Willie Walsh told aviation leaders yesterday he is “not concerned at all” at the impact of the UK’s Brexit vote.
But easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall cited the vote as one of three factors making “trading more difficult than for some time”.
Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group (IAG), told the Aviation Festival in London: “We noticed a softening of UK corporate activity in the lead up to the referendum vote and saw an impact on corporate booking as people put plans they had on hold.
“But it wasn’t like the situation post Lehman Brothers [in 2008]. It will recover.”
He said: “There has been some short-term uncertainty. The market doesn’t like uncertainty and it reacted.
“There has been some impact on [IAG’s] accounting. We account in euros and we have a significant sterling profit base.”
Walsh added: “There are some issues that need to be resolved. Rules and regulations will change and people will modify their structures to comply.
“But the fundamentals won’t change. People will still fly in and out of the UK. I’m not at all concerned.”
However, speaking at the same conference, McCall said: “This year has been marked by multiple external events which are demand shocks.
“It’s amazing how quickly people move on and continue to fly, but this year has been particularly affected.
“There is also the Brexit uncertainty, and there is the low fuel price which has resulted in more capacity in the short-haul market.”
McCall said: “That is great for passengers.” But she suggested: “Some legacy airlines are keeping some flabby scheduling and that makes it much more difficult.
“Trading is more difficult than for some time and I expect it to remain difficult for some time to come.”
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