assume that the price of jet fuel will be a threat to overall recovery in the future as well".

Globalia president: Air Europe will not be sold off at a loss

Globalia president Juan Jose Hidalgo stated Air Europa "will not be sold off at a loss" and highlighted that the carrier is up to date with payments and "at peace with everyone". Mr Hidalgo added the carrier "has a huge future" and "will already make money" in 2022. Mr Hidalgo previously said Air Europa had sufficient margin to support itself until 2026, while it searches for a partner.

Fraport CEO: Frankfurt Airport disruptions to continue through summer 2022

Fraport CEO Dr Stefan Schulte said disruptions at Frankfurt Airport are likely to continue through summer 2022 due to staff shortages. Dr Schulte said Fraport has hired nearly 1000 new ground services staff, but that the situation will not improve in the short term due to the levels of demand. The airport plans to reduce cargo operations during peak traffic hours until the end of Aug-2022, due to ground handling staff shortages.

Astral Aviation CEO sees 'immense' potential for large cargo drones in Africa

Astral Aviation CEO Sanjeev Gadhia stated the carrier will acquire one cargo drone with a payload of 3.8 tons. The airline plans to acquire additional drones and Mr Gadhia said Astral is "focusing on the induction of large cargo drones in our fleet, as the potential to operate large cargo drones in Africa, for mid mile and last mile delivery is immense".