The Blue Swan Daily brings you a roundup of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments from those industry leaders in the know.
FFPs an ‘important’ part of a ‘smaller pie’ post-COVID-19 crisis: Qatar Airways CEO
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, said FFPs are an “important” part of a “smaller pie” that now has to be shared between airlines post-COVID-19 crisis. He said the airline has been “very flexible” with its FFP through membership extensions and not deducting miles after a certain period of time. “This FFP is a very important tool and very valuable… we want to make sure we properly utilise our FFP to grow our business when things rebound”, Mr Al Baker concluded.
Flight Centre CEO: ‘Business have responsibility to be proactive’
Flight Centre CEO Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, stated “in the industry, we all have to be proactive, businesses have not had any positive input”. Mr Turner said: “At the moment some of these states are run by chief medical officers who are not interested in the economy, thats why our economy will be ruined if we’re not careful”. He added: “As business leaders, particularly in travel and tourism, we have a responsibility to be proactive about that and we all need to pull together”.
Corporate travel to return to 75% to 80% in short to medium term: Air New Zealand CCO
Air New Zealand CCO Cam Wallace, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, stated the carrier believes “travel and Zoom” or “travel and Teams” can be complementary products, and expects corporate travel demand to return 75% to 80% of pre-coronavirus levels in the short to medium term.
Qantas CEO: Markets, like conferences, will come back
Qantas Airways Group CEO Alan Joyce, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, stated “there’s no doubt that Zoom and the economic impact of COVID-19 will have an impact on business travel”, adding: “I’m probably more worried about the economic impact because we’ve always seen a big correlation between business activity and GDP”. Mr Joyce said: “I’m not thinking this is a disaster that a lot of people say Zoom will have because there are a huge amount of markets like the fly in fly out and government business which are growing”. He added markets, like conferences, will also come back “as there’s nothing like having the people in the room and interacting with them”. Mr Joyce stated: “There will be a hit, but it won’t be as dire as people are suggesting”.
Travelport: ‘Very few travellers want to give up the comfort of access to an airport lounge’
Travelport global head of airline partners Damian Hickey, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, said feedback from travellers shows that “very few travellers want to give up the comfort of access to an airport lounge”. He noted lounge access at airports is “still in high demand” with 61% of travellers wanting the service remain open.
Virgin CEO: Our product will serve corporates ‘loyal to us right now’
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, stated “we have loyal companies contracted to fly with us corporately who are wanting us to come back and serve their needs”. Mr Scurrah said: “Travel budgets will be under more pressure than ever when we come back, our lower cost base will allow us to compete more aggressively as a value carrier”. He added: “We offer a very good quality product which we believe will serve corporates loyal to us right now”.
CAPA: Government support helped to ‘oil the wheels’ of China’s recovery
CAPA – Centre for Aviation managing director Derek Sadubin, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, stated “there is explicit government support for China’s airline system, reflecting the widespread central and provincial government ownership of the Chinese airlines”. Mr Sadubin added: “This explicit support has helped to ‘oil the wheels’ of the recovery”. He said: “China recovery is fragile – and susceptible to setbacks, but, assuming the authorities stay on top of things, and give people the confidence to travel, recovery is expected to continue and be back into positive territory (relative to 2019) well before the end of 2020”.
Fiji Airways CEO: ‘Things will not return to what it was pre-COVID and we will enter a new normal’
Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen said: “Things will not return to what it was pre-COVID and we will enter a new normal, so we are preparing ourselves for that” and one of the carrier’s plans “is to reduce our costs by a further 20 per cent in the same way we managed to save FJD40 million (USD18.9 million) in costs last year”.
Rex chairman: Domestic jet services ‘our way of paying back to the community’
Regional Express (Rex) chairman Lim Kim Hai stated the company is “excited at this big chapter in Rex’s history” and said the proposed domestic jet service is “our way of paying back to the community”. Mr Lim said: “We believe that Australia deserves an alternative domestic carrier that is safe, reliable, convenient, affordable and, most importantly, one that can go the distance against the Qantas Group”. Mr Lim said the board expects the services to be funded by a sale and leaseback of existing Saab aircraft or by interested parties. The company is continuing negotiations with interested parties, however are not finalised.
ICAO Council president: ‘Age of electric commercial aircraft could be upon us by the next decade’
ICAO Council president Salvatore Sciacchitano, in an address to leaders at the Air Transport News 2020 Summer Aviation Forum in Athens, stated the COVID-19 pandemic has “wreaked havoc on local and global air connectivity, and on the many countries and operators who made that connectivity possible”. He noted it is the duty of leaders to “keep current passengers and crew protected from COVID-19 health risks through every stage of the air travel experience”, as well as “keep commercial civil aviation viable from the most basic of economic standpoints”. Mr Sciacchitano said the rebuilding of air transport will require “vision and leadership… and a heavy reliance on innovation going forward”, which could include “entirely new technologies” or “new applications of existing technologies”. He observed that the “age of electric commercial aircraft could be upon us by the next decade”, in light of recent targets and as older and more emissions intensive aircraft are pulled from the skies in significant numbers.