© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury attends Airbus’s annual news conference on 2019 results in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo
VIENNA (Reuters) – Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury expects business air travel eventually to return to close to pre-pandemic levels and airlines are devoting the same space to business class seats as before, he said in an interview published on Sunday.
Air travel remains in crisis despite accelerating vaccine rollouts in developed countries. With video calls having replaced in-person meetings, it remains to be seen to what extent business travel will recover.
But Faury told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag corporate thinking had changed.
“Companies realised: at some point they have to meet their customers and suppliers in person again. At some point they must be on site to develop products or build factories,” he said.
“That is what airlines are telling us, since they must decide now how their planes will be seated in future. And we see that they are planning as many seats in business class as before the pandemic.”
When asked about the number of business flights he expects in future, he conceded the sector might not recover fully.
“Maybe it will be slightly fewer. One thing is clear to me: people want to fly again. Hardly more but also probably no less than before the pandemic.”
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