Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

3 March, 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.

Scoot operating just 25% to 30% of pre-COVID capacity to ‘important market’ of China: CEO

Scoot CEO Leslie Thng stated China is an "important market" for the LCC, adding it will help Scoot return to pre-COVID capacity and beyond pre-COVID capacity. Mr Thng said Scoot is now operating around 25% to 30% of pre-COVID capacity to China, which will increase to approximately 60% by Jun-2023 and as high as 90% by Oct-2023. The airline aims to progressively increase total flights to seven cities in China from 14 to 26 times weekly. Mr Thng noted: "We're quite confident that demand will be returning back from China".

Capital A Berhad CEO: Current fares reflect 'real prices'

Capital A Berhad CEO Tony Fernandes stated current airfares reflect "real prices", noting the fare environment is "very good". Mr Fernandes said: "I think the fares you're seeing now are really what you should have seen in 2019 as well".

AAPA: Passenger demand remains strong in Jan-2023, load factor returns to pre-pandemic level

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director general Subhas Menon stated: "International passenger markets enjoyed a strong start to the year in 2023", noting the "strong demand buoyed by an increase in leisure travellers during the Lunar New Year holidays". Mr Menon added: "Notwithstanding the challenges brought on by the global economic uncertainty, growth prospects for passenger markets look positive for the year ahead. The desire to travel remains strong, with latest forward booking trends pointing to sustained high demand.”

Bonza chief commercial officer: 'at the centre of our strategy is technology'

Bonza chief commercial officer Carly Povey stated "at the centre of our strategy is technology and more specifically, our app-first approach". Ms Povey added: "The Fly Bonza app is in response to changed consumer behaviours largely fuelled by the pandemic, which fast tracked mobile phone and app usage and created a felt need to enhance the ability to communicate with customers in a timely and meaningful way".

EASA: eVTOL regulations to be 'a reality by 2025 at the latest'

EASA ED Patrick Ky stated he expects it will not take long before the required regulations for passenger transport with manned electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOLs) are in place, adding "That will be a reality by 2025 at the latest". Mr Ky stated: "I don't think there will be thousands of these vehicles flying over our heads by 2035", however adding "Congestion problems will also be reduced by airborne logistics transport by drones".

Malaysia Airports 'optimistic' on air travel recovery: MD

Malaysia Airports MD Iskandar Mizal Mahmood stated he continues to be "optimistic" on international and domestic air travel recovery. Mr Iskandar said: "The group's traffic performance has been very positive in the last several months". He added traffic in Jan-2023 represented an 81.3% recovery against 2019, with operations in Malaysia contributing close to 70% of the group's total.

Lagardère Travel Retail cautiously optimistic for 2023: CEO

Lagardère Travel Retail chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen stated: "The outlook for travel retail in 2023 is positive, but with so much global economic uncertainty, our optimism remains cautious". Mr Rasmussen added: "We believe the challenges we experienced in 2022 will continue to be managed over next year, the most important one being the disruption in global supply chains, and a very uncertain economic environment".

American Airlines MD: Passenger migration has resulted in 'explosive' growth at smaller airports

American Airlines MD corporate real estate and facilities Katherine Goudreau stated passenger migration has resulted in "explosive" growth at small-to-medium sized airports as passengers "abandon" larger cities. Ms Goudreau noted increased traffic may result in issues including parking constraints as facilities are unable to accommodate rapid growth, adding airports should update their airport layout plan (ALP) and utilise terminal area forecast (TAF) information to project future growth needs.

Statistics Austria DG: Traffic beginning to 'upswing again after the previous years'

Statistics Austria DG Tobias Thomas stated traffic is beginning to "upswing again after the previous years, which were marked by corona-related restrictions: in 2022". Mr Thomas said: "The passenger volume at the six Austrian airports has clearly more than doubled, yet it remains almost 27% below the value of the record year 2019".

London Heathrow Airport CEO: '2023 is shaping up to be a year of renewal'

London Heathrow Airport reported an adjusted loss before tax of GBP684 million in 2022, down from the GBP1.3 billion recorded in 2021. The airport stated inflation, lower passenger numbers and insufficient regulated charges impacted underlying profitability in 2022. No dividends were paid in 2022 and none are planned for 2023. The airport also said its financing remains conservative, with strong liquidity and gearing falling below pre-pandemic levels. CEO John Holland-Kaye stated: "2022 may have been a year of recovery, but 2023 is shaping up to be a year of renewal for Heathrow”.

Volaris CEO 'optimistic' Mexico will regain US FAA Category 1 status by late Aug-2023

Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena reported the carrier is "optimistic" Mexico will regain US FAA Category 1 status by late Aug-2023, allowing Mexican carriers to open new US routes and increase frequencies. Mr Beltranena stated Volaris is preparing to shift capacity to northbound routes upon Mexico's return to Category 1 status.