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.
Australia’s Government looking to expand travel bubble to Singapore and Pacific: Minister
Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan stated Australia’s four stage plan to restart international air travel is “still the plan”, however, “Obviously, we’re in a pandemic so the plan can be adapted and continue to change”. Mr Tehan said: “We want to be able to open up… based on the medical advice, where we know it’s safe to do so”. Mr Tehan said Australia is “still very keen to look at expanding our bubble with Singapore and then look to the Pacific, to Japan, to South Korea and other countries which have managed the virus incredibly well as we open up our economy”.
Air France-KLM CEO: 2Q2021 saw the first signs of the long-awaited recovery
Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith said 2Q2021 “saw the first signs of the long-awaited recovery” with the easing of travel restrictions in several key regions. Mr Smith said: “reciprocity of borders reopening and the acceleration of the vaccination roll-out worldwide, especially in the context of the rise of the Delta variant, will play a key role in maintaining this momentum”.
Delta CEO: No immediate plans to require vaccination proof for domestic flying
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian stated the carrier has no immediate plans to require proof of vaccination for domestic flying, adding: “Stay tuned”. Mr Bastian said: “It’s very difficult for us to come in and mandate a vaccine that isn’t even federally approved yet, the authorisation hasn’t been final yet”. He added a “vast majority” of the carrier’s customers and 73% of its workforce are fully vaccinated, with Delta also requiring all new hires in the US to be vaccinated.
TUI CEO reports group is returning to growth path, with demand for holidays and travel high
TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen stated the group is “returning to the growth path” and is “well positioned with our tour operators, hotel and cruise brands and we will be more efficient and digital after the Corona crisis”. Mr Joussen said the summer 2021 season has “started well”, and demand for holidays and travel remains high in all of TUI’s European markets. Vaccinations continue to be the key to more freedom for all and also for travel”.
Flight Centre Australia GM: ‘We’re preparing for the demand for travel to return with a vengeance’
Flight Centre Australia GM Kelly Spencer stated: “We’re preparing for the demand for travel to return with a vengeance”, adding “All our indicators point toward Australian travellers… itching to book that next holiday”. Ms Spencer said within recent research, 44% “intend to book holidays overseas as soon as border openings allow”.
IATA suggests European winter slot rules could lead airlines to consider empty flights
IATA director general Willie Walsh said the European Commission’s proposal concerning airport slots for the winter 2021/2022 season could lead to airlines considering operating empty aircraft to Europe in order to maintain their slots. As previously reported, the European Commission ruled that airlines must operate at least 50% of their assigned landing rights to maintain the slots.
France believes UK’s 10 day quarantine for French arrivals is based on ‘questionable science’
France’s Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said he believes the UK’s decision to require arrivals from France to quarantine for 10 days is based on “questionable science” and he hopes the UK’s weekly review will have a “positive change” for French arrivals. Mr Djebbari added he has been in weekly contact with UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.
AASA CEO: Africa’s airline market is ‘unlikely to recover overnight’
Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) CEO Wrenelle Stander stated AASA expects domestic markets in Southern Africa will recover to 2019 levels by 2023 and international markets will recover by 2024, in line with IATA forecasts. Ms Stander commented: “Africa’s airline market of 115 million passengers is unlikely to recover overnight”.
Boeing CEO reports ‘remarkable’ US domestic recovery, but warns of slow international return
Boeing CEO David Calhoun said the US domestic market is “showing remarkable recovery”, but warned that the company still expects a “multi-year recovery” from the COVID-19 crisis. Mr Calhoun said the company’s recovery remains threatened by the slow recovery in international travel, the continuing spread of COVID-19 variants, and supply chain labour shortages.
Irish travel agencies expecting a ‘very, very busy 2022’: ITAA CEO
Irish Travel Agents’ Association (ITAA) CEO Patrick Dawson stated: “The capacity is increasing every month” for travel, noting agencies are expecting a “very, very busy 2022”. Mr Dawson said international travel is at 35%-40% of pre coronavirus levels, with expectations it may be an additional 12 months before 2019 levels are reached.
Safran 1H2021 results remain impacted by the effects of the coronavirus crisis: CEO
Safran CEO Olivier Andriès stated the company’s 1H2021 results remain impacted by the effects of the coronavirus crisis, “and an unfavourable basis of comparison in Q1”. Mr Andriès added: “They also show a start of the recovery in the second quarter”, adding 2H2021 “will be essential to see if the effects of the anticipated strong recovery in air traffic in Q3 and Q4 are reflected in the full-year results”. Safran is preparing for recovery, while maintaining “strong discipline on costs and cash”.
Lagos Airport new terminal project ‘seems to have been abandoned’: Senate Committee chairman
Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Aviation chairman Smart Adeyemi stated the new terminal project at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport is “99% completed”, but added: “It seems to have been abandoned”. The project was launched by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation in 2013 with an expected duration of 20 months. Financing was secured through a loan agreement between the Nigerian and Chinese governments.