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.

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin requested IATA help it access Saudi Arabia airspace so it can compete with Air India’s planned route between India and Israel:

“I am approaching you and kindly requesting IATA to intervene and to represent aviation industry’s interest by advocating equal overfly rights for all carriers over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and opposing any form of discrimination”.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes on the sale of Asia Aviation Capital:

“We’re just replacing interest costs with leasing costs and the rates are all very competitive right now, so no real impact on earnings going forward. There are a couple more assets the board is looking at that are probably ready for selling or joint venturing”.

SaudiGulf Airlines president and CEO Samer Majali on aspirations to acquire widebody equipment:

“A firm order is likely to be placed for eight to ten aeroplanes, with some options to make it up to 16”. Mr Majali said both the Boeing 787 and 777 are under consideration. “We’ll be using those wide-bodied aeroplanes initially on short to medium range routes, where passenger demand is high… We will do long range eventually”.

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Izham Ismail on “encouraging” year-on-year improvement in yield and “healthy” RASK growth of 2% in 4Q2017:

“A concerted focus on yield in the second half of the year has seen an overall improvement in yield and RASK bucking the general downward trend of other regional players. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on and drive yield to cushion the group from rising fuel costs and forex volatility”.

ACI-NA president and CEO Kevin Burke on attracting new staff at airports:

“The Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement during a time when the airport industry is growing significantly. Many airports are turning their focus on how to attract and retain new talent to move the industry forward. We are also taking a hard look at the new skills the industry will require for the years ahead, especially in the areas of technology, capital planning, concessions management, and airport design”.

Jet Airways deputy CEO and CFO Amit Agarwa on the carrier’s plans to add around 400 pilots over the next two years:

“Our focus is on getting more Indian pilots. Sometimes this need may not be fully met locally for short term requirements, so we have to look outside. But our focus is on hiring Indian pilots. With 2000 pilots on the rolls now, Jet Airways has the maybe the largest bench strength in India”.

Flybe chief commercial officer Roy Kinnear on the carrier will now accepting Universal Airline Travel Plan (UATP) for corporate bookings made online:

“There is an undisputed demand for online UATP acceptance given the superior data management capabilities and, as such, the cards are widely used across the airline industry for corporate bookings… They are particularly prevalent in the German market – issued by AirPlus International – and many companies will only book with carriers who accept them”.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh on post Brexit ownership structure concerns and potential disruptions to UK-US services:

“We are flying today in countries that do not even recognise this issue of ownership. There will be a comprehensive open skies agreement… Anybody who doesn’t believe that is living in cloud cuckoo land. It is absolute madness. The UK government is determined to reach an agreement with the US and with the EU. That is what will happen”.

Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade on post Brexit travel between the UK and US:

“UK airlines fully expect that the UK and US Governments will sign an open and liberal agreement – including on ownership and control – that will allow UK carriers to continue to serve the US following our departure from the EU”.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on ongoing negotiations with European pilots unions:

“We are very close to concluding agreements in Spain and Italy and expect them to be finalised within the next month. We’re not making as much progress in other countries most notably Ireland and in Portugal. We expect some disruptions, possibly over Easter, maybe over the summer period”.