At a time of crisis, it is important that we share our insights and experience, helping each other to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. CTC – Corporate Travel Community each week brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.
Airbus CEO: All signs point to growth for the aviation sector after the coronavirus
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said “all signs point to growth” for the aviation sector after the coronavirus, as flying fulfils important social and economic functions and people continue to want to travel for personal and business reasons. Mr Faury said he does not share a “gloomy” outlook for the future of business travel, although he acknowledged that the recovery in business travel “may take a little longer” than in personal travel. Airbus expects pre-COVID-19 travel volumes will be reached sometime between 2023 and 2025, and how the market will develop after 2025 is “difficult to predict”.
IATA: Global air travel recovery lagging increase in consumer confidence
IATA senior economist Ezgi Gulbas reported global air travel (as measured in RPKs) sustained its recovery in May-2021, although it remained down 62.7% compared to May-2019. The increase in air travel is lagging the rise in consumer confidence in OECD states, with a strong domestic air travel recovery, but weak international travel.
New Zealand Govt considering ‘longer term options’ for quarantine
New Zealand’s Minister for COVID-19 Response, Education and Public Service Chris Hipkins said the Government is considering “longer term options” for managed isolation and quarantine, including leased and newly constructed facilities. Mr Hipkins said: “I think we are likely to need this capability and capacity for some time”, noting the facilities will be located outside of central cities. The facilities will be located nearby major areas, as “You still have to staff the facilities, you still have to have people working in them and if you put them in the middle of nowhere that becomes very, very challenging and very difficult”.
Ryanair Group CEO: Approximately 80% of fleet is ‘now flying’
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said approximately 80% of its fleet is “now flying”, with the carrier operating up to 75%-80% of “normal flights across almost of Europe”. Mr O’Leary added the two markets which are “slightly behind” are UK outbound leisure and Ireland.
Air Peace CEO: Fuel shortage in Nigeria is ‘crippling’, prices are ‘unbearable’
Airline Operators of Nigeria VP and Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema stated the shortage of Jet A-1 fuel in Nigeria is a “crippling issue” and fuel prices have reached “an unbearable point”. Mr Onyema said fuel prices reached approximately NGN230 (USD0.56) per litre in Apr-2021 then increased to between NGN250 (USD0.61) and NGN255 (USD0.62) per litre in May-2021 and “skyrocketed” to between NGN280 (USD0.68) and NGN300 (USD0.73) per litre as of Jul-2021.
AAA CEO: ‘Australia needs to get back to normal. We can’t stay closed to the world forever’
Australian Airports Association (AAA) CEO James Goodwin stated the Australian Government’s coronavirus roadmap is what airports have been seeking, and gives “airports time to prepare for the eventual reopening of the international border”. Mr Goodwin added: “Australia needs to get back to normal. We can’t stay closed to the world forever”. Mr Goodwin said while an extension of international freight subsidy scheme is welcome, “we would encourage all levels of government to increase the caps as soon as possible, taking note of local conditions and risk reduction”.
Lufthansa Cargo CEO looking to improve customer experience, innovate & offer sustainable solutions
Lufthansa Cargo CEO Dorothea von Boxberg said her intention for the cargo carrier is to look to how it can “improve customer experience, innovate for airfreight and offer more sustainable solutions” as well as to “look into how we can be even more of an attractive employer and explore what we can do when collaborating with our staff and colleagues”.
San Francisco International Airport ‘tracking very well financially’
San Francisco International Airport director Ivar Satero said the airport has handled the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic “very well”, having cut expenses 20% and deferred USD2 billion in capital improvement projects. Mr Satero stated: “We’re seeing great signs for increased revenues and spend rates, so we’re tracking very well financially”.
airBaltic traffic ‘picking up’, but still 79% below pre-crisis levels
airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss stated passenger numbers increased 70% in Jun-2021, compared to May-2021, but remained 79% below pre-COVID-19 levels recorded in Jun-2019. Mr Gauss added: “We expect traffic volumes to continue picking up”.
Canberra Airport CEO: ‘we do need to start getting some of our freedoms back’ following vaccination
Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said following the vaccination of 40% of the Australian Capital Territory’s population, “we do need to start getting some of our freedoms back”. Mr Byron said the 40% target is to include all over 70s, noting “What we would need [from states] is a surety that there won’t be border closures. If you have been vaccinated, you won’t be subject to them”. Mr Byron added: “We should be only weeks away from being rid of these draconian lockdowns and border closures. It’s time to set the dates, but the dates need to be set once the vulnerable have been vaccinated”.
San José Mineta International will regain domestic and international routes
San José Mineta International Airport director of aviation John Aitken said he expects the airport to regain the 24 domestic routes it lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Aitken also said he expects the “Canadian markets and the London market” to “open back up” to the airport, followed eventually by Tokyo.
CemAir CEO: Level 4 restrictions in South Africa result in ‘massive wave’ of cancellations
CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen said the introduction of Level 4 restrictions by the South African Government from 28-Jun-2021 “led to a massive wave of flight cancellations”. Mr van der Molen also noted bookings dropped by 25% approximately two months prior to the announcement of the restrictions, “because people know now that new restrictions happen suddenly and they are looking down the road”.