The Women in Revenue Management panel at the ARMA’s APAC Revenue Management Summit

Supersonic travel could be a lot closer than we think, according to a leading airline expert.

Speaking at the ARMA’s APAC Revenue Management Summit, Dr Tony Webber, Founder and Chief Executive Officer – Airline Intelligence and Research (A.I.R) and Academic at University of NSW, said we could be enjoying the benefits of supersonic travel within a decade.

“A lot of us will be flying on supersonic jets soon,” Webber told delegates.

“I promise you, in 10 years, we’ll be doing Sydney to Los Angeles in three or four hours. And you’ll be paying current business class prices.”

Webber pointed to Boom Supersonic, which claims to be the fastest and most sustainable supersonic airliner, with flights “twice as fast”.

The company’s first Overture aircraft is expected to be completed in 2025, with subsonic test flights at the Piedmont Triad International Airport to follow in 2026.

Ryanair’s low-cost approach

At a summit that saw speakers explore application of revenue management (RM) across air, land, and sea, under the theme ‘Let’s get on with it’, Webber’s workshop discussed the lessons learned from budget airline Ryanair.

He spoke about the characteristics of low-cost carriers, saying Ryanair has all of them.

“They have a common fleet, so the fleet complexity costs are lower. They have unbundled pricings which is the key feature of most low-cost carriers. They fly into secondary airports. They only have one cabin configuration, which is economy; and typically [focus on] short to medium haul sectors,” Webber explained.

“If you think about Jetstar, it doesn’t have many of those characteristics.”

Webber also spoke about seasonality, something that Ryanair introduced after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

“There aren’t many airlines in global aviation that are willing to introduce more seasonality into their capacity,” he said.

“[Ryanair] made a conscious decision just after the GFC to introduce more seasonality … the way they’ve done that is by taking more capacity out of the winter, off-peak, and introducing more into the summer peak – by sitting out some of its aircrafts during the winter to perform heavy maintenance on those during that period.”

Women in RM

The two-day conference of revenue management-focused sessions, workshops and discussions drew over 100 delegates, a mix of online and in-person.

A highlight of the summit was the Women in RM Strategy Panel, which saw commercial executives from BWH, Elanor Investors and IHG discuss how they lead high performance teams across network complexities. 

Moderated by ARMA GM Commercial Todd Simms, the panel included BWH Hotel Group Australasia Director of Revenue Optimisation, Kristy Edwards; Elanor Investors Group Head of Commercial – Hotels, Tourism, and Leisure, Georgina Williams; and IHG Hotels & Resorts Director of Revenue Management – JAPAC, Rachelle Scobie.  

The leaders discussed gender disparity in RM, how they kept teams motivated during the pandemic, the evolution of RM roles, career growth opportunities, and advice for those starting out.  

Other key speakers at the summit included Jason Carley, Partner at world-renowned pricing advisory Simon-Kucher & Partners, who facilitated a session on “Getting Back to Growth”, and SeaLink Marine & Tourism General Manager – Commercial, Mark Bunting, who shared an insight into his personal revenue management journey and lessons across three different business models.

Other featured experts included Fraser Marketing International, Founder/Chief Creator and Connector, Emma Fraser; P&O Cruises Australia VP Revenue Management and Deployment, Matthew Rutherford; and Expedia Group General Manager Revenue Performance & Solutions, Vivek Bhogaraju.