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.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh on the UK’s air passenger duty (APD):

“British consumers are losing out because of APD. In Spain and France, LEVEL can offer lower fares than it can in the UK – and that goes for other longhaul low cost airlines too…. MPs need to know that APD undermines our ability to introduce new low cost flights that would benefit their constituents. If APD was axed, IAG could open new routes and operate LEVEL from regional airports”.

Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema on the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market:

“When we say that this Single African Air Transport Market does not favour us, it is not because we cannot compete. It means that it does not favour us at this stage, except [if] a level playing field is created. We must try to protect our own in this country. If we don’t protect our own airlines, they will continue to struggle”.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons on Ryanair’s plans to launch services from Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol to Shannon Airport during summer 2018:

“As our nearest neighbour and our largest market for overseas tourism, Britain remains a priority for us and we have a very busy marketing programme rolling out there right now. As an island the importance of convenient flights cannot be overstated – they are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism”.

Air France-KLM chairman and CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac on the group’s distribution strategy and IATA’s NDC:

“The aim is to develop direct sales contact on our websites and via IATA NDC”. Mr Janaillac expects NDC will “allow the distribution of rich content and differentiated offers, facilitate the sale of ancillary products and creates a base for consistent response to customer needs on all channels and touch points”.

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss on the introduction of Bombardier CSeries aircraft to its fleet:

“We have a very good environment at the moment in Europe for airlines in general… We are taking more aircraft, six more this year, six more next year and then transitioning to an all CSeries fleet in the future”. Mr Gauss added that the aircraft allows to “open new routes which maybe don’t make sense for a 220 seater”. Mr Gauss said: “We see ourselves in a position to open up new routes and add them to the Riga hub or to the Baltics, which haven’t been served yet”.

Royal Jordanian Airlines CEO Stefan Pichler on the company’s five year turnaround plan to compete better with LCCs:

“Our plan is not about market share and not about opening new markets… Our plan is making money every year, full stop”, he said. Mr Pichler said hot meals have largely been replaced by cold snacks on most services, adding: “We try to play the low cost game in Jordan… We have very attractive fares, we have non-refundable cheap fares, and we grow the market”.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker on the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region:

“We’ve only lost the routes in the blockaded countries, but we have replaced them with new routes and we have expanded our network usually and we are continuing to do so. We are continuing to grow, so the main purpose of the blockades have failed. Yes it has increased operating costs, and has also put a financial strain on the airline into this is why I mentioned to you last November that our bottom-line will be affected and Qatar Airlines will post its first loss from the last seven years”. He questioned: “What was achieved by our adversaries in this blockade? Zero…They failed in intimidating our country, in putting us against the wall, trying to take over our sovereignty, trying to dictate our foreign policy, trying to dictate who our friends will be”. He added: “The only progress that I see in this is President Trump coming in on the side of Qatar and making it very clear that this blockade should end…We’re hoping that President Trump will impose enough pressure on our neighbours”.