> 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.

Air New Zealand CEO: ‘It’s really hard to speculate on what’s going to happen with fares’

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran stated: “It’s really hard to speculate on what’s going to happen with fares – it’s been a hot topic of conversation and I expected that after you go into a profit situation that we have gone into”. Mr Foran said: “Fares vary around depending on when you book, generally, and so what we want to do is make sure we get a profit, we can buy some more planes, we can get some more seats out there for customers… so that we do keep our fares reasonable”. He added: “I think we take a more measured approach to how we address things… I’m a bit averse to doing gimmicky-type sales, I’d rather us concentrate on delivering a product over a long period of time and doing a good job of doing that”.

Cebu Pacific CEO: ‘Infrastructure in the Philippines is improving’

Cebu Pacific CEO Mike Szucs stated: “There are some very attractive places to go, but the runways aren’t long or strong enough [to take an A321neo or an A330]”, adding: “If we were to just have A321neos, there’d be places that we couldn’t go to with these jets”. Mr Szucs stated: “Of course, the infrastructure in the Philippines is improving, and there’s really encouraging signs from the current administration. So maybe in future some of those short airfields will be lengthened and they will eventually take a jet”. He noted: “The A330 is a very effective aircraft to attack the slot issues”.

JetZero CEO reports ‘universal interest’ from airlines in blended wing body aircraft design

JetZero CEO Tom O’Leary stated: “We’re beginning conversations with all of the airlines and finding out what their appetite is for aircraft in the middle market”. Mr O’Leary added: “There’s been universal interest and appeal because they’re all interested in fuel efficiency and emissions reductions”.

Qantas Group CEO expecting downward pressure on fares to continue

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated “We’ve already seen economy fares come down on average by around 12% over the past six months as more capacity returned to the market, especially internationally, and we expect that downward pressure to continue”. Mr Joyce added: “Jetstar is on track to reach its target of selling 10 million fares under [AUD100 (USD64.13)] this calendar year”.

Norwegian CEO: Summer 2023 will be one the best in our history

Norwegian delivered (24-Aug-2023) an operating profit of NOK651 million (EUR56.25 million) for 2Q2023. CEO Geir Karlsen stated: “This quarter has demonstrated our ability to ramp up capacity and deliver operational performance as one of the absolute top airlines in Europe”. He added: “The summer season of 2023 will be one the best in our history and I am happy that forward bookings remain strong with business travel returning and others planning their autumn holidays”.

SPTO CEO: Limited air access and climate change impacts challenging tourism sector

Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) CEO Christopher Cocker stated limited air access and impacts of climate change pose “significant” challenges to the tourism sector, particularly in the Small Island States of the Pacific. Mr Cocker said addressing the external challenges could include responsible and regenerative recovery and using tourism as a driver to help mitigate climate change impacts. He added the industry also needs to focus on forging innovative partnerships, embracing digital transformation, fostering global and regional cooperation and adopting integrated approaches to prevent isolated efforts and duplication. Mr Cocker noted: “Sustainable financing from donors and development partners can facilitate easier access to funds for the private sector, enabling them to build resilience”.

Lufthansa Cargo CEO: Currently experiencing various upheavals within the airfreight industry

Lufthansa Cargo CEO Ashwin Bhat stated “we are currently experiencing various upheavals within the airfreight industry”, adding “sustainability, digitalisation and booming online trade are playing a central role”. Mr Bhat said that “in order to be able to master this, we are relying on decisive and dynamic action along with all stakeholders in the industry”.

Flair Airlines improves amid ‘growing pains’, shifts away from ‘brutal’ domestic market: CEO

Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones reported the carrier’s on time performance and passenger load factor have improved amid “growing pains”. Mr Jones noted operational and financial constraints have impacted the carrier, as well as a Canadian Transportation Agency investigation into the carrier’s ownership. Mr Jones stated the carrier is shifting away from a ‘brutal domestic fight” for capacity towards international routes as the carrier plans to add five aircraft to its fleet in 2024.

Auckland International Airport summer capacity to North America to eclipse pre-COVID levels: CEO

Auckland International Airport reported it handled 15.9 million passengers during FY2023, an increase of 183% year-on-year. The airport reported international seat capacity recovered to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, with domestic recovering to 89%. CEO Carrie Hurihanganui added: “It will be a busy summer with current projections showing capacity between Auckland and North America set to exceed 2019 levels, with a forecast 29% increase over Nov-2023 to Mar-2024 compared to the same five month period prior to COVID-19”.

SAS CEO: Ryanair’s CPH plans emphasises tough competitive landscape

SAS CEO Anko van der Werff, commenting on Ryanair’s plans to open a base at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport (CPH), stated “this just emphasises once again the tough competitive landscape we are in after the pandemic”. Mr van der Werff added “therefore it is necessary that we successfully move forward with our ongoing transformation journey and complete the SAS Forward plan”. He continued: “We will continue to expand our network and capacity, and we will add more routes to our upcoming winter program from CPH”.

Uganda Airlines CEO optimistic for new Mumbai service launching in Oct-2023

Uganda Airlines plans to commence three times weekly Entebbe-Mumbai service on 07-Oct-2023. Its CEO Ms Bamuturaki said: “We want to start slowly”, adding: “As we see the route growing, we will ramp up operations”. She also commented: “We are optimistic about this route, especially for cargo operations, tourism and value addition”.

Air France-KLM CEO: We liked the additional routes that TAP would have for the group

Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith stated that “from a strategic point of view, we like TAP [TAP Air Portugal]”, adding “we liked the additional routes that TAP would have for the group”. Commenting on TAP’s privatisation, Mr Smith said “we are seeing how the process unfolds and when it opens, depending on the conditions, we will decide whether to enter the formal process”.

DAT CEO: Copenhagen-Karup route not sustainable without Govt support

DAT CEO Jesper Rungholm, commenting on the Copenhagen-Karup route, stated “the route will never be sustainable as an independent business, as it simply will not be able to function without government support”. The carrier has confirmed plans to suspend Copenhagen-Karup service from 08-Sep-2023, having only resumed the service on 07-Aug-2023.

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