Airlines are now trying to assess the future and fate of air travel in Europe given the crisis in Ukraine. This crisis is hardly what airlines wanted as it comes as another stumbling block for the European airline industry wihch is trying to stage a rebound after two years of the pandemic hit.
However, according to the CEO of Airbus, located in Toulouse, France, the projected rise in summer travel will still happen.
“I don’t think it impacts the internal European markets,” Guillaume Faury said in a television interview
Faury acknowledges that travel in Eastern Europe near Ukraine may be hampered, but he is hopeful that aviation travel will increase in the months ahead.
“I would tend to say yes, it’s very likely that the majority of the travel in the world will recover as we’re expecting by the end of the pandemic.”
Almost every airline CEO has cited 2022 as a key year in resuming travel lost during the epidemic, echoing Faury’s confidence.
Transatlantic flights were reduced by more than 75% at one point. According to Jefferies, it had recovered by early this year but was still down 36%.
Analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu stated in a research note describing the danger of transatlantic travel being disrupted as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “The vast majority of European air traffic is driven by Western Europe, which should remain relatively unaffected unless Russia conducts a further offensive into NATO territory.”
Russia’s invasion on Ukraine raises the issue of how sanctions will affect Airbus and its competitor Boeing’s plans to ramp up aircraft production this year.
So far, the sanctions haven’t touched Russia’s capacity to export aluminium, steel, or titanium, which are critical components in aeroplane manufacturing.
Separately, Faury claims that Airbus is unaffected by potential supply chain strains in Eastern Europe.
“The security of supply is guaranteed independently from sourcing that could be challenged from Russia,” he said.
Airbus will need to ensure the supply chain as it ramps up production this year in Europe and the United States, due to high demand for the A320 and A220, both of which are constructed at the company’s factory in Mobile, Alabama.
Over the following three years, Faury estimates both planes’ manufacturing rates to increase by at least 20 per cent yearly. “There are not many parts of the aviation ecosystem which are ramping up at 20% a year,” said Faury. “That’s what we have in Alabama.”
Longer ahead, Airbus is aggressively investing in the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft with significantly fewer emissions.
It revealed intentions to work on hydrogen-powered planes with CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran, last week. “We think we can enter into service the first hydrogen by 2035,” said Faury.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)