Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

29 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.

Corporate Traveller: business travel confidence is on the rise

Corporate Traveller stated data shows a steady increase in international bookings as New Zealand travel restrictions ease, with its international air sales now sitting at roughly 65% of pre coronavirus volume. Corporate Traveller New Zealand GM Keeley Alton said the high demand shouldn't be underestimated, considering the limited flights in and out of New Zealand, noting "Airline capacity is currently only at about 40 per cent, which means there are fewer flight options and subsequently more expensive airfares". Based on Apr-2022 and May-2022 data, compared to the same period in 2019, domestic airfares are up 16% and international airfares are up by almost 60%. The company has also seen a surge in new customers that were previously DIY travel bookers, proving the value businesses are placing in the travel advice model during a time when travel is more complex than before.

Flight Centre Travel Group CEO: There is a 'shortage of… people coming back' in travel industry

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) CEO and MD Graham Turner said following employment redundancies during coronavirus within the travel industry, there is now a "shortage of… people coming back". Mr Turner said Australia has "generally" been more impacted by coronavirus than overseas destinations, however, the trend is not solely an "Australia problem".

Aer Lingus CEO: 'Our preparedness was not matched by airports and ground handlers'

Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton reported the carrier planned to operate 8353 services in Jun-2022 and "got away all but 223", a cancellation rate of 1.8%. Ms Embleton said the airline is "incredibly frustrated with the operational disruptions this summer" and that it had "built in appropriate buffers to deal with a reasonable level of additional disruption", adding: "Our preparedness was however not matched by airports and ground handlers where there was a failure to adequately resource for summer 2022 operations. If every airport and handling agent was as prepared as Aer Lingus we would not be facing the scale of challenges we currently face across our network".

London Heathrow Airport CEO: Daily passenger cap could remain until summer 2023

London Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport's daily passenger cap could extend into summer 2023 if airline do not increase investment in ground handling staff. Mr Holland-Kaye stated capacity constraints could last "12 to 18 months". The airport recently stated airline ground handlers are operating with 70% of pre pandemic resources, with no increase in staffing since Jan-2022.

Australia's Government working on a 'range of projects' for tourism

Australia's Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell stated "we are working with the industry to try and resolve as many of the problems" that the aviation industry is "currently working through", adding "the pandemic isn't gone yet". Mr Farrell said Australia's Government also has "range of projects that we're working on at the moment" for tourism, adding "My job, again, is to make them feel confident to be able to travel and to ensure that we get back to as close as normal as we possibly can in as quick a time as we possibly can".

Airbus CEO: Supply chain issues are 'bad everywhere'

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury commented on supply chain issues, stating: "It's bad everywhere... The global supply chains have real difficulties to operate normally and it's not just an aerospace issue". Mr Faury said the issues may take months to resolve, but added: "We have difficulties to believe that in two years from now it's not going to be resolved". He also said: "The depth and magnitude of what's happening is more than what we've seen in previous crises".

GE CEO: Resolving aerospace supply chain issues may take 18 months

GE chairman and CEO and GE Aviation CEO Larry Culp commented on aerospace supply chain issues, stating: "I don't think this can be solved overnight". Mr Culp added: "It may take 18 months for everyone to catch up".

Frontier Airlines expresses disappointment in failed Spirit merger, 'well-positioned for the future'

Frontier Airlines board of directors chair William A Franke expressed the carrier's "disappointed that Spirit Airlines shareholders failed to recognise the value and consumer potential inherent in our proposed combination". Mr Franke noted remains well-positioned to deliver "significant" value to shareholders. The carrier stated it will be "unmatched" as the leading US ULCC as JetBlue Airways seeks "to convert Spirit Airlines into a high-cost airline", rendering Frontier's fares "even more attractive".

easyJet to reach 90% of 4Q2019 capacity in 4Q2022: CEO

easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren projected capacity for the three months ended 30-Sep-2022 (4Q2022) will reach 90% of 4Q2019 pre-pandemic levels. The carrier's 4Q2022 schedule is 71% booked, with sold ticket yield 13% above 4Q2019 levels. Mr Lundgren said the carrier is targeting "load factors... above 90%" in 4Q2022, adding: "We have taken action to build the additional resilience needed this summer and the operation has now normalised".

IATA: African airlines 'are once again being pushed to the brink'

IATA regional VP for Africa and the Middle East Kamil Al-Awadhi stated African airlines and airports "are not experiencing the same chaos as many of the big northern hemisphere gateways", but are still impacted due to their dependence on north-south traffic flows. Mr Al-Awadhi stated: "For most African carriers, this is an arduous journey with no relief or support from any of the continent's governments". He added: "Those African airlines that have survived COVID are once again being pushed to the brink". Mr Al-Awadhi said the situation for African carriers is compounded by issues such as high fuel prices, rising charges for infrastructure and other services and foreign exchange shortages in some countries.