Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

9 December, 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.

New Zealand Tourism Minister: 'Airline capacity also continues to increase'

New Zealand's Tourism Minister Stuart Nash stated "Airline capacity also continues to increase and will average 70% of 2019 levels" over the summer period. Mr Nash stated: "We had over 151,000 overseas visitor arrivals in September alone which is a real boost for our tourism sector", adding "This injection to the economy is likely to increase as NZ welcomes more international visitors this summer".

United Airlines CEO: Business travel has 'plateaued', indicative of 'pre-recessionary behaviour'

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated business travel has "plateaued", adding this is "indicative of pre-recessionary behaviour". Mr Kirby noted the carrier is not experiencing symptoms of a recession, however forecast a "mild recession" induced by the US Federal Reserve. Mr Kirby noted overall revenue continues to rise due to strong demand and capacity constraints.

KLM CEO: Train is not a competitor if you're serious about reaching sustainability targets

KLM CEO Marjan Rintel called for partnership with rail companies stating that "if you're serious on reaching your sustainability goals, the train is not a competitor". Commenting on the aviation and rail sector, Ms Rintel said "we need to work together" and encouraged the company to "to develop the relationships with the Dutch railways, to see what we can do at short notice to motivate our customers to go by train to Brussels or Paris".

Air Chathams COO: 'One of the big challenges for businesses at the moment is retaining staff'

Air Chathams COO Duane Emeny said: "One of the big challenges for businesses at the moment is retaining staff" adding "You have to really look after your people". Mr Emeny said: "By maintaining those charters, we're busier than we ever were", noting the airline is required to be staffed adequately throughout "so many layers" of the carrier.

Norwegian CEO: Demand for air travel continues to be persistent

Norwegian reported load factor was 79.5% during Nov-2022, with routes to beach destinations in Southern Europe recording a load factor of close to 90% from Norway. CEO Geir Karlsen said that despite entering the "low season", demand for air travel "continues to be persistent". Mr Karlsen added the carrier has adjusted its capacity to meet the lower demand during winter 2022/2023, and hedged 15% of its estimated fuel consumption for 2023. Moving forward Mr Karlsen expects to "continue to see a pent-up demand for air travel, especially to sunny beach destinations".

Volaris CEO: Mexico likely to regain US FAA Category 1 safety status in 2023

Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena said the carrier is "well positioned to benefit" from Mexico's "likely return to FAA Category 1 status in 2023". Mr Beltranena added a return to Category 1 safety status will "enable additional routes to the US and drive further opportunities". The Mexican Government and US FAA recently agreed to work towards the restoration of Category 1 status by summer 2023.

Air Greenland 'beginning a new chapter' with A330-800neo

Air Greenland chairwoman Bodil Marie Damgaard stated the carrier is "beginning a new chapter" following the arrival of its new A330-800neo. National board chairman Múte B Egede labelled the aircraft "Air Greenland's biggest investment ever", adding it is "an important and necessary investment and perfect timing ahead of the opening of the new international airports in Nuuk and Ilulissat".

Capital A CEO: No planned merger between AirAsia Aviation Group and AirAsia X

Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes clarified there is no planned merger between Capital A's aviation arms and AirAsia X, stating: "We're just injecting AirAsia Group airlines into AirAsia X's listing status". Mr Fernandes said: "AirAsia X will be renamed AirAsia Aviation Group and it'll own six airlines". He noted AirAsia Aviation Group will own AirAsia Malaysia, Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia, AirAsia X Malaysia and Thai AirAsia X. Mr Fernandes stated: "As one company, we can take out a lot of the costs. But there will be separate operations", adding AirAsia Aviation Group would have 225 aircraft operated by each individual airlines after the consolidation.

IATA: Single European Sky plans 'forever thwarted' by politicians and strong unions

IATA senior VP and deputy director general Conrad Clifford provided an overview of European regulatory issues, noting the region is influential globally. Mr Clifford said the EU 'Fit for 55' initiative, that aims to reduce carbon emissions 55% by 2030, deserves credit but there is "devil in the detail". He said there are mandates for the use of sustainable aviation fuel when there is no SAF to buy, urging the EU to adopt a book and claim system that separates SAF supply from the EU target. Additionally, Mr Clifford said a proposal for a jet fuel tax would have "no environmental benefit whatsoever", noting the link between flights taxes and flying is "complicated". He stated a Single European Sky (SES) would have environmental benefits, with around 6% to 10% carbon emission savings available. Mr Clifford noted however that SES plans are "forever thwarted" by politicians and strong unions, stating: "We need to see a proper independent referee to regulate air navigation service providers and significant targets, including for fuel savings".

Belfast City George Best Airport CEO: Airport 'very different' compared with pre-pandemic

Belfast City George Best Airport CEO Matthew Hall said the airport is "having some good conversations with carriers about adding further capacity and frequencies on their networks within Great Britain, as well as to potential international destinations". Mr Hall noted the airport is "a very different airport now compared with before the pandemic" and "we concentrated on rebuilding our network to and from Great Britain and it now accounts for 20 of our 25 destinations". Mr Hall said that in the future Great Britain will still represent the largest portion of passengers at the airport, but added "EU point-to-point traffic is forecast to be a growth market".