‘Adapt & Survive’: Karen Durban-Villeval, President, Inflight Sales Group Europe

By Luke Barras-hill |

ADAPT-AND-SURVIVE-Karen-Durban-ISG 460x306Inflight Sales Group (ISG) Europe has been pushing its airline partners to resume inflight sales as the EU today (1 July) relaxes travel restrictions to some non-EU countries via ‘safe travel’ corridors.

Karen Durban-Villeval, President, ISG Europe says it was ‘a little unclear’ whether the EASA/ECDC Aviation Health Safety Protocol, which was released in May and directs airlines to consider ‘temporarily’ restricting inflight sales, was in fact a guideline and recommendation or obligation.

“We’ve spent the last few weeks insisting that we need to restart, that these are recommendations and not a ‘must’. I’ve been preparing with all my European airlines for the restart. Orly Airport restarted on 26 June and we will plan a restart from early July.”

Confusion surrounding the EASA/ECDC guidelines was also flagged by Christine Martin in a separate edition of Adapt & Survive.

In France, ISG runs full concession programmes onboard French Bee and Air Caraïbes. Both extended their contracts with ISG for a further two years in 2019, as revealed by TRBusiness. Air Caraïbes’ routes and some for French Bee will restart this month. Though business with the likes of Royal Air Maroc and Aeroflot are expected to recommence at later dates.

Speaking from her home in France, where she was in lockdown with family from 17 March until 11 May when the country lifted restrictions, Durban-Villeval says work to haul ISG’s business through the crisis continues to be challenging, adding that typical minimum annual guarantee arrangements with airlines should not apply at this time.

The TRBusiness ‘Adapt and Survive’ Skype video interview series is a direct response to the industry’s critical need for direct, factual and analytical commentary and – in typical TRBusiness fashion – interprets clearly and concisely the challenges faced by travel retail during Covid-19.

Adapt & Survive asks members of the travel retail industry community, often working from home, for their candid commentary on the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.

To register your interest in the Adapt and Survive series, please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

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