Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

CTC – Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.

CWT: COVID-19 will produce permanent changes in how clients think about and manage travel
CWT president, strategy & transformation & CFO Michelle McKinney-Frymire said she firmly believes that “travel will return, including business travel”, although there will be “permanent changes that vary by industry in how our clients think about travel and they manage it”.

Airbus CEO sees businesses ‘eager to fly again’ & pent up demand for leisure travel
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said despite the introduction of digital tools for video conferencing and remote working during the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are now “are eager to fly again”. Mr Faury also noted there is pent up demand for leisure travel, with strong bookings when markets reopen or travel restrictions are eased.

Wizz Air CEO: ‘The longer COVID-19 lasts, the better we will emerge’
Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi said that the longer the COVID-19 crisis lasts, “the better we will emerge” in terms of competition. He admitted however that the LCC is “not immune” to the impacts of the crisis on demand. Mr Varadi mentioned that the carrier is “focused” on optimising cost structure and cash burn and has further enhanced its liquidity position with a EUR500 million three year bond issued on 19-Jan-2021.

ACI World: Vaccinations and tests need to be used together to help promote industry recovery
Airports Council International (ACI) World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, said that that cooperation on global standards towards a global harmonisation of processes will help promote industry recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Mr de Oliveira said there were some signs for optimism, but the industry is braced for 1H2021 as things will “get worse before it gets better this year”. ACI expects to see “light at the end of the tunnel with the development of vaccines and by using tests to reduce quarantines” around Jun/Jul-2021.

Flight Centre Travel Group MD calls for national coronavirus protocol in Australia
Flight Centre Travel Group MD Graham Turner called for a national coronavirus protocol across Australia “that everyone agrees with and states must trust each other to deal with hotspots as they come up”. Mr Turner said: “The whole of Australia has to learn to live with the coronavirus”, noting that Australians “need some confidence” and that domestic borders have “been opening and shutting willy-nilly without much co-ordination and now people are gun-shy about travelling interstate”.

Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO reports commercial business ‘severely affected’ by the coronavirus
Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Arjan Meijer said the company’s commercial aircraft business was “severely affected” by the coronavirus pandemic, although its military and executive aviation segments “are doing reasonably well”. Mr Meijer reported the OEM did not see any commercial aircraft cancellations in 2020, although a number of deliveries were postponed.

Qantas Group CEO: Fully or nearly underwritten A380s ‘will absolutely work’
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: “An A380, that’s fully or nearly fully written down, if it generates cash, will absolutely work”, with the carrier believing there is a need for the A380 fleet. Mr Joyce said: “We do believe that it will generate cash”, as the fleet will be appropriate for airports with slot restrictions.

Greater Bay Airlines making ‘good progress’ with regulatory applications: CEO
Greater Bay Airlines CEO Algernon Yau said the start-up is making “good progress” with its regulatory applications, adding that “the job is almost completed” for its air operator’s certificate (Nikkei Asia, 29-Jan-2021). He said the carrier could commence operations by the end of Aug-2021 if “we have all the licences and approval given by the authority”. Mr Yau said the start-up “will not be a budget airline” but will be “different”. He believes the vaccine rollout will bring coronavirus under control and lead to a recovery in travel. He said: “The timing now may not be right for the aviation industry, but may be exactly right for our inauguration when the business is coming back”.

ABEAR: Brazil’s aviation fuel cost ‘is the most expensive in the world due to pricing distortions’
ABEAR president Eduardo Sanovicz commented on one of the main systematic issues in the Brazilian aviation industry, the cost of aviation fuel. He stated: “Aviation fuel in Brazil is most expensive in the world, due to Petrobras’ distortions in the pricing process, which dollarises a product that is processed, costed and consumed here, and there’s also taxation distortions which only occur here”.

Air Seychelles would be ahead of schedule on transformation plan if 2020 was a normal year: CEO
Air Seychelles CEO Remco Althuis stated the airline was “generating cash on the operations” and progressing in line with its five year transformation plan before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Althuis said: “Had 2020 been a normal year, the company would have beaten the transformation plan by two years”. He said the fundamentals are in place for the airline’s future success, but the pandemic “has impacted the timeline of the growing success of Air Seychelles”.

Virgin Australia ‘will have to make tough decisions’ if JobKeeper is not extended: CEO
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said if Australia’s JobKeeper programme is not extended, the company “will have to make tough decisions on how many people we can afford to keep on the books when we don’t have any guarantee of the borders being open”. Ms Hrdlicka said: “We’ll have to make tough decisions to ensure that we don’t weaken the balance sheet by being confident about something that we can’t predict”. Ms Hrdlicka added “we’re doing everything we can” to maintain flexibility to allow stood down workers to return to work.

Corsair ‘financially sound’ and ‘ready to face’ the COVID-19 crisis
OMRP president Eric Koury said Corsair is a “financially sound company” and now “ready to face” the COVID-19 crisis. He added that the company will “do everything to regain lost market share” to French and former French overseas territories. Corsair was acquired by OMRP on 31-Dec-2020.

FlySafair CEO expecting excess market capacity ‘for quite a while’
FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie predicted there will be “too many seats in the market” and “too much supply” compared to the lack of travel demand, which will last “for quite a while”. Mr Conradie said the excess capacity will “put a lot of pressure on ticket prices”, meaning consumers will have access to “some ridiculously good prices” over the next 12 months. However, Mr Conradie said this period will be “tough for the airlines”.

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