Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

2 September, 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.

FCTG corporate MD Australia/NZ: 'corporate volumes are well exceeding our expectations'

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) corporate MD Australia and New Zealand Melissa Elf stated: "Asia is proving slow to return with China still locked down", as well as Japan being "very restricted", however, "other than that, corporate volumes are well exceeding our expectations, especially in Australia, where business travellers are busting to get back on the road". Ms Elf noted that the corporate business of Flight Centre Travel Group has reached 89% of pre-coronavirus levels.

Australia's Trade Minister: 'I think tourism in this country has been the worst hit of any industry'

Australia's Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell stated "I think tourism in this country has been the worst hit of any industry, and if we're honest about it, they'll probably be the last to come out of the problems", adding "They have got lots of labour shortage issues and that's really making it difficult for a lot of companies to return to profitability". Mr Farrell noted: "I'm confident that as time goes by, we can turn this around and we can get all of those international tourists back in Australia. They want to come. They're still interested in coming; all our research tells us that, but we have got to deal with those issues".

FCTG CEO: Christmas expected to be 'the turning point where things... are pretty much up to normal'

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) MD and CEO Graham Turner said: "Christmas will be the turning point where things... are pretty much up to normal for a really busy season". Mr Turner added "the demand is enormous at the moment".

Qantas Group 'ended up getting very little government support': Group CEO

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline "ended up getting very little government support", adding "with people being stood out or not having employment from the airlines, a lot of people left the industry". Mr Joyce noted schedules which were in place for coronavirus recovery has been impacted due to "this big wave of Covid", adding "with some aircraft doing eight sectors a day, when you get a problem in the morning with somebody not turning up that impacts all eight sectors during the day".

TAP Air Portugal CEO: Passengers more demanding since COVID-19 pandemic

TAP Air Portugal CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener stated passengers are "more demanding and more aware" than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Ourmières-Widener said: "We still have legacy systems and we have to change some of them... we are investing in our website and cyber security". She added that digital consolidation is "something we are serious about".

Tourism Australia regional GM UK and Northern Europe: 'life feels close to normal'

Tourism Australia regional GM UK and Northern Europe Sally Cope stated "life feels close to normal" in the UK, as coronavirus related restrictions have been removed. Ms Cope noted the "cost of living crisis is starting to bite", with the Ukraine conflict not impacting "consumer confidence around travel", however "it is contributing to the rise of cost of living, through rising energy costs and the shock to the economy".

EUROCONTROL DG: 'Most big airports are still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels'

EUROCONTROL director general Eamonn Brennan stated "Most big airports are still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels". Mr Brennan stated compared to 2019 pre-coronavirus traffic, Munich Airport traffic is down 27%, Frankfurt Airport traffic is down 23% and London Heathrow Airport traffic is down 19%.

OIAA CEO: Ottawa International Airport won't recover pre-pandemic traffic until 2Q2023

Ottawa International Airport Authority (OIAA) president and CEO Mark Laroche said Ottawa International Airport won't fully recover its 2019 pre-pandemic passenger traffic until 2Q2023 at the earliest. Mr Laroche said that whilst the airport is seeing "some business travel" return, it has yet to reach "the same level as before", adding: "I'm not saying that people shouldn't use technology, but we're looking forward to business travel getting back... We're not in financial distress, but we're still not out of the woods. We're hoping for a strong fall. We're still not satisfied with where we are".

Ryanair Group CEO: European short haul market to 'lag behind' pre-pandemic traffic in 2023 and 2024

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary projected the European short haul market will "probably lag behind" 2019 pre-pandemic traffic levels in 2023 and 2024, owing to rising inflation and the possibility of a recession. Mr O'Leary said the LCC will "grow stronger in a recession as we have in every other recession heretofore", adding: "People will not stop flying. They have to fly for work, to see family, and lots have been locked up for two years… People are on the move again. We're poised to be the beneficiaries".

IATA: Finance to 'play a huge role' in driving sustainability initiatives

IATA assistant director sustainability Jon Godson stated finance "will play a huge role" in driving aviation industry sustainability initiatives by "ensuring that projects are properly measured and accounted for, and providing a supportive investment framework". Mr Godson added: "Although airlines will be able to secure finance to drive net zero initiatives, improved sustainability performance will yield multiple benefits for airlines, including access to preferential green finance instruments".

LATAM Airlines director of sales and marketing: Corporate travel recovering better than expected

LATAM Airlines Brasil director of sales and marketing Aline Mafra stated corporate travel is recovering "better than we expected". Ms Mafra added international travel is at 70% of pre pandemic levels, while domestic is at 107%.

Aeroflot CEO: Situation is positive and stable

Aeroflot CEO Sergei Aleksandrovsky stated the situation is "quite positive and stable" especially in 2022. Mr Aleksandrovsky said: "We continue flying thanks to state support measures". Mr Aleksandrovsky said the carrier received RUB50 billion (EUR834.52 million) in subsidies for passenger services and RUB15 billion (EUR250.35 million) was approved for the return of Aeroflot Group tickets. Aeroflot Group and Aeroflot's authorised capital will also be increased to cover debt under letters of credit. Mr Aleksandrovsky stated: "I believe these measures are sufficient, effective and all Aeroflot Group needs. We have received all the necessary support from the state".

Avelo Airlines expanding internationally 'highly likely': CEO

Avelo Airlines CEO Andrew Levy stated the carrier expanding internationally is "highly likely". Mr Levy suggested Avelo may operate services to destinations including Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas from its Tweed New Haven hub, all of which have US Customs and Border Protection Preclearance available. Mr Levy noted Tweed New Haven's lack of customs facilities, stating preclearance destinations would allow passengers to clear inspections in the foreign country and arrive back in New Haven as a domestic flight.

Webjet chair: Recovery from coronavirus 'well underway'

Webjet chair Roger Sharp stated "After two and half years of hard work it is gratifying to see the recovery" from the coronavirus pandemic is "well underway". Mr Sharp added: "Our view is that consumers' desire to travel will continue stronger than ever, notwithstanding the many economic obstacles the world faces at present".