> Soundbytes: your weekly travel and aviation industry insights

Soundbytes: your weekly travel and aviation industry insights

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.

CWT and GBTA forecast business travel costs to grow at ‘more moderate pace’ in 2023 and 2024

CWT and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecast global business travel and events costs will increase further in 2023 and 2024, but at “a much more moderate pace” than in 2022. GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang stated: “It’s clear that rising costs and pricing pressures will likely continue to be a significant factor in business travel for the foreseeable future. And as we experienced over the past few years, we may also continue to see different pricing fluctuations across industry verticals, business sectors and global regions”.

Cebu Pacific sees domestic opportunities outside Manila: CEO

Cebu Pacific CEO Mike Szucs stated: “The low fare model is absolutely the one to do in short haul travel… So we’re just out to do it better than we did before”. Mr Szucs said: “We’re pragmatic about where we go, and the routes we’re on have very specific characteristics. For example, Manila to Dubai is an incredibly competitive route, but it’s such a big route that there’s room for everyone”. He added: “It’s the areas outside Manila that we see an opportunity domestically for us to move on”.

Boeing: SAF industry in Australia will have benefits to regional development

Boeing regional sustainability lead Heidi Hauf stated: “What we’ve seen in the small amounts of SAF [sustainable aviation fuel] production around the world today is it’s really only thriving as a production industry in jurisdictions that have policy mechanisms in place that incentivise this new industry”. Ms Hauf said Australia has examples to look to with the US and the EU, which are “well ahead of where Australia is”, noting the policy mechanisms signal demand and targets but also incentives and subsidies to help with the green premium. She stated: “We see the SAF industry in Australia not only having benefits to regional development and economic opportunities including export, but it helps us to have domestic fuel security”. Ms Hauf added: “We currently import over 90% of our jet fuel need and having a domestic industry could really help that insecurity”.

Finnair introducing Avios as its new loyalty programme currency in early 2024

Finnair announced it is partnering IAG Loyalty to introduce Avios as its new loyalty programme currency in early 2024. Chief commercial officer Ole Orvér commented: “2024 marks the start of a new era with our loyalty programme, with new benefits and improved options for our members to use their earned Avios – both within Finnair and IAG Loyalty’s partner network”.

Air Canada CEO: Summer operations ‘not at expected levels’ despite improved resources

Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau stated the carrier’s Jun/Jul-2023 operations were “not at expected levels”, despite the carrier improving its resources and tools available compared to summer 2022. Mr Rousseau reported Air Canada is “increasing our efforts to protect the customer journey from disruption” by leveraging its influence to mitigate pilot attrition, weather disruptions and global supply chain issues, adding the carrier is “confident” that its efforts will “generate positive outcomes”. Air Canada reported a net profit of CAD838 million (USD622.35 million) for 2Q2023.

Qantas Airways: Our NDC capabilities are ‘pretty mature’

Qantas Airways senior manager distribution Nathan Smuelders stated: “As far as we’re concerned, our capabilities are pretty mature… we’ve got a few gaps that we’re working on at the moment”. Mr Smuelders said: “The NDC standard and our airline capability, in our view, is pretty good, we’re ready and we’re trying to encourage the industry to come along”.

Air Greenland CEO: There is interest for Greenland in the North American market

Air Greenland CEO Jacob Nitter Sørensen stated “there is interest for Greenland in the North American market, but we still have the accommodation constraints”. Mr Sørensen believes the carrier “could possibly fill a plane or two a week, but this would cannibalise traffic from our European operation, because of a lack of capacity”. As a result, he said that expansion in the American market “is a step-by-step process, with a long term perspective”.

Additional Qatar Airways air frequencies ‘not in national interest’: Australian MoT

Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King stated the Australian Government determined additional air frequencies operated by Qatar Airways would not be “in our national interest”. Ms King noted Australia’s international capacity has not recovered as strongly as the domestic market.

Eurowings CEO: We don’t feel any weakness in travel and booking behaviour

Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof stated that “despite the recession in Germany, we don’t feel any weakness in travel and booking behaviour, rather the opposite”. As previously reported by CAPA, the carrier reported in Aug-2023 that it has already broken even at the end of before the traditionally busiest summer quarter.

Tourism New Zealand attracting ‘high quality’ travellers: CEO

Tourism New Zealand CEO René de Monchy stated: “For the long term benefit of New Zealand, we target visitors who are more likely to positively contribute to regenerative tourism and New Zealand’s culture, nature, society, and economy”. Mr de Monchy said: “We envision that by 2030, all visitors to New Zealand will be of higher quality and more productive and regenerative tourism will be ensured”. He added: “It is imperative to note that high-quality visitors go well beyond high net worth and include all types of travellers”.

Avinor: Leisure travel recovering faster than business traffic

Avinor handled 4.8 million passengers across its airport network in Jul-2023, up 15% year-on-year and down 5% on Jul-2019 levels. VP for traffic development Gaute Skallerud Riise said: “The combination of business and leisure travel often makes June the year’s busiest month, but this year we have seen an uptick in volume for July… the fact that July is the month with the highest level of traffic unlike in 2019 is largely attributable to recovery of holiday and leisure travel being much greater than that of business travel, which means the peak occurs in July rather than June”.

Budapest International Airport CEO predicts return to pre-pandemic traffic levels by end 2024

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport CEO Kam Jandu said the airport expects passenger traffic for 2023 to exceed 14.3 million, “very close” to 2019 levels. Mr Jandu stated traffic to/from Turkiye, Israel and South Korea is trending above pre-pandemic levels, while traffic to/from Spain and Italy is close to 2019 volumes. He added the airport expects to recover pre-pandemic traffic levels by end 2024, with the return of services to/from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto the “top priorities”.

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