Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

6 January, 2023

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.

IATA: Reinstatement of COVID-19 measures for travellers from China is 'extremely disappointing'

IATA director general Willie Walsh commented on the reintroduction of COVID-19 testing and other measures in several countries for travellers from China. Mr Walsh stated: "It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years". He added: "Governments should listen to the advice of experts, including the WHO, that advise against travel restrictions. We have the tools to manage COVID-19 without resorting to ineffective measures that cut off international connectivity, damage economies and destroy jobs". Mr Walsh also urged China's Government to remove the need for pre-departure COVID-19 testing for travel to China.

Korean Air’s Asiana acquisition at ‘last stage’: CEO

Korean Air chairman and CEO Walter Cho confirmed the company plans to successfully complete its acquisition of Asiana Airlines in 2023. Mr Cho added: "We are in the last stage with the remaining overseas competition authorities reviewing the merger". He said the carrier also needs to identify in advance customers' preferred destinations and services, and analyse "when and where to add operations as well as which services to enhance".

Jetstar Group CEO: Oil price to be 'the big unknown' factor in 2023

Jetstar Group CEO Stephanie Tully stated higher airfares in Australia and the rest of the world are driven by the high price of oil, strong travel demand and capacity constraints. Ms Tully said the price of oil will be "the big unknown" in 2023. She predicted: "Over the next six to 12 months, capacity will increase, with airlines bringing back aircraft, which will put downward pressure on fares". Ms Tully added: "We haven't seen interest rates and inflation have an impact on travel demand yet".

Perth Airport CCO: Airfares to 'normalise' in 2023

Perth Airport CCO and acting CEO Kate Holsgrove stated the airport expects "the cost of airfares will go down as airline competition hots up". Ms Holsgrove said: "At some point in 2023... pent up demand will soften and airline services will be restored to optimal levels". Perth Airport also expects the launch of new services to increase seat capacity. Ms Holsgrove said: "Australian travellers... won't accept continued artificially high airfares indefinitely", adding: "We expect more capacity to be added into the market in the new year, which will help to normalise the cost of airfares".

Canberra Airport CEO forecasts drop in domestic airfares

Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron predicted: "Prices will come down on domestic airfares". Mr Byron added: "Airlines can't keep charging double what they used to charge. Consumers won't put up with it for much longer". He also said: "It might take six months for the crazy international airfares to come back down" and added: "There is still much pent up demand for international travel".

Rolls-Royce CEO: Long haul aviation to remain 'a smaller piece of the overall economy'

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East stated the global aviation industry should return to pre-pandemic operational levels in 2024/25. Mr East noted that the global economy will have grown "significantly" by 2024/25, compared to pre-pandemic, so long haul aviation will be "a smaller piece of the overall economy".

Southwest Airlines making 'great progress' on refunds and reimbursements, conducting review: CEO

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan reported the carrier's leadership team and unions are conducting a thorough review of its travel disruptions over the 2022/23 end of year holiday period, which he expects to be completed "swiftly". Mr Jordan stated Southwest is making "great progress by processing tens of thousands of refunds and reimbursements a day", and has returned the vast majority of lost and delayed baggage to customers. Mr Jordan noted the carrier has also sent a goodwill gesture of 25,000 rapid rewards points to each significantly impacted customer.

Uganda Airlines ‘cleared’ for Entebbe-London service via intermediary country: CEO

Uganda Airlines CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki confirmed the carrier is considering the launch of services between Entebbe and London Heathrow, having been informed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that it may operate flights to the UK through an intermediary airport with CAA security clearance. The carrier could potentially operate the service via Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Tunisia or Turkey. Ms Bamuturaki stated: "At the airline level, we are cleared. In principle, we have two options – to wait until Entebbe International Airport has gone through a security audit by the UK CAA so that we can fly direct from there, or go through a third country whose airport already has the necessary clearances".

Porter Airlines optimistic inflation will 'settle down' in 2023: CEO

Porter Airlines CEO Michael Deluce stated the carrier is optimistic that inflation will continue to "settle down" in 2023. Mr Deluce added the carrier expects demand imbalances, staffing challenges, and other "abnormal" patterns as a result of COVID-19 to unwind over time.

Norwegian CEO: 2022 a really good year, pax increase threefold year-on-year

Norwegian handled 18 million passengers in 2022, a "threefold" increase year-on-year, and expects the positive trend in booking figures to continue into 2023. The carrier stated that due to "a robust financial position" it has secured jet fuel in both 2023 and 2023. Furthermore, current fuel security that runs through 2023 is "at a level lower than today's spot price". CEO Geir Karlsen labelled the overall 2022 "a really good year for Norwegian", with high pent up demand for air travel contributing to a "record breaking summer". Mr Karlsen added the carrier is still observing positive developments in bookings, with the sale of tickets at New Year's "better than expected".

Airbus CEO expects 'big supply chain issues' to continue in 2023

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury commented on the outlook for the aerospace industry, stating: "We're going to continue to have big supply chain issues in 2023". However, Mr Faury added: "We're not going to deny our happiness about being in such a strongly growing sector".

Pittsburgh Airport demand environment continues to be 'robust': CEO

Pittsburgh International Airport handled 697,493 passengers in Nov-2022, an increase of 4.6% year-on-year. Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis stated: "The demand environment continues to be robust, with leisure leading the way, but more business activities than in previous months. We're encouraged by that".

South African carriers yet to fully restore capacity lost in shutdowns and restructuring: ACSA CEO

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) CEO Mpumi Mpofu stated that the seat capacity lost due to the recent restructuring or shut down of several South African carriers is yet to be fully restored. Ms Mpofu said the remaining airlines are working to meet demand and commented: "The airlines we are working with are increasing that aircraft capacity on a month-to-month basis".