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Article: Air Canada confident business travel will come back in the fall

Article: Air Canada confident business travel will come back in the fall

Old Jun 16, 20, 4:43 pm
  #1  
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Article: Air Canada confident business travel will come back in the fall

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busi...e-back-in-the/

Air Canada is confident business travel will resume as large companies get back to normal office hours and allow employees weary of online meetings to gather face to face.


I think this is subscribers only, the salient quote is at the end:

I hate these online meetings, Mr. Rousseau (Air Canada CFO) said during an online meeting webcast by a bank on Tuesday. I think not seeing people across the table, talking interactively is a loss. Ive had hundreds and hundreds of these meetings and Im hearing that from the vast majority of the marketplace. Theyre eager to get back and meet clients face to face and interact with them in a much different way than they do over the phone or Zoom or Webex."
Um, yeah AC, we were all sick of Zoom meetings 2 months ago. I'm getting ready for my usual evening meetings to start when Asia wakes up, whereas I'd rather be, you know, in Asia doing them instead.

But that requires:
  • Countries that will let Canadians in without quarantine
  • Businesses in those countries that are going to welcome visitors from outside the country in to their offices
  • Canada removing the 14-day quarantine when we get home
Until those things sort themselves out I don't see business travel "coming back" on Air Canada in any meaningful way. And I don't think anyone in public health can meaningfully predict when these measures will be lifted, nor that they won't be re-imposed very quickly as soon as there is another outbreak.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 5:04 pm
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Air Canada is engaging in wishful thinking. There isn't a large company that hasn't effected cost control measures. Discretionary business travel has had a big bullseye on it since the start of this crisis. My 10,000+ employer imposed wage cuts on a cross section of employees. It will not make for good optics if some people start traveling while management is still telling the admin staff that there will be no pay adjustments or bonuses this year. Yes, some of the accounting and engineering firms need to get people in the field, but that is manageable. Our corporate edict is to do as much as possible remotely. Air Canada won't be in a position to expect the ease of travel to resume until Canada's 2 dominant airport hubs of YYZ and YUL have no new infections to report for a month.

As mentioned above, much of the travel will rest with whether or not some countries will allow certain travelers to enter. New Zealand just saw its disease free condition violated because of two infected carriers from the UK. Fortunately, the isolation requirement has contained the contagion, but it is a warning for all. I don't see business travel resuming with much strength until Q1 2021 at best. I would gladly like to get on a plane to Singapore or even Bangkok right now, but I am not welcome there, and with good reason.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 6:45 pm
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I think both Fall and Winter travel will both be weak.

​​​​​In the US, I've seen tech and aviation conferences postponed till fall.

That was only because conference planners had a choice of walking from 7-figure deposits versus accepting wildly optimistic fall dates. If companies bar employee travel, or employees are uncomfortable going to a trade show, there won't be a strong travel demand.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 8:00 pm
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I know Calin has to put on the brave face to preserve investor confidence, but he's out of his mind if he honestly believes business travel will come roaring back this year. Beyond the excellent points conveyed in the preceding posts, the reality is that many companies who have already taken major revenue hits will continue to cut costs at least through the rest of this year as they try to offset the losses. Travel will be at the top of their lists.

I think it is also reasonable to expect that some amount of business travel will be replaced by zoom/webex meetings permanently. I hate virtual meetings as much as anyone, but no question there are more than a few CFOs and corporate controllers out there looking at expenses over the last quarter or two and raising an eyebrow when they see how much they've saved in travel expense.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 8:54 pm
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Of course business travel will come back in the fall.
In fact business travel already has returned.
Just not to the level it was in the fall of 2019.
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Old Jun 16, 20, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Symmetre View Post
I know Calin has to put on the brave face to preserve investor confidence, but he's out of his mind if he honestly believes business travel will come roaring back this year.
It was Michael Rousseau who's quoted in the article speaking on the Zoom conference. Calin may be as optimistic but it wasn't his brave face in this case.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 1:16 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
Um, yeah AC, we were all sick of Zoom meetings 2 months ago. I'm getting ready for my usual evening meetings to start when Asia wakes up, whereas I'd rather be, you know, in Asia doing them instead.

But that requires:
  • Countries that will let Canadians in without quarantine
  • Businesses in those countries that are going to welcome visitors from outside the country in to their offices
  • Canada removing the 14-day quarantine when we get home
Until those things sort themselves out I don't see business travel "coming back" on Air Canada in any meaningful way. And I don't think anyone in public health can meaningfully predict when these measures will be lifted, nor that they won't be re-imposed very quickly as soon as there is another outbreak.
Canada's curve is going the correct direction for this to start to be ok to remove these from for some countries come fall and for those countries to remove restrictions on Canadians. The question is whether:
a: Canada will be penalized for it's sick neighbor to the south who isn't doing anything and whose curve is, at best, flat rather than down
b: If we get a spike in fall (or sooner), like some predict.
c: How much AC's business depends on the US (a lot). If Canada wants to be open to some of the ROW, they'll need to keep restrictions on Americans and travel to the US. This will kill US travel and any connections from the US. Even Canada is not punished for being near the US, Americans will be unable to connect to AC flights to asia and europe.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busi...e-back-in-the/
Um, yeah AC, we were all sick of Zoom meetings 2 months ago. I'm getting ready for my usual evening meetings to start when Asia wakes up, whereas I'd rather be, you know, in Asia doing them instead.
I hear you. 3 x week evening (21:00-00:00) calls with Asia & 2 x week morning (03:00-09:00) calls with Europe. Much rather be on-site just for the timezone association as well as the ease of discussions/work.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 2:30 am
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Originally Posted by YVRtoYYZ View Post
I hear you. 3 x week evening (21:00-00:00) calls with Asia & 2 x week morning (03:00-09:00) calls with Europe. Much rather be on-site just for the timezone association as well as the ease of discussions/work.
What a killer.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by nmpls View Post
The question is whether... How much AC's business depends on the US (a lot). If Canada wants to be open to some of the ROW, they'll need to keep restrictions on Americans and travel to the US. This will kill US travel and any connections from the US.
The US outlook is scary unpredictable at present. Consequently neither I nor my clients are talking about any face-to-face meetings until next year earliest. Sadly for AC it doesn't decide when we're ready for business travel again.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by YVRtoYYZ View Post
I hear you. 3 x week evening (21:00-00:00) calls with Asia & 2 x week morning (03:00-09:00) calls with Europe. Much rather be on-site just for the timezone association as well as the ease of discussions/work.
Yes, this is my life too.

Last night it was Australia for me for several hours. And lo and behold "Australia likely to keep borders closed until 2021" (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/worl...ed-until-2021/). I can't see how AC is going to resume AC33/34 in this environment, and obviously I'm not going to be getting on board it if I need to do a 14 day quarantine on arrival - although I would usually be taking a trip there again this year.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 7:24 am
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Hah! If it's not evening calls with Australia, it's early morning calls with Europe. In the latter respect, there are considerable advantages to living in Nfld - UK -3.5hrs!
My employer (c2000 global employees) won't be bringing back anything other than essential biz travel anytime soon. I expect global offices to remain closed into the fall.
Only yesterday I was counseling a Canadian vendor that he shouldn't plan that a project review meeting scheduled in UK in August would happen face to face.
I don't expect to be travelling (to Europe) until 2021. I had 7-8 trips planned this year - and flight passes purchased to cover these - and only got one in before the world changed.
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Old Jun 17, 20, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
  • Canada removing the 14-day quarantine when we get home
This is my #1 . Obviously I have to be welcomed to the places I go (NZ/Aussie/USA) but I cannot go for a two week business trip and then lock myself in my basement for another two weeks after the fact.

I 1000% understand the reason for the quarantine but I cannot reasonably see myself crossing even a border until that happens . Maybe a domestic flight or two but even that isn't overly necessary (yet)
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Old Jun 17, 20, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
Yes, this is my life too.

Last night it was Australia for me for several hours. And lo and behold "Australia likely to keep borders closed until 2021" (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/worl...ed-until-2021/). I can't see how AC is going to resume AC33/34 in this environment, and obviously I'm not going to be getting on board it if I need to do a 14 day quarantine on arrival - although I would usually be taking a trip there again this year.
lol, welp, there goes my hope for one more trip at the end of the year
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Old Jun 17, 20, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
It was Michael Rousseau who's quoted in the article speaking on the Zoom conference. Calin may be as optimistic but it wasn't his brave face in this case.
Arghhhh ..... sorry, was at the end of a very long day which started ironically enough with a 4:00 am zoom call.
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