Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

11 November, 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 chair: difficulty 'switching an industry back on after it has been frozen... is still clear'

Qantas Group chairman Richard Goyder stated: "The difficulty of switching an industry back on after it has been frozen for over two years is still clear to see at airports and airlines around the world". Mr Goyder said Qantas "is already largely back to pre-COVID levels of service", noting it is "a testament to our people".

Air New Zealand 'we’re hopeful for smoother skies' with warmer weather

Air New Zealand COO Alex Marren said the carrier has "worked hard to bring our cancellation rate down from this year's winter peak". Ms Marren said: "This includes hiring more aircrew and ground staff, and bringing on more aircraft to boost capacity – whether that's through new A321s, reviving our 777s, or doing a wet lease with Wamos Air". Ms Marren also said as the seasons produce warmer weather, "we're hopeful for smoother skies, but we're having to caveat this given how busy our schedule will be over summer and that disruptions can happen out of the blue".

UNWTO: ‘Window of opportunity’ created by the pandemic to transform tourism sector ‘will not stay open forever’

UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reported global tourism is at around 70% of pre-pandemic levels. UNWTO secretary general Zurab Pololikashvili said the "window of opportunity" created by the pandemic to transform the tourism sector "will not stay open forever". Mr Pololikashvili stated: "We need to rethink tourism: as a provider of jobs, an economic pillar, and... as a solution to the climate emergency".

IATA DG: ‘Demand for air transport continues to recover ground’; China remains the 'outlier'

IATA director general Willie Walsh stated: "Even with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the demand for air transport continues to recover ground. The outlier is still China with its pursuit of a zero COVID strategy keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market". Mr Walsh commented: "Strong demand is helping the industry cope with sky high fuel prices. To support that demand in the long term, we need to pay attention to what travellers are telling us". He added: "Travellers want simplification and convenience. That's an important message for airlines but also for airports and governments".

Capital A CEO: AirAsia to add 20 aircraft; getting slots ‘a big challenge’

Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes said AirAsia plans to add 20 aircraft to its fleet. Mr Fernandes noted with a group fleet of 225 aircraft: "Getting slots, and obviously getting them ready for service, has been a big challenge".

Sydney Airport CEO: 'We’re around 80% recovered' of pre coronavirus domestic traffic levels

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said: "We're around 80% recovered on domestic, and around 65% recovered on international" traffic levels. Mr Culbert said there are hopes for international to be fully recovered by "the back end of 2023 and 2024". Mr Culbert said there is an "intense" global competition between capital cities and airports for airlines to serve the cities.

Virgin Atlantic Airways sees '100% uplift in applicants' following gender policy update

Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Shai Weiss reported the carrier as seen "a 100% uplift in applicants" following the removal of its requirement for crew, pilots and ground staff to wear gendered uniforms. Mr Weiss added that the move has been a "tremendous" boost in the current labour market. The carrier launched the updated gender identity policy on 28-Sep-2022.

IndiGo CEO: Supply chain issues 'impacted our ability to fully deploy capacity productively' in Q2

IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers, commenting on the LCC's Q2FY2023 financial results, stated "One of the key after-effects of the pandemic in the aviation industry are the supply chain disruptions in aircraft manufacturing and subsequent shortage of spare engines worldwide". Mr Elbers confirmed this "affected our operations due to grounding of aircraft and has impacted our ability to fully deploy capacity productively". He said IndiGo is "looking at various options to mitigate the shortfalls in our capacity deployment such as slowing down the redeliveries, exploring introduction of aircraft into the fleet and adding capacity on ACMI basis".

Qantas Group CEO: Qantas Frequent Flyer 'has been a top performer throughout the past few years'

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated the Group is "investing heavily in IT", with "new kiosks across our network, new scanners and terminals for our airport staff". Mr Joyce said: "We've also made big improvements to the Qantas app", with plans to invest in Qantas Freight as well as to invest "heavily in the number of seats available for Frequent Flyers… so they can more easily use their points". Mr Joyce said Qantas Loyalty "has been a top performer throughout the past few years", with plans to keep it growing through its continued expansion into financial services, hotel bookings and successful integration of the TripADeal online holiday package business.

Dublin Airport to reach 85% of 2019 traffic in 2022: Interim CEO

daa interim CEO Catherine Gubbins reported Dublin Airport is expected to reach 85% of 2019 pre-pandemic traffic levels in 2022, compared to initial expectations of approximately 70%-75%. Ms Gubbins stated: "In the short term, we are optimistic about next year despite all the macroeconomic indicators... I think with the operational challenges we've seen this year we're definitely planning for [a strong 2023]".

TAANZ CEO: 'must make the transition to becoming a high trust consumer brand'

Travel Agents' Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) CEO Greg Hamilton said TAANZ "must make the transition to becoming a high trust consumer brand", noting it "needs to be the trusted travel consumer advocate". Mr Hamilton said TAANZ must "rebuild and enhance" the TAANZ accreditation programme, as well as examine the possibility of consumer insurance which is owned by the body.