Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

14 April, 2023

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 CEO: Istanbul service would appeal to middle income travellers

AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail stated the carrier's entry into Istanbul would offer middle-income travellers an option to travel to Turkey. Mr Ismail said "Our cost base is very low... We know what our pricing point is", adding: "There's demand for passengers that prefer full service and there's also demand for people from the middle income who wants to fly with us". Mr Ismail noted: "The only thing that we have to ensure is that whatever fare we charge is profitable because at the end of the day this is not a short flight. It's a long flight. We have to be sure and be careful that this is the right thing to do".

Delta Air Lines to offer additional 15,000 premium seats daily in 2023: CEO

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported the carrier is set to offer an additional 15,000 premium seats per day network-wide in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels. Mr Bastian said Delta will offer premium seats across its entire operational fleet from summer 2023, with 2% of its fleet currently not equipped with premium seat options. Mr Bastian stated increasing premium offerings will take Delta out of the "commodity trap" and attract customers willing to pay for additional services, which will help increase profits. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines president Glen Hauenstein, via the carrier's 1Q2023 earnings call, stated the carrier is experiencing "positive momentum" both domestically and internationally going into 2Q2023. Mr Hauenstein noted there is "a lot of anxiety" regarding domestic summer demand, however Delta "does not share that anxiety".

Palmerston North Airport required to undergo USD25m terminal replacement project: Acting CEO

Palmerston North Airport acting CEO Jonathon Baker informed the Palmerston North City Council that the airport will be required to undergo a NZD40 million (USD24.9 million) terminal replacement project. The airport will need to borrow for the 5200sqm project, which is expected to include new security screening and passenger facilities and infrastructure to accommodate larger jet aircraft. Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith stated: "The real risk is, if we don't do something, nobody is coming".

Finnair CEO: Russian airspace closures hit directly into Europe-Asia connection strategy

Finnair CEO Topi Manner stated Russian airspace closures "hit directly" into the carrier's strategy of creating a connection between Europe and Asia, resulting in it having to "change our business model fundamentally". Mr Manner said Asian routes were "the fundamental core of our strategy and accounted for 50% of revenue in 2019", and added the long haul routes to Asia "significantly supported" Finnair's routes to Europe.

TransNusa Air Services CEO: Airfares to remain elevated through mid 2024

TransNusa Air Services CEO Datuk Bernard Francis stated airfares may continue to increase through mid 2024 amid high fuel prices and workforce shortages. Mr Francis also contributed restricted aircraft capacity to raised airfares, noting most airlines have restructured their business model to ensure route profitability rather than continuously adding capacity. Mr Francis said he believes carriers will become "very competitive" within the next three to six months during the low tourism season.

Norwegian CEO: Current booking numbers 'significantly higher' than 2022

Norwegian CEO Geir Karlsen stated the carrier is "heading into the summer season with a positive outlook", with booking numbers "significantly higher than at this point last year". Mr Karlsen added "this indicates a continued strong demand for air travel, particularly to our many attractive beach destinations, and we expect a busy summer once more".

Iberia CEO expects improves connectivity and development in case of Air Europa merger

Iberia CEO Javier Sánchez-Prieto said in the event of a merger with Air Europa, connectivity will be improved with the acquisition. Mr Sánchez-Prieto said the company is interested in expansion and developing the Madrid hub. Mr Sánchez-Prieto noted employment would be maintained, with Air Europa jobs to be guaranteed for five years and GroundForce jobs for seven years.

PLAY CEO: Load factors and passenger numbers growing significantly

PLAY CEO Birgir Jónsson stated "load factors and passenger numbers are growing significantly and the booking flow and status for the summer is very strong". The carrier plans to operate to 37 destinations in 2023, including 13 new destinations in summer 2023. PLAY noted there is particularly high demand for trips to new destinations, including Porto, Lisbon, Athens and Bologna.