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.
Hong Kong and China hold ‘constructive’ talks on cross border travel
Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu said that Hong Kong and mainland China officials held “constructive” discussions recently and are positive about the prospect of reviving cross border travel. He said that Hong Kong must strengthen coronavirus controls in areas such as screening requirements for inbound travellers, the quarantine system and the city’s overall approach to risk before the border can reopen.
easyJet ‘mission has always been to make travel easy and affordable’: CEO
easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said “low cost doesn’t mean low quality”, noting the carrier’s “mission has always been to make travel easy and affordable, and with our efficient, simple business model”. Mr Lundgren said: “Our focus is on building customer loyalty so that more people choose to fly with easyJet more frequently, and we do this by having transparent pricing so customers can choose what they want”, with the carrier offering “a choice of optional extras so they can choose what they want when traveling with us”.
RwandAir CEO calls for fifth freedom rights between East African Community states
RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo urged East African Community states to grant reciprocal fifth freedom air traffic rights. Ms Makolo also called for the East African Business Council to lobby for greater aviation market access under the African Continental Free Trade Area to support regional exports. She commented: “The region needs a change of mindset as air travel is not a luxury but a necessity, especially now with the disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic”.
Philippines’ to explore regional airports for arriving international flights
Philippines’ Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade reported the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will explore the use of regional airports for arriving international flights. Mr Tugade added the department is also considering increasing daily international arrival caps in place at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Clark International Airport and Mactan Cebu International Airport. He stated: “Regarding the capacity, it’s around 2000 at the moment. If all of those will only arrive at NAIA, and a few in Clark and a few in Cebu, they will choke”. Mr Tugade said: “If we will raise the capacity from 2000 to 3000, there is also a need to increase the gateways”.
Wizz Air remains interested in London Gatwick: Chief supply chain and legal officer
Wizz Air chief supply chain and legal officer Owain Jones commented on the potential availability of slots at London Gatwick Airport, following British Airways’ decision to cancel plans for a short haul subsidiary based at the airport. Mr Jones said: “We remain as interested in Gatwick as we have been… since the start of the pandemic”. He added: “We’ll only move to an airport if we’re going to be operating at the right cost level”.
CEOs of Arkia, El Al and Israir seek government support to ‘survive the crisis’
Arkia Israeli Airlines CEO Gadi Tepper, El Al CEO Avigal Soreq and Israir Airlines CEO Uri Sirkis issued a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other ministers and members of parliament on 23-Sep-2021 seeking financial and regulatory support from the government. The CEOs stated: “We doubt the ability of Israeli airlines to survive the crisis without government support”. The CEOs called for a meeting with the ministries of finance, health, tourism and transport to discuss “proposals and the necessary measures the government must take to ensure the sustainability of Israeli aviation”.
Kenya Airways to seek further deferral of payments to ‘understanding’ creditors: CEO
Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka stated the airline will seek further deferrals of loan repayments while it waits for the Kenyan Parliament to approve legislation for the government to take full ownership of the airline. Mr Kilavuka commented: “So far lenders have been understanding”. Regarding the plan for the government to resume full ownership of Kenya Airways, he said: “Nationalisation is not a panacea, or an end in itself. It’s only part of the reform process”.
StarLux Airlines could join an alliance once it has ‘reached a certain level of growth’
StarLux Airlines chief communications officer Nieh Kuo-wei said that although it is too early for the carrier to join an alliance, once the carrier has “reached a certain level of growth, we will certainly become a member of an alliance to provide more convenience to our passengers”
Air Montenegro hit by travel restrictions after successful summer season: CEO
Air Montenegro CEO Predrag Todorović stated the airline recorded an average load factor of more than 90% on Banja Luka, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Ljubljana services during summer 2021. However, Mr Todorović noted Montenegro has been placed on travel restriction lists by several European governments, which “directly affects our sales”. He commented: “The moment these measures were introduced, Frankfurt, which was extremely successful for us, saw sales tumble immediately and we were forced to temporarily suspend operations”.
Airbus reports supply chain has been ‘severely hurt by the downturn’, and is constraining production
Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said plans to ramp up aircraft production are “supply chain constrained” as suppliers have “been severely hurt by the downturn”, having lost “some of their surface manpower, investment capability or both”. Airbus has announced plans to increase A320 family output from 45 to 64 per month by the 2Q2023, and sees a clear case to raise production to 70 aircraft per month according to Mr Scherer.
ACCC: Access to slots at Sydney Airport can be ‘significant barrier’ for market entry
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims stated the ACCC supports recommendations that limit incumbent airlines’ ability to keep more take off and landing slots than they need. Mr Sims stated: “Access to take-off and landing slots at [Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport] can be a significant barrier for airlines to enter the market or expand their services”.
US Commerce Secretary: China blocking the sale of ‘tens of billions of dollars’ of orders
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond said there are “tens of billions of dollars” of orders for Boeing aircraft from Chinese airlines that the Chinese government is “standing in the way” of these orders due to wider trade issues.
ENAC president: ENAC and Italy are ready for the new frontiers of the aviation sector
ENAC president Pierluigi Di Palma, speaking at the Mediterranean Aerospace Matching event, said the authority and Italy are “ready for the new frontiers, from air transport to the aerospace sector”. According to Mr Di Palma, the process of liberalisation and privatisation of air transport in Europe “leaves the doors open to a new European sector policy” based around technological innovation and environmental protection.