Despite COVID And War, Airbus CEO Says International Travel Will Grow

Guillaume Faury, the chief executive officer of airplane manufacturer Airbus, says he still believes that international travel – particularly to Europe – will grow despite the pandemic and despite the current Russia-Ukraine war.

“I don’t think it impacts the internal European markets,” the CEO told CNBC, adding that while flights to countries adjacent to Ukraine could be impacted, overall he expects a travel rebound. “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.”

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Ukraine earlier this week closed its airspace to civilian air travel.

CNBC noted that airline analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu made the point in an investor’s note that “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.”

Two years into the pandemic, international travel is still hovering at only 64 percent of the capacity it enjoyed in pre-pandemic 2019. That lags behind domestic travel, which is between 80 and 85 percent recovered.

Faury added that he is unconcerned that the war will throw a wrinkle into the rebound by cutting off the supply chain.

“The security of supply is guaranteed independently from sourcing that could be challenged from Russia,” he said.

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