CTC – Corporate Travel Community brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know during the recent Oct-2021 edition of CAPA Live – a monthly virtual summit, offering insights, information, data and live interviews with airline CEOs and industry executives across a next-gen virtual event platform.
Expedia Group VP account management: Pricing no longer the ‘top priority for people’
Expedia Group VP account management James Marshall stated according to a recent survey, pricing was initially the “top priority for people”, adding now it is “definitely not”. Mr Marshall cited the most important priorities are now flexibility, the ability to receive refunds and cleanliness and feeling safe to travel.
JetBlue Airways seeing ‘favourable trends’ for business travel
JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes stated “we still think there’s a lot of pent up demand for leisure travel, trips that people didn’t take this year for whatever reason”. Mr Hayes added: “So I think we go into 2022 knowing that still anything could happen, but in the main, very optimistic”. He said: “As we go into next year, we’re actually very bullish. We do see some favourable trends on business travel”.
AirAsia Super App CEO: ‘ We are no longer just an airline… We have a direct relationship with about 30 airlines’
AirAsia Super App CEO Amanda Woo stated “we are no longer just an airline”, adding the company’s Super App is a “single platform ecosystem for everyone and everywhere, anytime that you can use”. Ms Woo said within the app, travel continues to be the company’s “core business vertical”, generating 80% of its revenue. She added: “We have a direct relationship with about 30 airlines across the world”.
Breeze Airways founder Trey Urbahn: We have no interest in serving the business travel market
Breeze Airways founder Trey Urbahn stated the carrier has “no interest” in serving the business travel market. Mr Urbahn said “ultimately, our goal is to be a coast to coast airline”, adding “we believe there are over 500 markets that are under a thousand miles that are well suited to the Embraer within the domestic market alone”. He also stated: “I think there’s a lot of opportunity in the Caribbean and Mexico… there are hundreds of markets in the US that don’t have nonstop service to Cancun”.
ATPCO chief information officer: Travel industry should invest in processes to make sense of data
ATPCO chief information officer John Murphy stated the travel industry generally has plenty of data available to operate on, but is “terrible at curating and sharing that data” to use in solving “real world problems”. Mr Murphy also called for industry groups to “invest in the business processes and relationships to make sense of… data and leverage knowledge, analytics and information in a single spot”, in order to build upon data for use in actual business processes.
Kenya Airways CEO: African airlines ‘need to be a lot more consolidated’
Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka predicted there will be a lot more consolidation, partnerships, cooperation, codeshares and mergers among African airlines. Mr Kilavuka said airlines “need to be a lot more consolidated”, adding: “If we continue the way we are – fragmented – I think we’ll be in a lot of trouble”. He commented: “It’s incumbent upon us… for our own benefit to see how we can work together much better and make the airlines a lot more viable, give a lot more choice to our customers, improve our products and efficiencies, reduce our unit costs, increase our revenue streams… we can only do that if we work closer together”.
IESE Business School professor: Airlines cannot live up to COVID-19 affected service expectations
IESE Business School professor and former British Airways chairman & CEO Alex Cruz stated the COVID-19 pandemic has increased consumer expectations of service providers and consequently the expectation of service from airlines which they “simply cannot live up to”. Mr Cruz also said he has “felt the threat” of large technology and online retail corporations “playing around” with industry information, stating: “Let’s not underestimate the tremendous amount of intellect that is within the airline industry – because we have survived for quite a long time – but there’s a big task at hand at the moment, there’s no doubt about it”.
SWISS: No plans to deploy long range narrowbodies on long haul international services
SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx stated “for the moment, we don’t see a direct need for SWISS to operate long haul international services with long range narrowbody aircraft”, like the A321neo ACF. Mr Vranckx said: “Our model, which we had before coronavirus and during coronavirus, has shown that a balance of passenger revenues and cargo revenues is really a crucial for long haul profitability”, meaning that widebody aircraft continue to be more suitable for SWISS long haul international services. He confirmed that the airline does not plan to deploy its A321neo ACFs to non-European destinations.
Allegiant CFO: US leisure travel to recover ‘much more quickly than corporate or international’
Allegiant EVP and CFO Greg Anderson commented on the airline’s focus on the US domestic leisure market, stating: “Leisure is going to come back quicker… much more quickly than corporate or international, which are still lagging behind”. Mr Anderson said Allegiant’s large network has been helpful in finding “pockets of demand” during the pandemic and the carrier has been “really adept at… matching capacity with demand”. He said the airline’s flexible business model “has served us well”.
Bonza to operate 186 seat aircraft with lower weekly frequency; ancillary revenue to be ‘fair and reasonable’
Bonza CEO Tim Jordan stated the start-up carrier plans to utilise 186 seat aircraft and will not be operating to markets two to three times a day. Bonza plans to operate services up to four times weekly. The carrier’s ancillary revenue is to be “fair and reasonable,” according to its CEO. Mr Jordan added inflight sales may include “quirky items” within inflight merchandise and have a “good cultural offering”.
Lufthansa SVP: VFR segment relatively stable during COVID-19 pandemic
Lufthansa senior vice president (SVP) channel management Tamur Goudarzi Pour stated “prudent capacity management is a pre-condition for the next couple of months”. Mr Goudarzi Pour said the VFR segment has been “relatively stable” during the COVID-19 crisis, adding connecting traffic is on the rise while direct routes are declining. Lufthansa’s passenger traffic for 3Q2021 was “at least” 50% of 2019 levels.
Evernym: Decentralised digital ID is ‘a really exciting breakthrough’
Evernym senior director business development Jamie Smith stated decentralised digital identity technology is “a really exciting breakthrough”. Mr Smith said: “This will be as impactful as cloud, as artificial intelligence, and it’s going to allow genuinely new partnerships, ecosystems, products, customer experiences”. He added: “If we can decentralise the control of the information, we have a much more resilient, much more secure, much more private, much more scalable way to share passenger data”.
Ultra Air CEO: It’s not about the flight, it’s about the destination
Ultra Air CEO William Shaw stated the start-up carrier is “in the business of giving people fair value for what they want”. Mr Shaw said low cost airlines worldwide have understood “it’s not about the flight, it’s about the destination”, quoting Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary saying “We didn’t know that treating people right was profitable”.
PNG is ‘perhaps leading the world in many ways’ for coronavirus travel protocol: Air Niugini CEO
Air Niugini CEO Bruce Alabaster stated Papua New Guinea (PNG) is “perhaps leading the world in many ways” in terms of inbound and outbound travel protocols. Mr Alabaster said outbound international travellers will be PCR tested and receive a result within 45 minutes, while inbound travellers receive a PCR test within three days and a rapid antigen test at the airport. All non citizens arriving into Papua New Guinea must be fully vaccinated.
IndiGo CEO eager for India to establish travel bubbles with Thailand and Saudi Arabia
IndiGo CEO and whole time director Ronojoy Dutta stated the LCC would like to see India’s Government sign travel bubble agreements with Thailand and Saudi Arabia, “because those are important markets for us”. India has travel bubble agreements with 28 countries at present. Mr Dutta noted “things have been looking much better internationally” for IndiGo since India established travel bubbles with the UAE and Qatar, enabling services to Doha, Dubai and Sharjah to resume.
Global Secure Accreditation: ISO 31030 ‘provides a really good, structured framework’
Global Secure Accreditation executive director Bob Quick stated the ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management standard “provides a really good, structured framework to guide travel managers through a structured process where you can analyse each part of your programme and satisfy yourself that you’re aligned with this guidance”.
ASPA CEO: Coronavirus has ‘given us an opportunity to do sit and relook’ at air services
Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA) CEO George Faktaufon stated the coronavirus pandemic has “given us an opportunity to do sit and relook at the way we… provide air services” within the Pacific Islands. Mr Faktaufon added it has provided “some opportunities for us to… try and provide the services” in a more economical way.