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Ryanair's Eddie Wilson: " You've got to give people confidence"

Analysis

Talking at the CAPA Live on 9-Jun-2021, Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson spoke with CAPA’s senior financial analyst Jonathan Wober.

Some of the key highlights can be found below.

The next CAPA Live is on 8-Sep-2021.

JW: Hello and welcome to another CAPA Live, and I'm delighted to give a very warm welcome to Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, the main operating company of the Ryanair group, which is responsible, I think Eddie, if I'm right, for 250-odd aircraft, which I think is 60% of the group total, or thereabouts. So it's a very significant airline in its own right. I think in fact, it's the biggest airline fleet in Western Europe.

So Eddie, I'm just going to kick off, I think, by asking you about the current situation where the group is in terms of capacity and traffic.

I think the June traffic figures for the group suggested that you're at around about 50% of 2019 seat capacity, so pre-COVID levels. But passenger numbers are still a bit below that, at 37%. So what are the plans for the group going through the summer and to the end of the year in terms of capacity?

EW: We originally had said we're going to be north of 60% of capacity and reasonably confident for the summer months, that we will get up to around 75% to 80% of capacity for this summer. The digital COVID certificate has given people the confidence to book 

“Yes. I think it's been a relatively strong build, driven by much lower fares coming back from around a million passengers in April to the five million as we made our way up into June. I think we're seeing that we originally had said we're going to be north of 60% of capacity and reasonably confident for the summer months, that we will get up to around 75[%] to 80% of capacity for this summer.

“So you have some countries that were late to the party. I think the EU passport, the digital COVID certificate, has given people the confidence to book, and with the UK and Ireland lagging, but I think the UK have with the announcement recently by the prime minister that they're getting back to normal, we expect that will make its way into travel and we will see the return to travel without restrictions for member countries.

"So I think it's gradually making its way back and I think that August will really show the level of the snapback, but too early to say on that. But I would say somewhere in the region of 75%." 

JW: The load factor that run has been achieving is in the low 70s in percentage terms. Clearly that's very strong compared to much of the industry, but it's a long way below your pre-COVID levels of mid 90%. So the priority then is you're trying to maintain as much of the network as possible and not worry too much about filling the aircraft? 

EW: We have tried to keep as many routes open as possible because the booking curve had shortened; it was very difficult to make calls on closing particular routes. You've got to give people the confidence that something is happening out there, so that when they do decide to travel, that it's available. There are some markets where we've done particularly strongly in and even throughout this, like the Italian domestic market, and also the Spanish domestic market. So we put an awful lot more capacity in there 

“Yeah, I think it's important. What we did was we cut a lot of frequencies in some markets, but we have tried to keep as many routes open as possible because the booking curve had shortened; it was very difficult to make calls on closing particular routes.

"So those that had higher frequencies, we pared back. But I think you've got to give people the confidence that something is happening out there, so that when they do decide to travel, that it's available.

"There are some markets where we've done particularly strongly in and even throughout this, like the Italian domestic market, and also the Spanish domestic market. So we put an awful lot more capacity in there. You'll have seen some of the announcements that we made initially.

"We opened a base in Venice Treviso, we had just announced the base in Turin. We put three extra aircraft into Rome Fiumicino, we put extra aircraft into Naples, Bologna, various other places around Italy

“So that market, when you looked at it like the Italian market, which would have been a good outbound market, a lot of people decided to stay at home. So that was strong, and a similar sort of profile in Spain, largely to the Balearic Islands.

"So those markets have done well, and we have been picking up an awful lot more capacity into places like the Greek islands and that, where there were more slots available this summer, in anticipation, I suppose that we're going to have a longer summer here one way or the other, whether that's going to stretch into October and potentially beyond that.

"So we'll wait and see, but there are strong pockets of markets that never really went backwards. But it's been driven, as I say, load factors by much, much lower fares." 

JW: Right. It's always been a strength of the group of course, that you do have this diversified network, unlike many of the competitors, which are very focused on one market, so you can operate domestically in all kinds of countries outside Ireland, which is where you originate, because of course the Irish market has been particularly weak, hasn't it? 

EW: In Ireland there has been a reluctance politically to take any sort of risk, I suppose, in opening up, and Ireland unfortunately has got a little bit more detached from Europe over the last number of months 

“Yes. It's just driven by the government policy here that the one country in Europe that actually needs connectivity with the rest of Europe, in particularly post-Brexit, there's only four-and-a-half million of us here, but we're now the largest English-speaking nation in the European Union. We might even get into the Eurovision Song Contest next year, I don't know.

"But that seems to be more important than restoring connectivity, but the government or whatever seemed to be caught in the headlights of the medics more so than any other country in Europe. We've had the longest lockdowns here. We still don't have indoor dining in Ireland, and it's the one country where you need indoor dining in July! 

“So there has been a reluctance politically to take any sort of risk, I suppose, in opening up, and Ireland unfortunately has got a little bit more detached from Europe over the last number of months and don't realise, I suppose, that when the economies return to normal, we will still largely be exposed here because next winter is going to be particularly bleak in the Irish market, I would say." 

JW: I saw you did a slot swap with easyJet at Stansted, so you gained some extra slots. Can you just talk about that; obviously the UK has been a little bit detached, shall we say, from the rest of Europe in more ways than one, but with Brexit, but also with different COVID-related travel restrictions, is Stansted going to continue to be one of the most important bases for Ireland, for Ryanair, in the future? 

EW: When you think about it, Stansted's the only London airport that can still grow, and it's been a very successful base for us. We've just concluded a deal with Manchester Airport Group that takes us out until 2028.

"So it's a long-term deal there that gives us a certainty to grow, and that's what we've been doing throughout Europe. I was in Agadir recently, in Morocco where we are going to base two aircraft from the winter. We already have five in Marrakesh, three in Fez. Those countries and those airports and those regions that are willing to step up to the plate and say, ‘Look, there's going to be less capacity in Europe for short-haul over the next number of years’, and that means some airports it's not going to return to.            

“So you will have seen, we're into Helsinki now, we have launched, I think eight or 10 routes up there, we will have a base in Stockholm, Arlanda.

"I've been here for almost 25 years, and almost every year we talked to Arlanda and never got anywhere, but there's an airport that realises that the incumbent airlines like SAS are not going to grow, and they're hopelessly saddled with state aid that's never going to be paid back, Norwegian capacity has gone, so Arlanda has got to look around – and who's going to get the volume? 

“So those type of deals are being struck around Europe as to where capacity is going to go. It's not necessarily that we are switching capacity, and I know you'll get onto this, but we have 210 aircraft on order. We have 60-odd of those arriving this year, and they've got to go somewhere, and they're going to go somewhere where we have core certainty, and for those airports, at least they can plan for their ancillary revenues, whether that's airport shopping, car parking, etc.

"So it's going to be a period of growth for us, but only for those airports that are willing to be realistic on cuts." 

JW: Just going back to a couple of the markets that you mentioned there, you talked about Morocco, and you've obviously got that new base going. So has that proved to be a strong demand market in the current environment? 

EW: “Yes it is. You look at places like Morocco and what Ryanair uniquely has to deliver is that you open a base in Agadir where we might've had, I think eight or 10 routes going into that from other bases beforehand, you put two aircraft in there and now you can join up potentially 240 airports in the Ryanair network, and you've got a huge digital database of being able to promote that as well.

"So that's the real key for airports, that they can add destinations, and given that span of destinations, it's really attractive for airports. Then once that works, then you can add more aircraft."

JW: Looking at the network, obviously most of your markets are in the EU. The biggest non-EU market obviously is the UK, but Morocco clearly is a non-EU market. Do you see potential for adding other, let's say North African countries? 

EW: I'm in no hurry to go to another country. We've been in Morocco since 2006, and we have a very good relationship there and we've grown steadily. We're going to do about five million passengers there this year, which is not insubstantial in that country alone. 

“I think yeah, that is a potential, but in a lot of cases it's about airport cost and competitiveness, not necessarily the destinations in themselves.

"There's also the issue of you've got to issue a political stability in places like Morocco that you don't necessarily have in some other countries in that region. I think that all adds together, in particular Morocco, it's not just a beach destination, it's a massive expansive country and it has a great tourist and growing product, not just at the beaches, but in the deserts and the cities that they have there, Marrakesh, Fez, Rabat, places like that.

“But you would like to think that when you have a growing market like that, that you'll be able to add onto those destinations, but I'm in no hurry to go to another country. We've been in Morocco since 2006, and we have a very good relationship there and we've grown steadily. We're going to do about five million passengers there this year, which is not insubstantial in that country alone. That's without any domestics or anything there." 

JW: Just going back to also, you mentioned the Nordic regions, specifically you mentioned Finland, but also you mentioned Scandinavia. I guess a cynic would say that you've been trying for many, many years and never quite managed to establish Ryanair in that region as well as you have done in other regions. So is there something different this time that's going to change things? 

EW: Places like Copenhagen are just not going to recover their traffic. There are no real airlines to go in there to fill the type of gap that Ryanair can do. And we're the only airlines taking delivery at that sort of capacity over the next number of years. Who else has taken delivery of 60-plus aircraft? 

“Yeah, I think so. We would have opened our Stockholm Skavsta base back in 2003 or 2004, and that is a secondary airport and we're still flying there. We don't have a base there, and we would have been flying, say for example, between there and Torp, which would be a secondary airport for Oslo. You're trying to build the network and from secondary airports into major cities at that time.

"That's a long, long time ago. But I think now what we have is we've got the scale, like we've had a Gothenburg base for some years, we had Skavsta, now it's in Arlanda. We're going to open a base in Riga, but we've got connections and we're well-known in Vilnius, Tallinn, and now in Helsinki, in Tampere, in Billund, we're going to have a base there at winter '21. 

“I think we have the scale this time for the connectivity or the length of sectors up there for us to be able to tag on short sectors onto longer leisure sectors. So I think we're in a completely different place this time, and you have Norwegian at a fraction of the size that it was, and you've got places like Copenhagen, which they're just not going to recover their traffic.

"There are no real airlines to go in there to fill the type of gap that Ryanair can do with the type of... And we're the only airline taking delivery at that sort of capacity over the next number of years. Who else has taken delivery of 60-plus aircraft, actually? So I think it's different this time." 

JW: You mentioned the EU digital COVID certificate briefly earlier on. Do you think the switching on of that system, in theory from the 1st of July, is going to make a big difference? You're obviously confident that you could get to 75% to 80% of pre-COVID capacity this summer. So is that triggered partly by that system?

 

EW: What we take for granted, particularly in Europe, is we're going to be able to get onto an aircraft. You don't even have to show a passport. The digital COVID certificate gives people certainty, and the hope is that at border control throughout Europe that people would just be able to show this as they go through. Because the last thing you’ll want is delays at airports 

“What do we take for granted in travel? What we take for granted, particularly in Europe, is we're going to be able to get onto an aircraft, we're going to get off the other end, we're not going to have any hassle, we're going to have to show our passport.

"For the rest of Europe, you don't even have to show a passport and nobody challenges, and you move on your way, which is just a fantastic way transport is being deregulated.

"Now you have, notwithstanding the effects of COVID, but the bureaucracy that has come up on this, I don't know how many queries I get a day from people who should be well capable of finding out what the requirements are from each country because it changes all the time, that people are reluctant: ‘Do I need an antigen test? Do I need this? Do I need a PCR test? Do I have to get it 72 hours, 48 hours?’ 

“I think the digital COVID certificate gives people the certainty, ‘I have this. It's like my passport and I can travel’, and the hope is that at border control throughout Europe, where it exists, and of course, there is no border control for most Europeans, but that people would just be able to show this as they go through, because the last thing you'll want is delays at airports.

"But I think it just gives that certainty to people. ‘I have this, I can travel. It's an extra thing on my phone, along with my passport and my boarding card’, and I think that's going to transform people booking with certainty.            

“You have things for example, in recent weeks where you had the UK open up Portugal and then close it again. They'd have been better off not opening it at all, because they just undermined confidence completely in the UK where people say, ‘I'm not going to book because the government could change its mind’.  

"But I think with the general opening open in the UK, for example, they've done a fantastic job in the UK with vaccinations, and I think they've reached a period quite recently where they've said, ‘Look, now is the right time to do this’, and whatever certificate that they bring in, I don't know whether it's the NHS certificate, that'll be acceptable. But I know that the European countries, such as Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, want to welcome at the English with open arms." 

JW: Do you ever think there's still an ongoing concern or danger that the progress with vaccinations is almost the same reason why international travel is still going to be held back, because people have this domestic bubble that's going well, but they don't want to let anybody else in and spoil it? 

EW: “Yeah. I think you'll see that in Europe initially, when this works, that people will be able to move around Europe, which coincidentally suits us as an airline.

"I think that's why it's going to take some time for international travel, particularly from a leisure point of view for that to recover, because it will be driven by vaccination levels, whether that's in the Far East or South America or Africa. People got scared from the last time round when they were stranded and couldn't get home, and people worry about that a lot.

"Whereas in a European context, you're always going to be able to get home, and there is a bubble. I think there's going to be a bubble in the United States, I think as well, and I think transatlantic will be the big corridor that will open. I don't know when that will open in any sort of significant basis, but I think long-haul tourist travel will take longer to recover, and hopefully that will spill over into more short-haul European routes, especially on our 240 destinations throughout Europe." 

JW: So you did mention briefly fares, average fares, and the question I was going to ask you was to what extent does discounting ticket prices make any difference in this kind of environment? If people are anxious about travelling, or if they're not even allowed to travel because of international restrictions, what is the role of discounting? 

EW: You can sell anything if the price is right, but what we have here is that you've got a period where you're trying to get back to some level of normality and it's important that you get as many people travelling as possible.

“I think there's always an element of being price-led in anything. You can sell anything if the price is right, but what we have here is that you've got a period where you're trying to get back to some level of normality and it's important that you get as many people travelling as possible.

If you need to nudge that along, particularly if the booking curves are all over the place at the moment, because particularly people travelling with children or whatever are nervous, I suppose, that if they've got to go somewhere where there's the requirement to have a PCR test, they may fail that test or whatever, or get a positive result, which will throw all their travel plans into chaos, and people were generally booking closer in.            

“But I just feel that fares are stimulation of that is out there in the media, it gets people's attention, and of course it has some basis. I take what you say in there, but it does have some basis in incremental travel. But if it was all price-led, we'd be back over at 95% or 96%, and clearly we're not there.

"But I just think it's important to say you've got to lead things sometimes by saying, ‘We'll put capacity in place. Let's fill as many seats as possible’. If that means that you're going to discount on fares, so be it. The world will return, and at least you've done that, because if you weren't to put in the capacity and just leave it up to governments to do things, and wait for them to put on the green light – we'd never go anywhere, it wouldn't get going. There's an element of getting ahead of it, I think for us." 

JW: At the moment, to the extent that you can reveal any data, are average fares for Ryanair going down at the moment, or are they actually holding up? 

EW: “Well, it's in a closed period, but it's no secret that our public comment has been that, of course when you're trying to fill seats you're not getting back up to the load factors that you would expect because of travel restrictions. Of course, you're going to have some discounting on fares, but I can't obviously put any colour on that." 

JW: No, quite. For an airline that obviously is ultra-low cost and thrives on low fares, are you concerned that there's been some patchy, but probably increasing, talk about introducing fare floors in different countries around Europe

EW: People travel for lots of reasons. It’s not all about people going on holiday. It’s transformed people’s lives. This idea that you're going to constrain demand by pricing just cuts people out of it. You may as well ban Volkswagen Polos and just allow people to go around in Bentleys because it's better, and there'd be less cars on the road 

“We always hear this sort of stuff from people or other airlines that can't compete with you. Look what happened in any economy that tried to put it in a price or incomes policy. It doesn't work.

"You can't do it, and all it does is that it constrains supply, and it's based on this notion from those from the higher-fare airlines, that there is some sort of privilege to flying, or that it is discretionary for other classes or whatever, when people travel for lots of reasons.

"It's not all about people going on holidays to Majorca. You only have to look at our route network of 240 destinations, it's not necessarily about that. It's about small businesses. You look some of the countries we are most successful in, like Italy where small businesses, typical family businesses down there have got six, seven people, they need to meet people, they need to bring their samples with them, etc. Or bringing people, or meeting kids or whatever, or going to university. It's transformed people's lives.

"From an environment perspective, we've got to do that in the best way that we can, and the industry is stepping up to that. But this idea that you're going to constrain demand by pricing just cuts people out of it. You may as well ban Volkswagen Polos or something, and just allow people to go around in Bentleys because it's better, and there'd be less cars on the road, but it's not very productive." 

JW: Coming at it from different angles, there is that environmental argument, but there's also a protectionism angle to it as well. I was going to ask you if there is growing talk of price floors, there's also been quite a lot of state aid in the past year. There's been argument around the use-it-or-lose-it slot rules, or the suspension of those rules as protected incumbents. So are you concerned that there is a growing level of protectionism in Europe, and where is that going to go? 

EW: TAP in Portugal are going to reduce their fleet by somewhere in the region of 30% or 40%, but they're hanging on to all the slots. For what? They should actually be freeing up those slots and allowing access in there 

“I really can't see the European Commission standing for price floors for anything. The single market is about the single market, and if we're efficient and better than anyone else – well then, that's what consumers want.

"You are seeing the thing in terms of the state aid that's going around and in particular, no strings attached on to state aid on giving up slots. You have airlines like TAP and Alitalia that are never going to grow again.

"I think somewhere in the order of TAP in Portugal are going to reduce their fleet by somewhere in the region of 30% or 40%, but they're hanging on to all the slots. For what? They should actually be freeing up those slots and allowing access in there. This idea that we can't use it any more because we've been [an] efficient business model, but we don't want anyone else to have it. 

“I don't know why airlines have this hold over governments when we've got over that in countries like the UK and Ireland, where national airlines no longer exist anymore.

"But I think that will gradually make its way through Europe. Fine, if you need to. We have no difficulty throughout this COVID crisis with governments having some form of bail out in all sorts of industries where we've had payroll supports or special things put in for the hospitality industry, etc. They can do that for airlines, but they have to do it on a non-discriminatory basis, and they should have done that on the basis of restoring traffic, rather than just giving it to airlines that are never, ever going to pay it back.

"Portugal, for example, I think they're going to hand out close to three and a half billion in a country of about 11 million people. It doesn't make any sense for a smaller airline at the end of the day, just because of the colour of the flag on the back of it." 

JW: This brings me on to the question of airline consolidation. Does it concern you that, in spite of the industry going through the biggest crisis ever, there hasn't really been a single significant exit from the market? 

EW: You have seen airlines cancelling orders, and you have airlines that are saddled with government debt, so ultimately we’re going to see capacity contract in Europe, particularly on short haul. You are going to see consolidation. State aid has slowed that, but I think it's inevitable 

“Yeah. What you have seen is that you have seen Norwegian, you have seen other airlines cancelling orders, and you have airlines that are saddled with government debt, and there's no way that governments are going to countenance so-called national carriers not paying back money and then wanting to have big capital expenditure programmes.

"So I think that's ultimately going to see capacity contract in Europe, particularly on short haul. And you will see that governments, where they've got board members (on airlines), will have influence maybe on connections to China or wherever they think is best economically, rather than running up and down to Majorca or up and down to the Balearic Islands

“So I think there's going to be opportunity for those that are strong and growing, and I think over time most of those airlines are going to find it hard to get back to pre-COVID levels.

"A lot of aircraft as well have been wrapped up for a long time, and maybe not so much thought has been put into the fact that they may not be serviceable again or it may be uneconomic.

"But most airlines are not growing, getting smaller, and you have a significant exit pretty much of Norwegian, you've got Germanwings, there's various other small ones around the side. But I think you are going to see consolidation. State aid has slowed that, but I think it's inevitable." 

JW: Yeah. We're rapidly running out of time and there's a lot of things I still want to ask you. So I'm going to try and ask you quicker questions if I can. Fleet plans, the 737 MAX, the impact of the delay, and now it's coming in finally, the impact it's going to have on you going forward? 

EW: The 737 MAX are going to be fantastic. They've got 16% less fuel burn, 40% less emissions, and eight more seats, and it really is, as we say, going to be a game changer for this airline 

“Oh, it's going to be fantastic. As I say, there's over 60 of them arriving for summer '22 and we're just working through where they're going to go at the moment. They've got 16% less fuel burn, 40% less emissions, and eight more seats, and it really is, as we say, going to be a game changer for this airline, particularly on its cost and environmental footprint as well, and that will gradually become a larger part of the fleet over the next number of years." 

JW: Another subject: industrial relations. I know this is something that's close to you because you've spent a long time as head of personnel, both at Ryanair, but also at other organisations. So I just wanted to ask, it's a few years since you had those pilot rostering problems and that led to the unionisation and some pay increases and all of that. Obviously, with the crisis, you had to reverse some of the pay increases, reduce some of the hours, but now it's starting to go back up again. So how would you characterise the state of industrial relations now in Ryanair

EW: We were the first to be able to put in pay cuts, but we did things really quickly. Very simple message, we'll preserve the jobs and you will get pay restored over the next three to four years 

“Industrial relations, because we've got 89 separate locations, it's not like one big location, and most people figure it out pretty quickly that when you're up against a crisis like this, that Ryanair is going to continue to grow. You ask anyone on the street, who's going to survive this crisis, people say Ryanair, and our employees are no different, and unions are a function of the employees that you have.

"Once you're over what happened in terms of rostering crisis and unionisation, you're down to, what do we have to do here for this airline to prosper? Once you're straight up with people and sit down with them, we were the first to be able to put in pay cuts, but we did things really quickly. Very simple message – we'll preserve the jobs and you will get pay restored over the next three to four years, and the promotions and everything will continue, and the new aircraft are coming. 

“Once we deliver on those commitments, I would say that people will see, exactly as they've seen over the years, even in a pre-union environment that we are straight up in how we do our business and the vast majority of our people recognise that.

"Most people in this world want to work less and be paid more. That's fine, but this isn't the time for it. We did those agreements really, really quick, and that's a function of our people and what they believe needed to be done, we just have to deliver on those agreements. So I'm confident that we're not going to have any difficulties with that." 

JW: Okay. I just wanted to touch on also environmental commitments. European aviation is more or less committed to net zero by 2050, which puts it slightly ahead of the global industry. So what are Ryanair's targets and how you're going to get to them? 

EW: You don't get Volkswagen getting the same level of negative publicity on the number of cars they produce. We've made a commitment to have 12.5% of SAF by 2030. We're funding a research facility here in Trinity College in Dublin. We put in about a million and a half and that to work on sustainable aviation fuel 

“Well, the industry, we do get bad press, and I would say when you look compared to what goes on in shipping or what goes on in agriculture, or what goes on with car use, you don't get Volkswagen getting the same level of negative publicity on the number of cars they produce. Whereas, the focus quite rightly there is on what are the emissions, electric vehicles, etc.? 

“Look what we're doing. We've had a real focus on this.

"The first airline to report monthly on CO2 emissions, the lowest in Europe on a passenger kilometre basis. The aircraft burnt 16% less fuel, we've got 40% lower noise emissions. We've made a commitment to have 12.5% of SAF, sustainable aviation fuel, blenders by 2030. We're funding a research facility here in Trinity College in Dublin. We put about a million and a half and that to work on sustainable aviation fuel, and there's always this call for taxes.

"Last year, or in the last fiscal year of 2019, we paid, I think almost EUR630 million in environmental taxes. So I think there's a lot more to be done in terms of what the engine manufacturers are going to do, how we're going to get to sustainable aviation fuel over the next number of years for this industry to be credible. It's such an easy target, but such an essential part of the infrastructure that we're in, and there is a view that is all flying is discretionary. It's not; it's how we live."

JW: Long term, it's alternative propulsion technology, isn't it, that's really going to do it? Are you confident that that solution will be found in time? 

EW: “I think it is, but you only have to work in this industry to know the level of regulation that you have to put in anything new in terms of a modification on an aircraft and making that leap from new engines, new types of fuel or whatever, is going to take a huge level of investment.

"But I think when everyone puts their minds to it, the industry has to react, and not only customers are going to have to really buy into this. We're making, I think, big, big steps here, but the nature of the industry is you can do it in car technology and places like that, and the worst thing that can happen is the car stops on the side of the road. We don't have that tolerance level in aviation, so whatever we move to has got to be safe and secure. So I'm comfortable going to get there, but it's going to take some time to do." 

JW: Yes. Sure. Eddie, the time has gone so fast. Thank you so much for all or your candour. Just one final question. No one would have wished this crisis, but it seems like there's maybe been more opportunity than the negative outcome for Ryanair. Would that be fair to say?

EW: There's always something that happens every five or seven years, whether that's volcanic ash or foot and mouth disease or whatever.  The fact that we've been able to get out of this, still owning 90% of our aircraft outright and growing the fleet at that time, I think it's going to give us significant opportunities to grow traffic 

“Again, there's always something, in my experience, that happens every five or seven years here, whether that's volcanic ash or previous issues that we've had, whether it was foot and mouth disease or whatever happened, and we've always come out of these, even through the last financial crisis, we've come out stronger.

"So whatever is thrown at us, being a well-capitalised airline really helped us this time. We kept our balance sheet strong, and we always thought there was going to be an interruption at some time, but never of this magnitude. But the fact that we've been able to get out of this, still owning 90% of our aircraft outright and growing the fleet at that time, I think it's going to give us significant opportunities to grow traffic. 

“We've got the costs coming through on airports, staff to a lesser extent because that's going to be restored over the next number of years, but at least everybody here is taking their part in it as well. But I think we are going to have some significant opportunities in some markets, where other airlines are going to exit from it, so I'm looking forward to it." 

JW: Great. Well, good to leave it on a positive note. Thank you so much for your time, and thanks to everybody for watching. 

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