Your weekly travel and aviation Quote-a

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.

Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis on plans for the company’s first routes to be in Asia:

“Asia represents the largest global market by far, and traffic between Asia and Europe shows a healthy and steady growth.” Mr Terzakis affirmed, “The market is there, but it was hijacked in the early 2000’s by neighbouring hub airports such as Frankfurt, Schiphol and Paris… Our ambition is to serve a selection of Asian destinations while offering a competitive service that makes sense to leisure, premium and business travellers… We aim to drop the bling and focus on the essentials”.

AirAsia India CEO Amar Abrol on the challenges facing the carrier and the industry:

“For us, the challenge is not the fluctuating or volatile fuel prices – that is the same for everybody in the industry. Our challenge is to stay focused. We work hard to keep costs under control. Our cost per available seat kilometre is similar to that of IndiGo. We have to constantly keep our eye on the ball and also keep everybody on a single track. We are growing so fast; we have 2300 employees now, and to keep everybody aligned to AirAsia’s values and to offer low fares is tough. Low fares are all about keeping costs low. And that is our commitment to our passengers. But we do not compromise on quality, as you can see we are the only LCC that offers leather seats, food from Taj and also still serve non-vegetarian food where competition has withdrawn”.

Pegasus Airlines CEO Mehmet Nane on growth expectations for 2018:

“The positive trends in the sector and our own company confirm our beliefs. The figures show that we are heading in the right direction. The civil aviation sector is in a much better position generally and has managed to shake off the negative impact of the past few years”.

Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin on the recently signed USD12.5 billion agreement with SpiceJet:

“Of course, it is a big deal and when you a sign a deal of more than USD12 billion you are extremely happy… It is extremely important for CFM, Safran and General Electric, which is our partner in this joint venture. We have to produce 340 engines even if it is over a long period of time, it is something extremely exciting for a company like ours”. He noted that India is a growing country in terms of commercial aerospace market. “India is a growing country in terms of commercial aerospace market. You have a growth in the range of 17 per cent a year. We need more and more aeroplanes…. We have a market share of over 70 per cent in the short medium range aircraft segment. We wish to have a better and higher market share in India”.

London Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate on expanded operations and new routes launching at the airport in 2018:

“I am delighted to welcome Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, to Gatwick for this exciting new double daily service to Doha. Our existing airlines are also providing even more choice for passengers with Norwegian starting routes to Austin and Chicago this month [Mar-2018] while also adding 150,000 extra seats on their trans Atlantic services from Gatwick this summer”.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker on the carrier’s investment in Air Italy:

“We don’t just put cash on the table and let the status quo continue”, Mr Al Baker emphasised, adding: “We negotiate with the unions, we negotiate with the staff… We put conditions in place”. Mr Al Baker concluded: “We don’t know how Air Italy will evolve… We maybe need to order more planes to lease to them”.

Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans on the prospects for resuming growth at Singapore:

“I think with any airline you’ve got to get your network right. Networks will change and evolve over time… Qantas is growing it’s services into Singapore, and we seen some changes to Jetstar’s services between Australia and Singapore as a result of that, and the ability then to re-deploy some capacity”. Mr Evans noted that, “with any business, performance drives growth. We are seeing profitability from Jetstar Asia today, and that’s good to see. We will look to grow this airline if we can see that the demand’s out there and that the performance is out there, and that the opportunities are out there”.

South African Airways (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana on the airline’s turnaround plan:

“We now have a clear strategy and clear path to profitability defined by the board. We are looking at a three-year window to get to a break-even point. We continue to revise the strategy as we see more opportunities”. SAA intends to suspend or reduce frequency on loss making services and transfer surplus aircraft to Mango. Mr Jarana said: “We are busy talking to the National Treasury about how to fund the new plan. We are quite clear that the new plan is solid and we are very aggressive about implementing it”.