For many of us over the past few weeks the world has opened again. You might have heard the nostalgic and reassuring clunk of the immigration officer’s passport stamp machine. The paperwork to begin travelling again is extraordinary, of course. It is confusing. And, yes, as the industry associations say, it restricts travel with sometimes dubious benefits other than keeping Covid-testing firms in business.
However, if you desired the face-to-face business opportunities afforded by World Routes in Milan, the IGHC meeting in Prague, the Dubai Airshow, or a handful of other in-person meetings, it was a price that had to be paid. For those who made the effort, and were allowed by their country’s travel policies, the rewards were ample. There was a feeling of ecstasy in meeting industry friends and colleagues for the first time in nearly two years. This global industry does not work well with digital interactions, does it? We simply do better business face to face.
Whether an airline, an airport or a ground handler, the story is all about working hard to ensure the sector rebounds as fast as possible, bearing in mind sustainability requirements. Richard Prince, the chief executive of leading European handler Aviapartner, put it well in his interview with ARGS for this issue when he said: “It doesn’t matter what 2019 was. It is about managing the situation we have in front of us today.”
As Prince noted, there is a very real issue of attracting staff back to aviation following the pandemic, with many lured away by industries that offer better pay and conditions. This was also a concern flagged by IATA’s director of ground operations Monika Mejstrikova at the IGHC in Prague; however, there are no easy solutions. Some airlines have been frustrated by a sluggish ramp-up by their airport and handling partners as they seek a swift return of service as soon as there is demand.
That demand has arrived fast in some countries with large domestic markets such as China, the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia. International demand has lagged; although the US unlocking of transatlantic travel restrictions to Europe in early November will help, worries remain about the pace at which the Asia-Pacific market is opening.
The Dubai Airshow gave a clear signal that it will be low-cost carriers and cargo operators that have the confidence and business agility to emerge fastest from the crisis. The three big orders at the show came from Indigo Partners for its low-cost group of Wizz Air, Frontier, Volaris and Jetsmart; Indian start-up Akasa Air; and Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways. There was also a rush of orders for new freighters, including the launch of the Airbus A350 Freighter, and passenger-to-freighter conversions.
Everyone will be watching their cashflow carefully over the winter months, hoping and praying that this revenue low point of the year does not blunt their optimism that the business forecasts for the new year are achievable.
Coming back from the conferences and shows the sense of optimism is tangible. We all crave a return to something like business as normal. ARGS will be on hand to report and analyse how the new year develops.
We wish you a happy festive season and look forward to engaging with you in 2022.
Featured in this issue
Eurowings Discover on the launch pad
Eurowings Discover, Lufthansa’s latest attempt to tap into Germany’s huge outbound tourist market, was in full ‘come-and-get-us’ mode at World Routes in Milan. The carrier, which only began op...Read More
Kansas City presses on with new terminal
“We will deliver a post-pandemic terminal at pre-pandemic prices,” declared Patrick Klein, director of aviation at Kansas City International Airport (KCI), for the Aviation Department’s developm...Read More
LATAM: Weathering many storms
Bankruptcies by three of the largest airlines in Latin America – LATAM, Avianca and Aeromexico – are turning back the clock to a time of fewer flights and choices LATAM Airlines, the largest ca...Read More
Off the grid
While many US airports languish in forever-planning cycles and political battles, one airport is showing that there’s a better way to do just about everything. Report by Michael Miller, Orlando Q...Read More
Oman Airports ready to revive
Oman Airports is delighted that Air France and Edelweiss are starting operations this winter, bringing tourists to a country that looks east across the Arabian Sea to India. Government travel restrict...Read More
On the rebound
AviaPartner, Europe’s largest ground handler, has big ambitions to grow strongly and sustainably out of this crisis. Chief executive Richard Prince explains how in this exclusive interview with ARGS...Read More
Routes is back
The global air service development community met again for the first time on 10-12 October in the Italian city of Milan. World Routes 2021 attracted some 1,700 delegates, which although down on the 2,...Read More
Saudi Arabia is the place to go
The Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) team at World Routes were not surprised that they were receiving a lot of attention at the globe’s favourite network development meeting, because Saudi Arabia’s t...Read More
Some Canadian Flair
There was certainly no round of applause for Garth Lund, chief commercial officer at Flair, when he called upon airports interested in attracting the Canadian start-up carrier to consider volume-based...Read More
Spirit’s big move in Miami
It is not every day that the chance comes along to establish a big operation at a major US hub. But that is exactly what Spirit Airlines got recently, when a change in the way some gates can be used a...Read More
SunExpress expands business model
In addition to expanding its route network connecting European destinations to Turkey, SunExpress is launching an interesting airline partnership model, with Air Cairo being the first to test the wate...Read More
Swedavia: A green machine
One of the first exhibitor stands to greet delegates arriving onto the show floor at World Routes in Milan was Swedavia Airports. Swedavia is renowned for serving one of the best fresh coffees from i...Read More
Tampa runs the hard yards
Chris Minner, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Tampa International Airport, is clear that the key to successfully launching a new route comes down to the basics. “We hear ...Read More
Time to discover Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is one of the destinations that is going to benefit from the launch of German tourism carrier Eurowings Discover. In March 2022 the newly launched carrier will be the first long-haul ai...Read More
Varadi’s masterplan for Wizz Air
Wizz Air was the first European carrier to see network opportunities coming out of the pandemic, with its chief executive, the polite but plain-speaking Jozsef Varadi, keen to try new things right at ...Read More
Vienna ready to charge ahead
Julian Jäger, joint chief executive and chief commercial officer at Vienna International Airport, is pleased that the support his airport has received from the Austrian Government and sensible busine...Read More