Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

3 February, 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.

Qantas Group CEO: Domestic services 'almost back to 100 per cent of pre-COVID flying level'

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said "There's not much we can do about the cost of things like fuel but the fact our operations have stabilised means we can steadily put capacity back in", noting on a domestic basis, "we're almost back to 100 per cent of pre-COVID flying levels". Mr Joyce said on an international basis, "we'll be at around 80 per cent by the middle of the year and we've recently seen most of our competitors announce a major ramp up in their capacity, so you can expect to see fares trend down, keeping in mind we're all paying more for most things at the moment".

Alaska Airlines CEO: Silicon Valley companies to resume business travel in late 2023/early 2024

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicuci reported the carrier does not expect large Silicon Valley technology companies to resume business travel until late 2023/early 2024. Mr Minicucci stated the companies have largely "turned off" business travel, however at some point will expand and return to travelling. Alaska CCO Andrew Harrison noted approximately one third of the carrier's revenue is tied to the Californian market, adding tech-related business travel has been "severely depressed for some time now". US corporate travel bookings have overall returned to 85% of pre-pandemic levels amid a surge in blending 'bleisure' trips.

Emirates Airline president: Airfares to fall in 2023 amid slowing inflation, supply chain recovery

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark stated the airline industry is in a "very robust profitable situation" post-COVID-19, with airfares to fall throughout 2023 as inflation slows down and supply chain issues resolve. Sir Tim noted airfares may not return to pre-pandemic levels, adding post-pandemic travel demand in Australia and China has resulted in passengers being prepared to pay higher airfares.

Bonza CEO: 'many hundreds of agents' have registered with agent portal

Bonza CEO Tim Jordan said: "We believe each travel agent runs their own business so they should set their service fees accordingly", highlighting that the carrier is seeking to work with travel agents, however does not "want to interfere" in regard to how the agent is remunerated. Mr Jordan said "many hundreds of agents" are set up with the carrier's agent portal. Bonza airfares are not available through online travel agents and commission is not paid to travel agents.

London Heathrow Airport outgoing CEO: 'We are still committed' to third runway

London Heathrow Airport outgoing CEO John Holland-Kaye said: "We are still committed to expansion", for its third runway, highlighting that the airport has commenced "some of the preliminary work on expansion". Details of London Heathrow Airport's plans are set to be announced later in 2023.

Virgin Australia Group CCO: 'we've received an overwhelming response' since business loyalty launch

Virgin Australia Group CCO Dave Emerson stated "January is a month synonymous with planning for the year ahead". Mr Emerson added: "Since launching the Virgin Australia Business Flyer loyalty programme last year, we've received an overwhelming response of businesses joining the programme, and we look forward to the programme expanding even further this year".

Sun Country continuing to see strong bookings heading into 1Q2023: CEO

Sun Country Airlines CEO Jude Bricker stated the carrier's "unique and diversified business model" produced "strong" results in 2022 despite "significant" industry challenges. The airline recorded a 43.6% year-on-year revenue increase, a record high. Mr Bricker said: "We are very optimistic about 2023, as we continue to see strong bookings, unit revenues and earnings growth" heading into 1Q2023.

TAANZ president: Travel growth 'an opportunity now to attract people back who left' during COVID

Travel Agents' Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas said: "Travel is growing and not all industries can say that", adding "We haven't got the capacity at the moment to meet the demand that we have already". Mr Thomas said due to the continuing growth trend, there may be "an opportunity now to attract people back who left during the border closures". Mr Thomas said: "We have to be open to people from anywhere who have proven customer-centric skills".

Ryanair Group CEO: European SAF production is 'less than 1% of total aviation demand"

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary said he doubts the LCC can reach its target of operating 12.5% of its services with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030 "unless there is a supply revolution". Mr O'Leary also said the amount of SAF being produced in Europe is "less than 1% of total aviation demand", adding: "We paid USD650 million in environmental fees last year for our fuel and none of this money is being used by European governments to provide SAF".