CTC – Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.
American Airlines business model will ‘be something that takes us through this crisis’: CRO
American Airlines Group chief revenue officer (CRO) Vasu Raja stated the company’s business model will “be something that takes us through this crisis and will absolutely be part of… revenue production… on the other end” of the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained the “strength” of the carrier’s model “is that so much of what we do we create connectivity for customers that really wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for American Airlines flying in some of these markets”.
KLM president: Europe ‘lagging’ 10 years behind the US in terms of airline consolidation
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines president and CEO Pieter Elbers commented on European airline consolidation. He argued that while Europe is “lagging behind some 10 years” compared to the US market in terms of consolidation, European consolidation will be more complex due to differing national regulations and airline branding. He noted that Air France-KLM has “two fantastic, but very distinct brands”, concluding: “I consider it an asset to have such two strong brands rather than a weakness”.
ANA Holdings CFO says results have ‘already bottomed’
ANA Holdings CFO Ichiro Fukuzawa stated the group’s results in the three months to Sep-2020 “recovered significantly” compared to the three months ended Jun-2020, adding that this “proves that we’ve already bottomed out and are seeing dramatic recovery”.
Delta Air Lines CEO: Testing will be ‘key to opening up international flows’
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian stated winter 2020 will be a “very difficult” period to “get international traffic going”, with quarantines and travel restrictions forming the “main thing that’s affecting international travel” “It’s not as if there’s going to be a green light that goes off and we’re all back traveling internationally. We’re going to have to put some pilots in place, some experimental routes, using testing”, he continued, noting that testing “will be the key to opening up international flows, without a quarantine requirement”.
IATA CEO: Industry is ‘looking at much more than a year of severely depressed demand’
IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the uptick in demand from the coronavirus pandemic “looks like it will take much longer than anybody could have anticipated” and the industry is “looking at much more than a year of severely depressed demand”. Mr de Juniac said the decisions taken “in the next weeks and months to manage through the crisis will re-set aviation’s trajectory for several years to come”.
Wizz Air UK MD: ‘There has been a failure at government level across Europe to give people certainty about how and when they can travel’
Wizz Air UK MD Owain Jones said passengers are prepared to travel as long as an “element of certainty” is present. Mr Jones noted: “There has been a failure at government level across Europe to give people certainty about how and when they can travel”. Mr Jones said the government should focus on enabling measures in addition to support measures. Mr Jones added: “Those measures would be getting an intergovernmental alignment with other European governments about how you can travel safely and securely across borders again. Maybe that will translate into some sort of pre-flight testing which is acceptable on an international level”.
Airlink CEO: South African airlines ‘aggressively’ filling market gaps
Airlink (South Africa) MD and CEO Rodger Foster stated Airlink and other airlines, such as FlySafair, are “opportunistically addressing market gaps” created by the absence of Comair (South Africa) and South African Airways. Mr Foster added: “The market is very significantly diminished as to where it was pre-COVID”. He said it will be difficult for any airline returning to the market to regain market share, commenting: “It’s not going to be easy because the existing incumbents are aggressively adding capacity as the market requires them to”.
Southwest Airlines CEO: COVID-19 testing is ‘critical’
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the carrier is “working very hard” to put COVID-19 testing in place on the West Coast for service to Hawaii. He noted such testing is “critical, not just for flights, but just for gatherings”, and stated: “We need to get better testing in place, it needs to be rapid, it needs to be something that gives us all confidence that we’re not going to continue to spread these viruses”. He observed that the set-up of testing infrastructure will also allow for greater preparedness for the “next one [pandemic]”.
Webjet chairman: Coronavirus ‘recovery will be decidedly non-linear’
Webjet chairman and MD Roger Sharp stated: “We do believe there is a reasonable probability that safe and effective vaccines and other pandemic management strategies” will become available “in the near future”, however, the speed and efficiency of their roll out “will vary greatly, market by market”. Webjet believes most people will resume usual travel “when conditions permit” and see “considerable pent up demand”. Webjet believes “recovery will be decidedly non-linear and will initially emerge” where there are vaccines or safe corridors.
Alaska Air Group CFO: ‘low cost discipline is simply a requirement’
Alaska Air Group EVP and CFO Shane Tackett detailed cost saving measures, in order to produce at least USD250 million in permanent structural cost savings and support its return to “pre COVID CASM ex levels even if we were to remain a 20% smaller company”. He said: “Low cost discipline is simply a requirement of this industry, if you want to be able to survive in the downturns and thrive in the ups”.
Scoot preparing for reopening of borders, hopeful recovery is ‘not too far away’: CEO
Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson stated the airline is “preparing… for the progressive opening of borders, slow though it may be”. Mr Campbell also said that as borders reopen, “we have reason to remain hopeful that there will be a recovery, hopefully not too far away”. Regarding the Singapore-Hong Kong travel corridor, Mr Wilson said: “We’re hopeful that there will be something up and running” before the end of 2020.
Dubai Airport CEO: London-Dubai travel corridor could be key to opening up international demand
Dubai International Airport CEO Paul Griffiths reported procedures have been established with airlines and airports to create a safe travel corridor with London, and are now subject to government approval. Mr Griffiths indicated similar arrangements were in discussion for other locations, and the airport final agreements for a UK corridor represent “the next phase we desperately want to move to… All it would take is one major corridor to sign up and agree, for there to be a whole lot of confidence from other countries”.
Qantas Group domestic capacity to reach 50% by Christmas: CEO
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated “Assuming Queensland opens to New South Wales in coming weeks, we expect Group Domestic capacity to reach up to 50 per cent by Christmas”. The carrier is expecting a “boom in domestic tourism” following to opening of domestic borders. Mr Joyce said the group’s domestic market share is expected to increase from 60% to 70%, while its “main competitor changes its strategy”.