Skift Airline Weekly Lounge
Interview: AirBaltic CEO Martin Gauss

Interview: AirBaltic CEO Martin Gauss

August 29, 2019

AirBaltic was an early adopter of the Airbus A220, back when it was the Bombardier CSeries. The aircraft is perfectly designed for the Baltic carrier's missions, and CEO Martin Gauss is enthusiastic about the model. He took a few minutes to talk to Skift Airline Weekly editor Madhu Unnikrishnan and Skift Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul in June.

Gauss said for now AirBaltic's focus is on its region of Latvia and neighboring countries, and the airline has no plans to establish bases in Western Europe. Gauss, however, pointed to the example of Finnair, which, like AirBaltic, has a small home population but outsize international traffic. This is the kind of operation he thinks AirBaltic can grow into.

Listen for the full interview with AirBaltic CEO Martin Gauss:

Interview: Flybe CEO at IATA General Meeting

Interview: Flybe CEO at IATA General Meeting

August 16, 2019

Just before stepping down as CEO of British regional carrier Flybe, Christine Ourmieres-Widener took a minute to talk to Skift Airline Weekly at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul.

Ourmieres-Widener’s two years at the helm of Flybe were tumultuous, she acknowledged, and culminated with the carrier’s acquisition by Virgin Atlantic. But she noted that she focused on saving the airline and getting it back on its feet, even if that meant selling it. And she pointed out that her first priority was saving jobs, and of that Ourmieres-Widener said she’s very proud.

With Ourmieres-Widener’s departure, the already small circle of women airline CEOs gets even smaller. She said the industry has to do better to attract and mentor young women as they rise through the ranks. She also said efforts have to begin earlier — at school, to encourage girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.

Listen for the full interview with Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan

Interview: Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong

Interview: Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong

August 7, 2019

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said he envies American Airlines CEO Doug Parker for the scale and potential for profitability that U.S. carriers have from a large domestic market. Parker, the chief of the U.S.’s largest carrier, once famously said the era of airlines reporting losses is over.

In its most recent quarter, Singapore Airlines reported profit margins lower than analysts expected and lower than the company had previously reported. Much of this is explained by the region in which Singapore operates. Unlike Parker, Goh said his company has no domestic market to provide a valuable feed of passengers to its long-haul routes.

Speaking at the inaugural Skift Forum Asia in Singapore in May, Goh said he is confident that the company is headed in the right direction. The group is taking steps to keep so-called CASK (costs per airline seat kilometer) down by, among other measures, hedging against fuel price volatility and managing fleet leases.

Listen for the full interview with Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan.