Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

7 October, 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.

Tourism Australia country manager Singapore: 'Consumer sentiments, while cautious, remain strong'

Tourism Australia (TA) country manager Singapore Ann Lim, via Tourism Australia's official website, stated "life in Singapore right now is pretty much back" to a "pre-COVID situation", highlighting the easing of travel restrictions since Apr-2022. Ms Lim stated: "Consumer sentiments, while cautious, remain strong", with a continued "desire for travel". Ms Lim added: "With rising inflation, cost has overtaken health concerns as key factor impacting travel planning".

Iberia CEO emphasises focus on 'high value' US market

Iberia CEO Javier Sánchez-Prieto underlined the importance of Spain "betting on a higher quality tourism model", having previously "lived of a bulk tourism model". Mr Sánchez-Prieto stated the carrier is increasingly focused on more "high value markets such as the American market" and said "it is a customer profile capable of travelling more in business cabins and that provides greater value". Mr Sánchez-Prieto added the US can not be targeted through a traditional promotion approach and noted that to achieve greater penetration in the US market the carrier is "investing in new aircraft and in everything that has to do with digital commerce".

New Zealand's Tourism Minister: 'We've got a new vision for tourism'

New Zealand's Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said: "We've got a new vision for tourism", noting that New Zealand's "goal is to be one of the top three aspirational destinations for the world's most discerning travellers. Mr Nash said when we talk about "high-quality tourists", it's people who plan to stay for about 10 days and spend a bit of money… They understand our values and they live those values before coming to New Zealand".

SAS CEO: Future focus will have to include leisure segment

SAS CEO Anko van der Werff, in an interview with Bloomberg, stated the group has observed that "business is coming back", noting in particular a return of the "corporate client" who Mr van der Werff labelled its "bread and butter". Mr van der Werff stated however that the group must ensure its "cost base is competitive" in order to capitalise on growing segments such as leisure. Mr van der Werff added the group's future focus will also have to include the leisure market, noting the segment is currently outpacing business and corporate growth.

Ryanair Group CEO: Government policies 'could bankrupt the UK economy in the next couple of years'

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary commented on the UK Government's recent tax policies and the decreasing value of the pound, stating he believes the government's financial policies "could bankrupt the UK economy in the next couple of years". Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson added the airline is "ready and willing" to transfer aircraft and capacity to other European locations if economic conditions in the UK continue to "reduce the demand for low-cost air travel".

American Airlines JetBlue alliance necessary to mitigate financial impact of COVID-19: CEO

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom, testifying in US Department of Justice's (DoJ) lawsuit against American and JetBlue Airways' Northeast Alliance, stated COVID-19 was a "mortal threat" to the carrier's survival. Mr Isom attributed its alliance with JetBlue to the impact of the pandemic, noting American was "haemorrhaging cash" in 2020, losing over USD100 million daily. Mr Isom testified he authorised American Airlines executives to focus "fast and hard" on airline partnerships to ensure a smooth post-COVID-19 recovery.

Flyr CEO: ‘I has taken longer than expected to build loyalty’ among Norwegian domestic business travellers

Flyr CEO Tonje Wikstrøm Frislid stated the carrier has "experienced satisfactory demand" on routes to European holiday destinations, however noted: "It has taken longer than expected to build loyalty among business travellers on domestic routes in Norway". Ms Wikstrøm Frislid said "incumbent carriers maintain large market shares" on the business travel routes, while the development of solutions for distribution through travel agencies "has also taken too long". Ms Wikstrøm Frislid added "it has not been to our advantage" that the Norwegian Government has "contributed billions of NOK in COVID-19 related financial aid to our main competitors".

WWF South Africa: Local SAF production 'key to decarbonising South Africa's aviation industry'

WWF South Africa energy analyst and project officer Farai Chireshe stated a local sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry "could be a pillar of South Africa's low carbon economy". Mr Chireshe said: "Investment in local SAF production is key to decarbonising South Africa's aviation industry and will have several ecological benefits". He also said a SAF industry could help address unemployment, poverty and inequality. Mr Chireshe noted that using invasive species as biomass for SAF production "would result in large scale clearing activities, with multiple ecological benefits and the creation of thousands of jobs".

easyJet CEO: Things look 'pretty bad' for certain airlines during winter 2022/2023

easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said he believes things look "pretty bad" for certain airlines during winter 2022/2023 and he expects airline failures may occur, following a period of COVID-19 affected economic downturn. Mr Lundgren stated: "There are going to be some airlines which will have a very tricky situation ahead of them".

US DoT Secretary: ICAO members must act collectively to strengthen CORSIA

US Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking at the 41st session of the ICAO General Assembly, stated ICAO members must act collectively to strengthen CORSIA and widely adopt a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Mr Buttigieg reported the US' climate change efforts, including approving the largest investment against climate change in history in Aug-2022, will catalyse the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The country aims to produce sufficient SAF to power all US aviation by 2050. The US also recently released its SAF 'Grand Challenge Roadmap', outlining steps and strategies to take to achieve the goal.

Plans for new Ghanaian national carrier 'far advanced': Minister

Ghana's Minister for Transport Kwaku Ofori Asiamah stated plans to establish a new national carrier are "far advanced". Mr Asiamah confirmed the proposed airline will be established in partnership with a strategic investor. He also confirmed that Kumasi Airport and Tamale Airport are being upgraded to international status.