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.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on London Stansted Airport’s application to increase passenger limits from 35 million to 43 million p/a:

“London Stansted Airport continues to grow strongly under the ownership of MAG, where Ryanair’s traffic has grown from 13.2 million customers in 2013 to over 21 million this year with over 140 routes. Stansted’s potential and spare capacity remains untapped so it’s vital to make best and efficient use of the existing infrastructure to provide more growth opportunities and greater value for consumers at a time when runway capacity is more constrained in the south east of England”.

Africa Albida Tourism CEO Ross Kennedy on how the number of new air access between Southern and East Africa will change traveller behaviour:

“As travellers have more information available to them, they will start to insist that their agent books certain routes, and this will lead to greater traffic on new routes, driving traffic away from standard routes. Experienced repeat travellers always seek to be ‘pioneers’ of new routes. As a result, the niche/concierge agents will quickly adapt to sell these routes. Increased air access means greater diversity of choice for travellers. It also encourages destination competition, leading to better pricing and growth in arrivals. Finally, it will result in more innovative marketing and packaging strategies in order to respond to the new demand.”

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker on the new supersonic aircraft under development by Boom Technology:

“Qatar Airways would be very interested to look at it and we wouldn’t hesitate to be the launch customer. The only reason we are not committing to this is that they have still not identified who will be the engine manufacturer for this airplane. Once there is a proper commitment from an engine manufacturer to this programme, Qatar Airways would be very interested in a small number of these airplanes”.

AirAsia India CEO Amar Abrol on plans to introduce an etiquette video for first time flyers, instructing them on key elements of the air travel process, and providing guidelines around security and safety:

“The video is still in production, but we will try to make sure people see it before the flight, whether through our social media channels or website. There are a lot of things frequent flyers take for granted, which many Indian passengers don’t necessarily know, such as the importance of packing light or arriving at the airport on time”. Indian airlines have noted that the number of new flyers causes unique challenges. Mr Abrol stated: “Many people don’t have a loo at home and suddenly they are having to use a loo in the sky”. He added that the levels of experience were often shown in the questions passengers ask. “We have been asked ‘Can I carry live fish in a tank?’, ‘Can I carry fish packed in ice?’ and ‘Can I carry blood?’… People are used to rail travel and bus travel, where anything goes”.

Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield on the airline’s outlook for the next 12 to 18 months:

“There’s still growth in our markets and the challenge is managing the growth as we keep up with the opportunities. The challenge is bringing more aircraft in, training more staff and keeping things going while focusing on our three very simple KPIs of safety, on time performance and financial sustainability”.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh on the progress of Brexit negotiations:

“We’re certainly very pleased with the UK Government… We have had extensive engagements with all of the relevant regulators. We will continue to do so, and those engagements will continue over the coming months. It’s important to remind people IAG is a Spanish company”.

Copa Holdings CEO Pedro Heilbron on adding WiFi to its aircraft:

“Our philosophy over the years is to try to be as consistent as we can, which means not cutting important stuff during tough times and then adding a bunch of unnecessary stuff during good times… We are never in a position where we have to add stuff that we cut in the past for the lack of financial resources… We have no immediate plans to implement WiFi”.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes on the company’s business segregation into airline transportation and digital divisions, commenced in 2017:

“We are making this change to streamline our businesses, provide better clarity and business focus across each division. This new structure will also give our rising digital ventures the same prominence as our traditional airline business”. Mr Fernandes confirmed the group’s digital businesses will continue to expand and support the airline business, in areas such as inflight connectivity, duty free sales, e-payments and loyalty. “With this new structure, we are giving our digital businesses room to grow beyond serving just AirAsia and in becoming major tech players within their own right”.