Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
The state of the airline industry and travel overall is not poised for a rapid takeoff in 2009 and looks like it will remain in rough shape until next year, said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, chief executive of Air France-KLM, on Monday at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit.
The head of Europe’s largest airline, who became CEO in January, said he was unsure when things would turn around, but warned that both passenger and cargo metrics were down for the airline.
Gourgeon also said that while there is still some business travel out there, many passengers are trading down from more expensive, high-end to coach, or less expensive travel.
Gourgeon was one of the featured speakers at the summit, which continues through Wednesday in our New York headquarters. The Summit program is in its fifth year, and in 2009 will include top-level executives from industries and sectors including everything from Infrastructure; to Mining; to Investing in India, China, Japan and Russia; to Food and Beverages.
An eight-week strike by machinist workers at commercial aircraft maker Boeing delayed production and may cut profit by hundreds of millions of dollars.
But a major aircraft leasing company in the Gulf Arab state of Kuwait – and a Boeing client – sees one possible benefit to the company.
A global industry downturn is forcing manufacturers to slow down growth plans and control capacity, Ahmad A. Alzabin, chairman of Kuwait-based Alafco Aviation Lease and Finance Co. told a Reuters summit.
“Probably with Boeing they’ve been somehow more fortunate with the strike that was going on for two months. This absorbed some of the excess capacity that had happened.”