Analysis for Europe/MEA
Business travel on the road to recovery: four in five global business leaders consider personal contact with customers and suppliers to be indispensable
Even though the COVID pandemic is far from over, vaccination progress and low incidence rates in certain parts of the world are encouraging more travel. Leisure and VFR – as expected – have led the way, but business travel is following, especially in large markets such as China and USA where domestic volumes are rising fast. The data from China in particular gives additional cause for hope.
Charting the trends – COVID may have turned the world upside down, but Delta, American and United remain the most valuable and Aeroflot the strongest airline brands
The world is a very different place today than it was 18 months ago before when the coronavirus pandemic was in its infancy. That is clearly visible in the latest 2021 edition of Brand Finance’s Airlines 50, a report on the most valuable and strongest airline brands which shows the total value of the world’s top 50 most valuable airline brands has declined by a third since last year’s report.
The surprise, in an unimaginably dreadful year, where international capacity fell to around one tenth of its previous level and many domestic operations fared only slightly better, was that so few airlines went out of business in 2020. Only around 30, out of a total of thousands collapsed or entered bankruptcy of one kind or another. In fact, a similar number – or even more – new start-ups have emerged with ambitions to use the dreadful circumstances to launch with a clean slate and importantly without legacy costs.
Almost a year and a half into the pandemic, the best and worst places to be in the COVID-19 era are increasingly defined by one thing, according to Bloomberg: “normalisation” as what has been the biggest vaccination drive in history of the world slowly enabling countries to relax restrictions and dismantle the border blocks that have drained the life out of the travel and tourism and hospitality sectors.
Recovery of European tourism ‘in sight this summer’ though international travel will still get no better than hitting half pre-pandemic levels after 'catastrophic' start to 2021
Improvements in vaccination rates and the introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is providing hope for a tourism rebound in Europe over the summer months with intra-European trips expected to account for over 80% of Europe’s travel in 2021.
Emirates re-opens first class lounge to meet ‘growing volume of premium customers’ at its Dubai International hub; new payment and retail solutions set it up for the recovery
Emirates Airline has re-opened its dedicated first class lounge at Dubai International airport’s Concourse B to serve the growing volume of premium customers travelling from and through Emirates’ hub, as more markets around the world ease restrictions and put in place protocols that enable international travel. The news supports a positive trend in the slow recovery of corporate travel.
Heathrow’s Covid-induced fall from among the world’s busiest airports has at least opened the door to new arrivals
London Heathrow was one of the busiest airports in the world before the pandemic, but remains outside the top 50 in terms of weekly seats. It had been one of the world’s most constrained airports for years with its two runways officially at full capacity, but for around a year it has actually been operating using just one of them as the COVID-19 pandemic and the heavy travel restrictions has reduced demand.
Many believe that the solution to crowded roads in urban centres is to take to the air. Urban air mobility is certainly the popular thinkers answer and there are a plethora of concepts for small and sustainable aircraft to provide mass transportation for intra-city, short-haul and even regional travel.
SWISS opens bookings for new premium economy product offering ‘greater privacy and enhanced inflight comfort’ for passengers
SWISS is aiming to provide a little extra comfort and offer a few further travel benefits to its regular travellers with the introduction of a new premium economy offering onboard the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that serve its long-haul routes. The European flag carrier will debut the new cabin offering in the fourth quarter of this year and has opened bookings for premium economy travel across the entire Boeing 777-300ER route network from Apr-2022.
Qatar Airways reveals its new business class suite as Boeing 787-9 fleet takes its long-awaited bow some 18 months after delivery
It is not often that it takes 18 months for an airline to reveal to the world the latest interior innovations that come with the arrival of a new aircraft type into its fleet. In the case of Qatar Airways and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that is exactly the unusual case as the Gulf carrier introduced the variant into scheduled operations on the Doha-Milan route on 25-Jun-2021.