Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

25 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.

AirAsia X 'cautiously optimistic' on return to China in near future

AirAsia X chairman Mahmood Fawzy stated the group's network strategy will demonstrate "vigorous growth" as it returns to more key markets, adding routes to Australia, South Korea and India "are just the beginning". Mr Mahmood said the lifting of travel restrictions in most key markets have enabled a return to more destinations, including those in Japan and Saudi Arabia. He said: "We look forward to catering to the significant consumer demand for our return to services in these markets and many more coming soon". Mr Mahmood noted he is "cautiously optimistic" about a return to China in the near future. By the end of 2022, the company expects to reach over 15 hours of aircraft utilisation and daily frequencies to core markets will be introduced for selected routes with high demand.

IATA director general: 'We still see a path to profitability'

IATA director general Willie Walsh stated IATA continues to expect the overall airline industry to return to profitability in 2023. Regarding IATA's financial projections, Mr Walsh said: "We still see a path to profitability. We'll review it, but I don't see a major revision". Passenger traffic is expected to continue to recover and return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024. Still, Mr Walsh forecasts a slowdown in the aviation market in Europe and particularly the UK. He said airlines will face "business as usual challenges", adding: "Airlines will take measures to try and stimulate demand through pricing".

Air India in 'deep discussion' with Boeing and Airbus over 'historic order': CEO

Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson said the carrier is "in deep discussion with Boeing, Airbus and engine manufacturers" for a "historic order" of new generation aircraft. Mr Wilson also said the carrier is seeking to restore certain grounded aircraft and has entered lease agreements for an additional 30 aircraft to be delivered over the next 12 months, with negotiations taking place for further aircraft leases.

Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO: 'It's going to be a tough 2023'

Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Shai Weiss said he is "very cautious for 2023" with regards to travel demand, citing "the price of energy" and inflation. Mr Weiss reported the carrier will exceed 2019 pre-pandemic revenue figures in 2022, owing largely to "revenge travel" from passengers following COVID-19 lockdowns and associated travel restrictions, adding: "It's going to be a tough 2023... I don't want to give any other sentiments other than cautious".

American Airlines CEO: Post-pandemic passenger demand 'more spread out'

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom stated passenger demand is "more spread out", noting carriers "don't have the ability to peak and valley as much as we've had in the past". Mr Isom added demand remains "really high" post-COVID-19.

There is 'no doubt' the UK economy, staffing issues have been impacted by Brexit: MAG CEO

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) CEO Charlie Cornish said that there is "no doubt" the UK economy has been damaged by Brexit and that it has "massively exacerbated" staffing issues. Mr Cornish added: "We do need the UK government to look at how to actually get a sensible economic growth plan back, with aviation at the centre of that... How are we going to solve the Brexit-related disruption? If you look at the economic recovery in the EU, they're much further ahead of the UK. Nobody's going to be able to say that's not due to Brexit".

ALA: Aviation tax would harm air travel accessibility

Spain's Association of Airlines (ALA) president Javier Gándara warned aviation taxes on fuel or tickets will stop air travel from being an accessible means of transport for most people. Mr Gándara added the taxes will be to the detriment of the economy and employment without contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Mr Gándara requested the Spanish Government therefore veto the EU Council's proposal for a fuel tax, in favour of proposals which effectively reduce CO2 emissions without an impact on the tourism industry.

Jet2 plc chairman: Summer 2023 seat capacity projected to increase 5% year-on-year

Jet2 plc executive chairman Philip Meeson stated summer 2023 seat capacity is forecasted to increase by 5% year-on-year, and 20% compared to 2019 levels. Mr Meeson noted early stage bookings are "encouraging" with average load factors in line with summer 2019 levels and pricing "strong".