The Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.
CAPA: ‘This is a big downturn, beyond comprehension’
CAPA – Centre for Aviation chairman emeritus Peter Harbison, speaking at CAPA Live October 2020, stated: “Initially when we started on this horrible expedition, there was an assumption it would be over in six months, Governments thought as well but it’s obvious now that won’t be the case”. Mr Harbison added: “This is a big downturn, beyond comprehension and a vaccine won’t have a widespread impact at least before the middle of 2021”.
IATA: 86% of recent travellers feel Covid-19 measures were well implemented
IATA reported a survey of recent travellers found that 86% felt that the industry’s Covid-19 measures were keeping them safe and were well implemented. IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the combination of measures that are being put in place is “reassuring travellers the world over that Covid-19 has not defeated their freedom to fly”.
Berlin Airport Company CEO: ‘Going on vacation digitally is not possible’
Berlin Airport Company chairman and CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said people “specifically travel to the capital region” because of the “high level of tourist attraction” in Berlin. He said the company expects private travel will recover faster than business travel, adding: “Going on vacation digitally is not possible… People’s desire to travel will remain”.
American Airlines will ‘discontinue service to a lot of markets’ if it is ‘forced to’: CEO
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker stated the carrier will “discontinue service to a lot of markets” if it is “forced to”, noting the carrier “can’t continue to wait” for financial aid from the US Government. Specifically, he noted there will “absolutely be discontinuation of service to small communities, and much less service to larger communities”. Consequently, the carrier will be “much slower to rebound and help the country rebound from this pandemic”.
Australian Airports Association: Australia-New Zealand travel bubble will rebuild confidence
Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the beginning of a trans Tasman travel bubble, with AAA CEO James Goodwin noting it as “an important first step in reigniting international travel and Australia’s tourism economy” and will “rebuild confidence for Australians and New Zealanders to start flying again”. Mr Goodwin stated the next phase in the trans Tasman bubble is “for the remaining states to open and become part of this new arrangement”.
airBaltic CEO: ‘Why can’t we be the base for one of the biggest airlines in Europe?’
airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss proposed airBaltic could expand beyond its small airline status. Mr Gauss said: “Why can’t we be the base for one of the biggest airlines in Europe”. He added: “Why can’t we take it beyond the Baltics and have the best, the greenest, and the most sustainable airline in Europe”.
Jetstar Asia CEO: ‘Every week we have seen load factors pick up’
Jetstar Asia CEO Bara Pasupathi, speaking at CAPA Live October 2020, stated at one stage during the pandemic the carrier stood down the majority of its workforce and redeployed 60% of its workforce into secondary roles. Mr Pasupathi said: “We took a month to restart on 21-Apr-2020. It was almost like restarting an airline again, getting hibernated aircraft back in the air was a test in itself”. He added: “It has been good, we started with one aircraft in operation in Apr-2020 and we’re now operating three and seeing pockets of growth. Every week we have seen load factors pick up”.
Qatar Airways CEO: ‘Absolutely important that governments stand with the airlines’
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker stated governments need to support airlines “for the time being, if they want their airlines to survive”. He continued: “Every country in the world depends on their national carrier to serve the economic interests of the country. So it is absolutely important that governments stand with the airlines… I don’t know if the answer would be nationalisation because they are funding hugely private airlines”. Mr Akbar noted the recovery could be “even beyond 2024” if the pandemic continues to spread in the near future, noting: “I don’t think it’ll be 10 years, but it will certainly be between three and five years”.
Loganair CEO calls for airport coronavirus tests ‘to get this industry working again’
Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles urged the UK Government to implement coronavirus testing at airports “to get this industry working again” and increase consumer confidence. Mr Hinkles urged for certainty, as airlines reduce their schedules, it disrupts, “the few people who have booked and it causes a vicious cycle and we’ll be whirling around like a leaf in an autumn storm”.
Royal Jordanian outgoing CEO: Airlines that focus on point to point traffic ‘will suffer’ for longer
Royal Jordanian outgoing CEO Stefan Pichler said he expects the visiting friends and family (VFR) market segment to recover first, followed by the tourism and business sector, which will “probably take a longer time to come back to 2019 levels”. He continued: “I would assume that both Emirates and Etihad as connecting network airlines are in a pretty good position to use the current crisis and the recovery patterns to their advantage”. However, he noted “some other airlines with a stronger focus on point to point traffic will suffer for a longer period of time. If they survive”.
Copenhagen Airport: International air transport facing a ‘crisis of historic proportions’
Copenhagen Kastrup Airport CCO Peter Krogsgaard said international air transport is facing a “crisis of historic proportions”. He continued: “While we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the situation has in fact deteriorated even further since the start of the autumn season, and the opportunities to travel are being reduced evermore”.
TIA CEO: ‘There is a risk of labour and skill shortages’ if New Zealand industry permanently loses staff
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) CEO Chris Roberts said “as tourism revives, job and career opportunities will re-emerge” however noted “There is a risk of labour and skill shortages if we permanently lose staff displaced by COVID-19”. Mr Roberts said there is a need for “ongoing efforts to attract New Zealanders to work in tourism”.
Virgin Atlantic CEO: ‘Some 500,000’ jobs at risk without assistance, extended recession expected
Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said that “without mass testing” for coronavirus, the UK’s economic recovery “will not take off” and expects “Some 500,000” UK based jobs will be at risk if there is no assistance, due to an extended recession into 2021. Mr Weiss said: “We support the decision to opt for a single test, private sector-led, passenger-funded approach, that does not impact on the NHS in any way”.
Malaysia Aviation Group CEO: ‘No choice’ but to shut down if lessors choose not to back restructuring
Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) CEO Izham Ismail reported the company would have “no choice” but to shut down if lessors choose not to back a restructuring plan. Mr Izham stated: “There are creditors who have agreed already. There are others still resisting, and another group still 50:50”. He said: “I need to get the 50:50 ones [on board] with those who have agreed. I understand quite a sizeable amount of creditors have agreed”.
London Heathrow Airport CEO: UK’s Global Travel Taskforce ‘needs to act quickly’
London Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye said the UK Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is “a great step forward, but needs to act quickly to save the millions of UK jobs that rely on aviation”. London Heathrow Airport’s Sep-2020 traffic experienced a loss of 5.5 million passengers, down 82% year-on-year.
Sunwing CEO: ‘Canadians are ready to head to the tropics’
Sunwing Vacations reported a recent survey of 1505 Canadians has found that 56% of Canadians are considering a vacation within the next year. Sunwing Travel Group CEO Stephen Hunter stated: “After months of staying at home and putting vacation plans on hold, Canadians are ready to head to the tropics”. 71% of regular vacationers are considering a vacation, and 50% of those respondents who are considering travel in the next 12 months would also be interested in planning for an all inclusive getaway.