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.
Ryanair Group CEO: Ryanair recovering ‘faster than other any airline in Europe’
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Ryanair is recovering strongly, much faster than other any airline in Europe”, with its bookings “increasing very rapidly”. Mr O’Leary said bookings for the remainder of 2021 “are looking very strong”, however “pricing is weak”. Mr O’Leary said the carrier is “selling a lot of cheap seats to recover the market very quickly”.
Qantas Group CEO reports plan for resumption of international operations
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated based on Australia’s plan for re-opening, the carrier has “reshaped our own assumptions about restarting international flights”. Mr Joyce added: “The current pace of the vaccine rollout means all Australian states are on track to reach the 80 per cent target by December – which is the trigger for starting to carefully open to some parts of the world”, with the carrier having “a lot of work that has to begin now”. Mr Joyce said pending government decisions, the group plans for services to countries with high vaccination rates “to resume from mid-Dec-2021 onwards – that includes Singapore, Japan, the US, the UK and hopefully New Zealand”.
South African Airways to resume flights with ‘a formidable business case’
South African Airways (SAA) announced plans to resume passenger operations effective 23-Sep-2021, with flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo planned in the first phase. More destinations are expected to be added to the network in line with market conditions. SAA board chairman John Lamola added the airline is “restarting with a formidable business case”.
Singapore Transport Minister: Aviation recovery will be a ‘long haul’
Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran stated the aviation sector’s recovery will be a “long haul because while certain countries are more advanced in vaccination, others are still trying to vaccinate their population”. Mr Iswaran said: “At the same time the virus is in different phases in different parts of the world, and therefore countries have also adopted different types of border measures”. He added: “I think we have to be quite realistic that it is a challenging pathway, and it has to be one where we accept that there’ll be a dynamic profile responding to situations as they evolve”.
Air New Zealand CEO: ‘In time, we will become ‘the world’s leading digital airline’
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran announced “In time, we will become ‘the world’s leading digital airline’ and are taking the first steps toward a truly competitive advantage in digital”, with a new supply chain being installed across the airline. Air New Zealand installed digital capability for its turboprop pilots and cabin crew, as well as converted legacy systems in engineering and maintenance.
Air Caraïbes CEO: French state needs to ‘assume the consequences’ on health measures
Air Caraïbes CEO Marc Rochet suggested the carrier could apply to the French state for support, following decision to introduce new health measures in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Mr Rochet stated the French state needs to “assume the consequences of these decisions” and support is needed to ensure that the carrier is “ready when the traffic picks up”.
American Airlines experiencing rise in booking cancellations
American Airlines chief revenue officer Vasu Raja stated the carrier has experienced a rise in cancellations, adding its Aug-2021 revenue was trending below internal forecasts. Mr Raja said the company’s booked business for holidays was still “incredibly strong” and it expects business demand to likely return in the trans-Atlantic and Latin America regions due to their proximity.
Spring Airlines Japan considering new Chinese destinations
Spring Airlines Japan CEO Akira Yonezawa said the carrier is considering new services to Chinese coastal cities with populations of more than 10 million people, potentially by Mar-2024. Mr Yonezawa explained that “Japan is close to China so it’s easy to travel and there’s a lot of expectation” for traffic between the countries”. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Spring Airlines Japan operated seven services from Tokyo Narita to China, five of which has been suspended due to the outbreak.
Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport ‘significant’ contributor to recovery
Malaysia Airports (MAHB) stated Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport has shown “encouraging” recovery in 1H2021 with total passenger traffic movements at 53% of pre COVID-19 levels and an average passenger load factor of 70% for its flights. Group CEO Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the airport is a “significant contributor” to recovery, adding it is “more robust compared to our Malaysia operations”. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s passenger movements rose by 17.6% in 1H2021 over 1H2020, whereas it had contracted by 84.6% for Malaysia operations over the same period.
Sydney Airport CEO: ‘pathway to the recovery is clear’
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport stated the trajectory of recovery prior to the latest coronavirus restrictions, in addition to the resilience enabled through the steps taken over the past 18 months to protect the business, provides Sydney Airport confidence through the crisis and strongly positions the Airport to navigate the recovery. Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said: “The pathway to the recovery is clear. Governments at all levels are highly motivated to roll out the vaccine, which has now been tied to the lifting of restrictions. As border restrictions are eased, international and domestic travel will be back, and Sydney Airport will be ready to go”.