Chief executive of TAP Air Portugal Luis Rodrigues struck an optimistic tone about both demand and aviation’s ability to hit ambitious net zero targets by 2050.
Speaking at this year’s World Aviation Festival in Lisbon, Rodrigues said the one thing he was not concerned about was demand although he said travel will be more expensive due to rising costs.
Asked about what the cost to the industry will be of developing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), he said “no one knows” but he added:
“I’m a great believer we are going to crack it as far as net zero in concerned by 2050.” However he said although prices are not yet higher they will rise.
“Travel is going to be more expensive.” If that is balanced with increased volume “you probably have the equation right”, he said.
The impact of climate change means TAP has to be more agile, Rodrigues told the annual convention. “We are not going to bet on where the weather is going to change more significantly.
“Things are not going to change over night. As humans we are not prepared for big changes over night. We have to stay agile as to what the market throws up. It’s risk, but aviation is made of risks.”
Rodrigues told the World Aviation Festival audience he wasn’t complaining about the summer just gone, which saw high demand.
“Something has to go right,” he said. “All economists should fired. No one can explain what’s going on.
“This [post pandemic phase] is not going to fade away soon. That’s ongoing. We do not see any signs of it fading away.”
With recovery in Asia and parts of Eastern Europe yet to take hold, Rodrigues was optimistic of sustained growth even if the European and North American markets show signs of faltering.
“If there’s anything that’s not a concern it’s demand in the future. That does not mean we are not working on it, we are, but there are much bigger issues to deal with.“
Although he conceded prospects will depend on how far the price of oil rises, Rodrigues added:
“What we have seen over the last couple of years is every time there’s a cut in production prices pick up and then prices go down eventually.
“The fact I’m not worried about demand does not mean I’m sleeping on it. We do work a lot on cost saving projects.
“The heat will come again, it may be another pandemic, but it will come and we need to be prepared to deal with it.”