CTC – Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting recent comments from those industry leaders in the know.
Schiphol Group sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ with improved COVID testing and vaccinations
Royal Schiphol Group CEO Dick Benschop said he sees “light at the end of the tunnel” despite beginning 2021 in a “very difficult situation” with the extension of lockdowns in the Netherlands and mutation of the COVID-19 virus in Europe and abroad. He said that the government, supported by employer’s organisation VNO-NCW, has been working to improve testing capacity in the Netherlands to once again make social activities possible, and also noted that vaccinations have started in the Netherlands in Jan-2021.
Airlines under ‘ferocious pressure’ to increase passenger numbers: Ryanair Group CEO
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said carriers are under “ferocious pressure” to increase their passenger numbers, noting the carrier’s new Venice base and related expansion is an example of “competitive pricing” and that “Aircraft numbers are going to move significantly to wherever we can get the best deals”.
Flight Centre MD: ‘I think people will need to be vaccinated by July if they’re going to travel’
Flight Centre Travel Group MD Graham Turner said “things will change very quickly” as the coronavirus vaccination is rolled out and “major destinations” for international travel will begin to open up in Jun/Jul-2021. Mr Turner said “generally I’d be quite comfortable travelling by air” and “I think people will need to be vaccinated by July if they’re going to travel”.
EU DG MOVE predicts ‘extremely difficult year’ in 2021
European Commission DG for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) Henrik Hololei predicted 2021 will be a “particularly quiet” year for air transport but added that there is “some hope” of improvement in 2Q2021 as the coronavirus vaccines reach wider population. “I believe this will bring a more positive turnaround. But it will definitely be an extremely difficult year”, Mr Hololei concluded.
Emirates: ‘Cargo Revenues have gone through the roof’
Emirates Airline CEO Tim Clark commented on cargo operations in 2020, stating: “Cargo revenues have gone through the roof”. He added: “We exceeded in 2020 already what we did last year when all the fleet was flying. At some point, about 80% of our revenue was cargo”. He stated: “Cargo is doing about 60% of our income, compared to about 10% last year”.
easyJet CEO: ‘The vaccine is the key to unlocking travel’
easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said “the vaccine is the key to unlocking travel” and “once unlocked, our ability to travel, which people had taken for granted before the pandemic, will be valued and treasured once again”. Mr Lundgren said the carrier’s ‘core strengths remain unaffected by the crisis’, noting travellers will “choose to travel with companies they trust and, more than ever, will seek value with friendly and reliable service”.
Rolls-Royce CEO: Coronavirus ‘battering’ means delay on any new aircraft programmes
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said that as a result of the “battering” the aviation sector has taken from the coronavirus, he anticipates a “reasonably significant delay” before airframers introduce new aircraft. Boeing has been actively talking to customers about a potential new design to serve the segment in between the 737 MAX and the 787, although no configuration has been determined and the company recently launched a new set of market and design studies. Airbus has been developing long range derivatives of its A321neo, capable of operating up to 4700nm.
Victoria Health Minister: NSW hard border ‘unlikely’ to be lifted before the end of Jan-2021
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said it is “unlikely” for the state to remove its Victoria-New South Wales (NSW) hard border arrangement prior to “the end of January”. Mr Foley said the travel restrictions aim to “minimise the risk of the virus reseeding back into Victoria”, as “There is already evidence that has happened with the Black Rock cluster before the hard border was put in place”.
Wizz Air CEO: Norwegian govt ‘non-discriminatory and market-friendly’ towards expansion into Norway
Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi said the Norwegian government has “done very well” during the LCC’s market expansion into Norway, adding the government has been “non-discriminatory and market-friendly”. The carrier’s domestic Norway network increased to 15 routes from Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim, as previously reported by CAPA.
Uganda Airlines to receive second A330neo in Jan-2021, Uganda Tourism Board ‘very excited’: CEO
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) CEO Lilly Ajarova, in an editorial, stated Uganda Airlines is expected to receive its second A330neo aircraft in Jan-2021. Ms Ajarova said UTB is “very excited” about the arrival of the A330neos, which will enable Uganda Airlines to commence services to Asia, Europe and the Middle East. She noted Asia and the Middle East “are emerging tourist markets that UTB has actively targeted in the recent past with promising results just before COVID-19 struck”. As previously reported by CAPA, Uganda Airlines received its first A330-800 on 21-Dec-2020.