> Soundbytes: travel and aviation industry insights – week ending 29-Sep-2023

Soundbytes: travel and aviation industry insights – week ending 29-Sep-2023

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.

IATA director general: ‘SAF will always be priced at a premium to kerosene’

IATA director general Willie Walsh stated the cost of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is expected to decrease, but added: “I truly believe SAF will always be priced at a premium to kerosene”. Mr Walsh said: “The industry recognises the problem, is doing everything it can to address it and we will achieve the targets”.

KLM CEO: Dutch transfer tax ‘incomprehensible and very worrying’

KLM CEO Marjan Rintel confirmed Netherlands’ House of Representatives passed a motion on 25-Sep-2023 to introduce a tax for transfer passengers. Ms Rintel labelled the imposition of such a tax “incomprehensible and very worrying”, noting that on 07-Jul-2023 “the government ruled that taxing passengers travelling via Schiphol to their final destination is bad for our economy and accessibility”.

A4E MD: European airlines have come through the summer in a stronger position

Airlines for Europe (A4E) managing director Ourania Georgoutsakou stated summer 2023 “has proven to be a strong season for European airlines”. Ms Georgoutsakou said while “the operational challenges of last summer have receded”, “they have not entirely disappeared”, highlighting “the disruption caused by the ATC failure in the UK a couple of weeks ago”. She added: “Overall European airlines have come through the summer in a much healthier and stronger position”.

Lufthansa CEO: Insufficient electricity to generate green fuels in Germany

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr stated it is unlikely Germany would have sufficient green electricity to generate the green fuels required to decarbonise aviation. Mr Spohr said the carrier “would need around half of Germany’s electricity to create enough of the fuels”. He added it therefore seems “realistic” to produce the synthetic fuel “abroad, where wind or solar energy is available in practically unlimited quantities”.

Delta Air Lines to revise SkyMiles changes following negative feedback: CEO

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported the carrier will revise planned changes to its Delta SkyMiles loyalty programme following negative member feedback. Mr Bastian stated the carrier “went too far” and “moved too fast” with the changes, explaining Delta aimed to “rip the band aid off” rather than gradually making changes over the years. Mr Bastian said the follow-up changes will be made public in the coming weeks.

Spanish Tourism Minister: Development of aviation fundamental for tourism growth

Spain’s acting Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Héctor Gómez stated “the development of aviation is fundamental for our growth as a global tourist attraction, as well as for the new industrial revolution that is underway thanks to European funds”. Mr Gómez reiterated the need for continued support of the sector which is “in constant technological transformation”, while also facing “very important sustainability challenges”.

Qantas Group reviewing customer policies, adding more frequent flyer seats: CEO

Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson stated “We’re putting more people in our call centres to help solve problems faster”. Ms Hudson added the company is also adding more frequent flyer seats and is “reviewing all of our customer policies to make sure they’re fair”.

Air France CEO criticises Govt plans to tax transport sector

Air France CEO Anne Rigail criticised the French government’s plans to impose a new tax on the transport sector, labelling it “not all good news… as the airport operators will pass on this extra cost on airlines”. Ms Rigail added: “It poses problems for us… for us, it raises new competitive distortions which will hurt us”.

Safran CEO: Supply chain problems ‘will broadly last throughout 2024’

Safran CEO Olivier Andriès reiterated that he expects global aerospace supply chain issues to continue into 2024. Mr Andriès said: “We remain in a difficult situation with the supply chain”, and added: “Problems are not solved and will broadly last throughout 2024”.

IAG CEO: TAP can become another success story within IAG

IAG CEO Luis Gallego, commenting on TAP Air Portugal’s privatisation, stated “we’ll have to study the process and carefully consider the details, but we feel optimistic and believe that TAP can become another success story within IAG”. Mr Gallego said: “We can jointly develop the Lisbon hub and provide significant value to Portugal and the Portuguese people”, noting our networks are highly complementary with many opportunities to connect passengers from Lisbon to Latin America, North America and Africa”.

South African Airways ‘will produce profits’: Interim CEO

South African Airways (SAA) interim CEO John Lamola stated the airline’s strategic plan includes “a budget that will ensure that we will produce profits”. Mr Lamola said the plan covers network expansion, additional aircraft, organisational stability and “brand preservation”. He said SAA “will have to be profitable” at the end of FY2025, which commences in Apr-2024.

Finnair benefitting from well functioning Helsinki hub: CEO

Finnair CEO Top Manner stated that “if you look at the European summer it has been certainly better than it was last year, but I would not characterise it as good yet”. Mr Manner said: “ATC issues and challenges have been impacting on-time performance in European aviation and then on top of that there have been specific ATC failures like IT failures in the UK. He added that while the carrier’s “advantage in this environment has been that our home hub in Helsinki is very, very well functioning”, the carrier has still been “exposed to the ATC issues in European airspace and also some of the capacity constraints in European airports”.

Breeze Airways CEO: Scheduled flights exceed ‘soft’ demand for autumn 2023

Breeze Airways founder and CEO David Neeleman reported US carriers have scheduled an excess of flights in autumn 2023 amid “soft” demand. Mr Neeleman stated: “There’s a lot of people travelling [in autumn] but you just have to fill that extra 20% of seats”. He added the carrier expects demand to pick back up later in the year, with Breeze “looking forward to a good winter”.

Ryanair CEO denounces proposed ANA airport charge increases

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson, commenting on an ANA Airports of Portugal proposal to increase airport charges at Lisbon, Porto, Faro, the Azores and Madeira, stated “There is no justification for ANA to increase charges by up to 18% from 2024. The monopoly airport concessionaire is only seeking higher charges, on top of already high charges, at the expense of Portuguese tourism, connectivity and local employment”.

Hawaiian Airlines to restore pre-pandemic Tokyo Haneda operations in winter 2023/24: CEO

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram reported the carrier plans to restore pre-pandemic operations at Tokyo Haneda Airport in winter 2023/24. Mr Ingram stated Hawaiian intends to “ramp up” Kona-Tokyo Haneda service “as demand recovers”, noting there is “momentum” in the Japanese market.

Transport Minister: Resumption of service at Waterford Airport ‘not an easy commercial proposition’

Ireland’s Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan confirmed the government has not received a proposal for the commercial development of Waterford Airport, stating that the reinstatement of passenger services at the airport is “not an easy commercial proposition”. The airport last hosted commercial passenger services in 2016, handling 13,511 passengers. Mr Ryan added: “It has not come to us and I think it would be difficult to develop it because of the volume of airports we have serving a relatively small population”.

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