Interview Transcript

What’s your view on demand? Do you think it’s going to bounce back in 2021 or 18-months’ time, or do you think it’s going to be more of a longer recovery?

I think that’s a very difficult question to answer, right now. If we take the market that I know best, China, domestic demand has begun, slowly, to reappear. For the month of March, for example, it was twice the number of passengers than February, but we’re still, in March, only looking at 40% of the domestic fleet flying and load factors below 60% where, normally, they’d be above 80%. They were, also, no doubt, discounted tickets, so the yield will be low, as well. It’s a slow start.

I would hope that by this time next year, the domestic will have recovered, largely, to pre-crisis levels. But the international situation, right now, and China is a good example, despite the fact that things are beginning to improve, within China, international traffic is still almost at a standstill. My own flight back to Beijing, on 27th May has been cancelled. There are very few flights, right now, internationally. I think that will obviously depend on the lifting of travel restrictions, around the world and not just in one country. At the moment, I think the international travel is going to take longer to re-establish and that might stretch out for longer than the recovery of the domestic market.

It’s difficult to anticipate, but as I say, I think that by this time next year, I would hope that the domestic market, in China, has re-established itself and, internationally, it might take a bit longer. Globally, I have to say, I would imagine that we won’t get back to 2019 levels until, maybe, 2023. It’s probably far too early to be very scientific about that.

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