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Quest Means Business

E.U. Vows Swift Process For Ukrainian Membership; Strike Hits Civilians Waiting To Evacuate Region By Train; Le Pen Polling Level With Macron Ahead Of First Round; Ukraine: At Least 50 Killed In Russian Missile Strike; SpaceX Rocket Takes Private Citizens To ISS; Will Smith Banned From Oscars For 10 Years. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 08, 2022 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Last hour of trading on the last day of the week and a divided day. If you look at how the market is going,

you've got the Dow and the S&P that are up with the NASDAQ, which has had losses over the course of the last few hours, but the NASDAQ is down, so

growth stocks are lower, but the market is holding its own.

The markets and the main events of the day. A show of solidarity. Europe's top leaders are in Ukraine to discuss military and economic support and to

open the door to E.U. membership.

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz says his country can stop imports of Russian oil before the end of the year.

And to the very last in France's presidential election, Marine Le Pen closing in on President Macron many days before the first round of voting.

Good evening, live from London, Friday it may be, it is April the 8th. I'm Richard Quest, and in London, I mean business.

Good evening. The President of the European Commission says Ukraine's fight is Europe's fight and she promises to smooth its path into the European

Union. Ursula von der Leyen stood with President Zelenskyy in Kyiv and told him the door to membership could be opened in weeks rather than years.

She said Ukraine is a fundamental part of Europe.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Ukraine belongs to the European family. We've heard your request loud and clear. And today we

are here to give you a first positive answer. In this envelope, dear, Volodymyr, there is an important step towards E.U. membership.

The questionnaire that is in here is the basis for our discussion in the coming weeks. It is where your path towards Europe and the European Union



QUEST: Von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv as the war shifts to the east. Ukraine says dozens of civilians trying to flee the Donetsk region were

apparently targeted by a Russian missile.

Now, the following video is graphic and it is distressing and it must be shown.


QUEST: At least 50 people have been killed and that includes five children at a crowded train station in Kramatorsk. The remnants of everyday life at

a train station, the suitcases, the strollers, the brands scattered amongst the bodies, and the children's toys.

There is nothing I can say frankly because the pictures say it all.

Christiane Amanpour is in Kyiv and spoke to von der Leyen.

Christiane, we will start with the atrocities of the day and then go to von der Leyen, if we may, so that we can put this into some context. I mean, it

is just dreadful. There is not a word that I can think of that will do justice to what happened today, is there?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It really is terrible, and it mounts and mounts and mounts, you know, day after day

after day. And this is the latest in this horrendous attack on civilians.

The Russians keep denying it, but whatever they're doing, even if it is regrouping and trying to throw everything they have to conquer Eastern

Ukraine, it is the civilians who get caught in the middle. I was talking to a former Military Commander who basically said that even if they have

redirected and re-framed their goal, the Russians, to the east, they will still be trying to harass and weaken Ukrainian infrastructure, whether it

is factories all over the country, even maybe still near Kyiv and the like, near Lviv, whether it's train stations because of railways and that kind of

infrastructure. And when you do that, then you have this terrible catastrophe against civilians.

Now in many, many instances, the civilians are the precise targets, that also is a tactic that we've seen the Russians and their, you know, acolytes

in various different war zones use and that is to try to absolutely break the back of any resistance and to create fear, mayhem, and out and out

terror -- Richard.


QUEST: Christiane, on this visit by von der Leyen, a visit of -- an important visit of support, the issue of E.U. membership. Now, how far do

you believe the E.U. is going to shift the entry requirements to get Ukraine in?

I mean, look, they've been over these fences before, and Ukraine has been found to be wanting in some fairly major ways on previous attempts to join

the E.U., are they going to be put to a side?

AMANPOUR: Well, listen, I don't know about the actual, you know, sort of rules in terms of how they are actually going to do it, but you heard what

she said in that presser with President Zelenskyy, and don't forget that it was Ukraine's sort of getting proxy -- it was Ukraine sort of accession to

a closer association with Europe that caused the first Russian invasion. That was back in 2014.

They had just previously had this -- what they call the Maidan revolution, not far from where I am right now, because they wanted to join that

association, and the Russian backed President of Ukraine at that time, basically, was preventing them. So there was a whole uprising, a whole, you

know, revolution for them to just say, "This is what we want."

And then Russia, several months later, invaded the eastern part of this country because it wanted to put pain to any kind of closer association

between Ukraine and the West. So that's what happened then.

Now I spoke to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the E.U. Commission and she said, I actually said to her, look, you have got some very

illiberal democracies on the eastern side of Europe, let's just say Hungary, which proudly calls itself illiberal democracy, and has big

arguments with the E.U. about its adherence to rule of law conditions, and all sorts of conditions that every E.U. country has to meet. It is not

meeting several of those.

So I said, What about Ukraine? I mean, it is actually fighting the battle that you say you want to win for European democracy. And she said to me,

that's what I'm here for, to talk to the President and move this along and that is what she said.

And then the other thing she said to me was that all these atrocities that happen simply stiffens the resolve and the outrage of European and Western

leaders, NATO, Europe, et cetera to keep up, you know, the punitive pressure on Putin. Here is what she said.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: It has even strengthened in the determination we have to not have Putin do this, he has

to fail, he has to fail, and Ukraine has to win this battle with our support. Therefore, we have just been discussing with the Prime Minister

where we can step up, be it sanctions, be it financial support, be it support with the refugees and the internally displaced, and of course,

support for arms. The Ukrainian need arms, they are so bravely fighting and they will get more arms.


AMANPOUR: And Richard, the Ukrainian Head of Military Intelligence told me today that it is not the light weapons they need any more, they need full

combat weapons as he put it. They need aircraft, he said. They need anti- aircraft missiles. They need anti-missile missiles. They need a lot of very heavy and effective weaponry to face down now what is probably going to be

a very stiff, you know renewed Russian offensive using all as they call it here, all combat -- air, sea, land -- and they need that power to try to


QUEST: Is there a feeling, Christiane, that you can see that if the fighting in the war continues in the east, that there is the same

importance and impetus for support -- you know, if Kyiv and most of the country is no longer going to be part of Russia's goal, ambition, desire is

the E.U. determined and NATO determined to continue to support Ukraine, even though the east may eventually be part that's carved off?

AMANPOUR: Oh, they don't accept that at all. They don't accept at all that the east will be carved off. They say that Ukraine, first of all it's up to

Ukraine, it's not up to the E.U. or anybody else to decide its fate at the negotiating table and Ukraine has said absolutely not.


We will liberate all our territories is what Ukrainian officials say from morning to night and that is why they want the wherewithal to be able to do


But I get your point, because to be frank, Western leaders have been very weak on Russia, ever since Russia started making all these noises against

the West, against NATO, against Ukraine, and then finally marched in in 2014, annexing Crimea taking that part of what is called the Donbas region,

and Russia's objectives have actually increased when it comes to territorial gain.

They want to and they say, get all of that eastern part of the country and including, obviously, you can see they want to get Mariupol, they want to

get all of that -- those territories to be contiguous, east and south, and all the way to Crimea to give them that land bridge back to Russia itself.

Ukrainians say they do not accept it. There may eventually be formulations, if it gets to that, in terms of you know, how to negotiate the end of an

illegal occupation. But they don't accept that at all, and I think very importantly, the President of Germany today admitted that successive German

governments have been too weak on President Putin, particularly over the 2014 invasion and ever since.

QUEST: Christiane, thank you. Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv tonight.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

QUEST: President Zelenskyy's call for those tougher sanctions may soon be heeded. Germany's Chancellor says it is possible for his country to end

Russian imports by the end of this year who was speaking alongside the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when Chancellor Scholz said his

country is trying to cut its dependence on Russia. And that transition, though, will take time.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: It is absolutely necessary that we understand that for the time in between, it will be important to get the

supply off fossil resources from other places than from Russia.

We are actively working to get independent from the import of oil and we think that we will be able to make it during this year, and we are actively

working to get independent from the necessity of importing gas from Russia.


QUEST: France, on the other hand, says it is ready to add further curbs on Russian energy. The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said targeting

Russian oil would be a game changer. He spoke to Julia Chatterley and said the sanctions so far have been very effective.

And now, what's next?


BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: Now, it is time to move on and President Macron made it very clear that as France is concerned, we stand

ready to decide a ban on coal and on oil. On coal, it has been decided yesterday at the European level. On oil, we want to build the consensus

among the 27 member states because we need the unity of the 27 member states to decide this ban on oil.

A ban on oil, on Russian oil, would be clearly a game changer in the way we are responding to the Russian attacks against Ukraine. That's why we are

fully determined to go this way. But once again, we need to build the European unity.


LE MAIRE: We will see. I cannot make any prediction, but I think that President Macron made it very clear that we have to go further, that all

options are on the table.

Coal, it has been decided; oil, we stand ready for that; gas, this is already on the table. All options are on the table because we are fully

aware of what is happening in Ukraine. We are all deeply shocked by what has happened in Bucha, and in this railway station, and we are totally

determined to have these sanctions being implemented, being effective, and having a very concrete effect on the Russian power.


QUEST: Clare is with me. Clare Sebastian, I mean, when?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: When oil? Well, that remains to be seen, Richard.

I think what he was talking about, Bruno Le Maire there about unity among the 27 E.U. countries that is very much in question, because yes, look,

we're getting positive noises from the likes of France, Germany, Belgium. Mario Draghi said yesterday, you know, we have to choose if we want peace

or keeping the air conditioning on.

So clearly, he is on board for further sanctions on energy, but then you have the likes of Hungary and their Hungarian presidential spokesman who

was speaking to Christiane Amanpour and said look, it's just not possible. We cannot stop our imports of energy from Russia, it's just not possible to

do it.


QUEST: Can Hungary stop it? The sanctions have to be unanimous, don't they?

SEBASTIAN: They do, but then you can have a unilateral decision as well, like Lithuania, like Estonia says they will do it this year. So, it is

possible for the countries to act alone, but obviously, it's more impactful if it comes from the bloc as a whole.

QUEST: Isn't there a feeling that since the main economic weapon -- well, the main war weapon that the West is using is sanctions, that they could be

talking about this all the way until Ukraine loses?

SEBASTIAN: Well, I think that's the point that President Zelenskyy is making. We're running out of time. But you have seen that recent events

have spurred increased momentum.

I think, look, Bucha and Borodianka, they led to this fifth package from the E.U., from an uptick in sanctions from the United States. I think it is

very clear that what happened today in Kramatorsk has accelerated that even further. And now we expect that the E.U. will start talking about a

potential embargo on oil on Monday, and that is the biggest.

Russia makes it two to three times from oil what it makes from gas, even coal is the smallest. So oil is extremely significant. And Europe does

think that it would be able to find alternative suppliers, whereas with gas, that would be really difficult.

QUEST: I'm delighted that we've got you here, first time I've had a chance to speak to you face-to-face in the studio on this and I really want to

just take a second.

Why has he done it? Putin? You have been to Russia, you've lived in Russia, you know Russia. You've studied it. Why has he done it? Why are -- you

know, today there was another organization though, the U.N. Human Rights kicked Russia out.

Wherever Russia looks, they are -- with the exception of maybe to Hungary and China -- they are pariahs and will be for years.

SEBASTIAN: I mean, look, Richard, I've been covering Russia for a good 15 years now, I think the only true answer to any question about Putin's state

of mind is, I don't know. But I will say that you have to look at what he said, and I think the speeches where he talks about the sort of historical

mistakes of Ukraine separating from Russia, he really truly believes that Ukraine should be part of Russia. That is the motivating force here.

And then the second one is this narrative of ending American hegemony, of creating a sort of alternative sphere of influence and that is something

that is now causing a sort of shifting and alliances globally. And we see it potentially, on the economic side as well, with trade.

Russia needs now to look for alternative markets, and this is sort of shifting the geopolitical map and that is something that Putin has been

looking for all along. The irony, of course, being that throughout his tenure as President and was briefly Prime Minister in Russia, he has been

bringing in Western businesses.

I've been there and watched as Starbucks lined the streets of Moscow. He has wanted that, he continues to want Western investment. But on the flip

side of that is this other narrative that Russia against the world.

QUEST: That's why you're here. Thank you.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. In a moment, a race for the French presidency, its timing. The far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen draws level with President

Macron in the polls, after the break.



QUEST: Breaking news to bring you.

Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars for the next 10 years after slapping Chris Rock on stage at this year's awards. You know the story,

you've seen it.

Now, he responded to the ban saying he accepts and respects the Academy's decision. Will resigned -- Will Smith resigned from the Academy last week.

He could still be nominated for awards in the future, he won't be able to take them. He has been banned from the Academy's Oscars and any of its

events for 10 years.

To France now where a new poll says the race to the presidency is so tight. Victory for Emmanuel Macron over Marine Le Pen is far from assured. It was

BFM TV that puts President Macron on 51 percent versus 49 percent for Le Pen and that's in the second and final round. It's within the margin of


The first round of voting is this Sunday. CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): All the usual trappings of a French presidential election are there. The

billboards and signs, the endless TV appearances and speeches, but this year is elections to determine who will lead the nation for the next five

years seemed surprisingly lifeless.

According to one poll, fewer than two voters in three are interested in the campaign, which a majority said has been of poor quality.

At least part of the reason may be that the news and minds here are concentrated on the war in the Ukraine.

(on camera): Nearly 90 percent of the French say they worry about the war, although a much smaller percentage say that's the issue they will vote on.

Even so, the issue that will motivate voters to choose between the dozen candidates in the race, the rise in the cost of living, the economy are

directly or indirectly linked to the conflict in the Ukraine.

(voice over): President Emmanuel Macron, sometimes ridiculed for his stretch table diplomacy and tireless efforts to first head off and now end

the war nonetheless got a boost to the polls at the beginning of the campaign.

As horrific scenes from the streets of Bucha, Ukraine flowed into French salons and cyberspace, the leading candidates all were outraged, but some

are haunted by what they've said previously.

The candidate from the far right, a TV pundit says there needs to be an investigation, yet, in the past, has sounded pro-Putin.

ERIC ZEMMOUR, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Vladimir Putin defends his interest. He is a Russian patriot. The Americans have

done much to provoke Putin.

BITTERMANN (voice over): The candidate on the far left said Russia must respond to the charge of war crimes. Yet, earlier he said --

JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Russia is a partner. I don't agree with making them into an enemy.

BITTERMANN (voice over): The candidate on the center right has had the most consistent position supporting Ukraine and said Russia can no longer

be thought of as an ally of France.

VALERIE PECRESSE, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Tell Vladimir Putin stop now.

BITTERMANN (voice over): And the other candidate on the far right, Marine Le Pen, Macron's likely opponent in the election runoff April 24th said

Bucha was clearly a war crime. But in the past she admits her party once took millions in loans from a Russian bank because she says she was turned

down by French banks.

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): The act of escalation that President Vladimir Putin has decided to do is really


BITTERMANN (voice over): With his stature as a world player, magnified by the war, now Macron says Russian authorities must answer for their crimes.

Because of his efforts to end the war, politically, he might be the biggest beneficiary from French worries about it. But in the wake of Bucha, his

opponents question where exactly he has obtained results.

From the beginning, Macron has been expected to win re-election, but at his first, last, and only big rally a week before the first round of voting,

his poll standing seemed to be melting away and his supporters worried about whether they can motivate a turnout in the shadow of a war in Europe.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


QUEST: William De Vijlder is the Chief Economist at BNP Paribas and joins me now.

Good evening, sir. Thank you. It's really an interesting -- you know, Macron takes over with great force and prospect and promise of change. But

how much structural change has actually taken place?

Oh, there's been lots of strikes, and then lots of disruption. But how much structural change has actually taken place during the Macron years, do you



WILLIAM DE VIJLDER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, BNP PARIBAS: Well, there has been an ongoing effort to kind of revamp France where it needs to be revamped. I

think there have been changes in terms of household taxation, which are important, and which I think people seem to forget about now.

There have also been efforts to boost entrepreneurship, and that has led to a very lively startup scene. There has been an effort that has been

interrupted admittedly, to change the very complex schemes in terms of retirements.

So a lot of efforts, but as you quite rightly say, there has been a lot of demonstrations in the streets, which were triggered by the increase in

taxations on petrol, and that is something which comes back now, considering what we are experiencing in terms of petrol prices and other

prices of commodities.

QUEST: If -- and it is always a big if -- but the economic priorities and policies of the two candidates assuming in the final round, it is Marine Le

Pen and it is Emmanuel Macron, their economic policies are so dramatically different, from an economic not a political point of view, does that give

you concern if she wins?

DE VIJLDER: Well, there is the important question of what happens afterwards, in the sense that, like in any country, I would say a candidate

runs for office, gets elected, and then what happens then? Then is the reality.

What is especially important in France is that after the presidential election, we then have election for Parliament. And although the President

has a lot of power, he still needs to work together with the Parliament, and the challenge will be -- would be in that case, to have the majority,

you have to need to have a coalition government.

Inevitably, you need to have cohabitation, like this in French, and that was introduced several years ago, where we have a President of a certain

party, but then the majority is from other party. So that means that something that may be very black, white, in terms of decisiveness at the

end of the day, may be diluted very significantly.

QUEST: I just want to turn to this issue of oil and sanctions and Germany says that it believes it can get off Russian oil and gas by the end of the

year, other countries are doing the same.

I need to get an economic perspective on how good -- the risks at the moment, how fragile, do you believe the European economy is to withstand

these shocks?

DE VIJLDER: Well, you have to answer that key question in two steps. The first step is that the growth carryover effect from last year is very

significant. What that means is that there was such a dynamic environment last year that automatically if you compare activity levels throughout this

year with last year, the year-over-year comparison will benefit from this dynamism last year.

That growth carryover represents for the Euro area 1.9 percent. For France, it is 2.7 percent. Fantastic. However, the key question is what happens

sequentially to the quarter over quarter growth, and that is where things become tricky, because if you would have oil moving up further, gas moving

further or being a cut in supply, then of course, you go in a way nonlinear because what you see today is that in the surface, businesses in

particular, have taken the stance, this is not going to be immense in terms of impact on our business environment, so they have not thrown in the


QUEST: William, have a good weekend, and thank you, sir. We'll talk more as this election goes forward to analyze the various policies of the

candidates as we get more results. Thank you.

DE VIJLDER: Pleasure.


QUEST: Ukraine's largest bank is continuing operations amid the war and it says it is facing no shortage of challenges, but it is still open. The

chair of PrivatBank will tell me how it is managing, in a moment.



QUEST: To revisit our top story, at least 50 people and that includes children were killed by a Russian missile strike on a crowded railway

station in eastern Ukraine. Almost 100 people have been wounded. The E.U. says it will expedite Ukraine's membership to the block. And that matters

little to the people of course fleeing this. Local police say the missiles struck a waiting room where hundreds of people were gathered hoping to

escape Russia's brutal war.

Amid the chaos Ukraine's largest bank is trying to keep the country's economy running. PrivatBank is facing enormous hurdles. It's asking for

armored trucks so it can continue to load ATMs with cash. It's collaborating with Elon Musk's Starlink to ensure continuations managed

operations continue, and it's fending off potential Russian cyber attacks. It was an enormous amount on the agenda for Sharon Easky, the chair of the

supervisory board for the bank.

She joins me now. Thank you for taking the time. I have to be honest. I mean, I sort of -- I know that large parts of the -- of Ukraine are

operationally normal, in a sense the western parts of the country, but I still find it amazing that the bank is operating as best it can throughout

the country or where it can.

SHARON EASKY, CHAIRMAN, PRIVATBANK: Well, you're exactly right, that this has been an extraordinary challenge for our bank, but for the banking

system overall. But the good news is that the financial sector is extraordinarily resilient. And we have in fact, met those challenges. Many

of our armored cars just so, you know, when to support army and other government needs. So, that was very important.


And yes, we were really appreciative of Elon Musk and SpaceX for providing the Starlink kits so that we can keep our bank stabilized. Because

stabilization, of course, and providing financial services is essential for our clients, both in Ukraine and those that have gone into other countries.

And it -- I have to say that it is really, truly the extraordinary commitment and bravery that the Ukrainians show not only on the

battlefield, as they face these atrocities, but also to provide essential services across the country.

QUEST: And the cyber attacks, which I'm sure even before this war, were multiple and frequent. They must have really ramped up.

EASKY: Well, you know, that's the great thing about the brilliant work of the I.T. community across the globe. Over this crisis, we have transitioned

and are continuing to transition our bank services to the cloud, and the protections that we have at two different levels, through commercial

platforms. But now, more importantly, through the Amazon Web system, and web services, have provided substantial protection to the bank.

And we don't -- this last couple of weeks, haven't really been too concerned about the cyber attacks since we have appropriate levels of


QUEST: So what do you need? I mean -- and I -- obviously the country needs military assistance, and is getting as much as can, but in terms of as a

bank, I mean, obviously, liquidity comes from the central bank and the central bank who have spoken to and they're doing the best they can in

difficult circumstances. What do you need?

EASKY: Well, you know, what Ukraine needs, what the bank needs, what the world needs, is to in this war with Ukraine, I mean, with Russia, and it --

again, the atrocities that Ukrainian people are having to deal with while still keeping essential services going are just really incredible. One of

the things that is a particular concern to us now and I think should be a concern to the global -- the entire globe is the potential impact on the

food supply that results from this war in Ukraine.

We've heard that up to a half a billion people in many countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northern Africa, and Middle East rely heavily on Ukraine for

their grains, food supplies, sunflower oil, which in many countries is a an essential food service, food product.

QUEST: Right.

EASKY: And without this -- the supply of food, the effects are going to be devastating. So, I really think that there needs to be more attention spent

on this issue. The government as I said is working, the central bank is working, the banking sector is working. We are -- have launched a

substantial lending program for the ag sector, which should keep the agricultural services and this spring's crops.

Sound much progress has been made, but more attention really needs to be given to this particular issue.

QUEST: Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. Thank you.

EASKY: Thank you.

QUEST: It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS at the end of the week. In a moment EasyJet's chief executive on how COVID changed the airline.



QUEST: Britain's Aviation Authority took the unusual step of chastising the industry ahead of a key travel weekend. There were chaotic scenes like this

at Manchester Airport. Airports and airlines are short of workers who have been calling out sick because since the listing -- lifting of the mask

mandate and all the COVID restrictions in Britain, well obviously the number of people with COVID has risen and therefore people are out sick.

It's there to chat -- cancel flights and long lines all weekend. Those previous videos show people are ready to travel. I asked the chief

executive of EasyJet. Now we know about pent up demand, how is he responding?


JOHAN LUNDGREN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, EASYJET: There's no doubt that we are coming out of this with that pent up demand now starting to be real.

We've seen that in bookings, we're seeing that in trading. And that is primarily because the travel restrictions has been removed. So, you know,

and I think you have asked me this before as well that look, will people come back and ever traveled to the same extent coming out of the pandemic,

where we can see it now, when restrictions are being removed, that demand is taking place.

QUEST: But are you seeing the trends or the shifts within those trends, I.E., fewer business travelers more to certain destinations? Are you having

to make decisions about fleet deployment, route changes quickly?

LUNDGREN: Yes. So, this follows what we have always said. We know from previous, you know, situations and crisis, whether that is 9/11 and the

great financial, you know, crisis, we have at the, you know, in 2007, 2008, that leisure travel will come back before visa travel will do. And we're

going to see also that shorter will recover quicker than the long haul has been doing. But what we're seeing is that when you're looking around for

business travel as an example, we are actually back to the same percentage of business travel that we have prior to the pandemic.

Why? Because EasyJet is over represented in those business segments where people are going to have to go to plans, to have to physically go somewhere

and not -- cannot be replaced by a team or (INAUDIBLE)

QUEST: So, if you now move forward, do you continue to invest or expand in the business side? Or do you basically say, hold the line, we're going for

travel leisure?

LUNDGREN: No, no, we are continually going to focus also on business travel. Look, we're Europe's largest airline intellectual destinations. But

the basic travel has always been a, you know, quite a big chunk of what we're doing. And I think particularly also now, large companies, large

corporations, they are more constricted and restricted by travel policies that's been in place there. SMEs, small, medium sized businesses, they

don't have those restrictions.

They have started to travel much more relative to the large corporation. EasyJet is overrepresented in that segment. So, that's one thing that goes

to our advantage. The second part is also sustainability. You know, they are among the large corporations that is also now much more directional

that you have to choose the airline and the product and service that has the least amount of the pressure on the binary. And because of the carbon

offsetting we are coming out is the preferred airline in many cases.


QUEST: Are you finding passengers looking at this? I mean, isn't this one of those things everybody says, oh yes, very important and then just does -

- they don't offset? They don't make changes, they just do what they were doing anyway?

LUNDGREN: No, they look at this, but they expect the companies to deal with the consequences and the impact you have on the environment. They're not

necessarily themselves to pay directly for this. But they -- it's clearly a preference when they see that the company with a credible number of actions

are taking initiatives that reduces the impact on environment. You take our carbon offsetting program, as an example, we know that there's about eight

to nine percent more likeliness of those who are aware about the program.

There are choosing us over other airlines, everything else being equal. So we know they care about them, but they do expect the company to deal with


QUEST: Give me an idea of what really irks you. What really annoys you. I mean, as you're coming out of one crisis, and going into the next crisis

and you're having to deal with that wild regulators and -- what really pisses you off?

LUNDGREN: I mean, when you come on to things like, you know, the Single European Sky, which would for EasyJet immediately delivered a 15 percent

carbon reduction on its totality. That was the proposal that came out in '99. And he said at that time that look, you know, this will take 20 years

to implement and we have really gotten nowhere on this. So, what I'm really upset about in a way is to use that word is that, you know, some

governments who are sometimes pointing fingers to say, well, this industry is slow to decarbonize.

They are also the ones who's blocking the introduction of something that could deliver a 15 percent carbon reduction on aviation, you know,

tomorrow, if that happens. That disturbs me.

QUEST: Single European Skies will not have happened by the time either you or I retire.

LUNDGREN: When do you plan to retire? Soon or -- no. Listen, we don't know that. But I think that there is something coming out of where we stand

today where sustainability is so much important for the right reason. And you got to look around to say, look, what are the measures? What are the

levers in here? But I think in these cases being blocked by members temps who've been hauled and held hostage to small groups who just doesn't want

to do to change.


QUEST: Let me be clear, I'm not intending to retire. That shivered anything different. And from travel on Earth to travel beyond. SpaceX is taking

paying passengers to the International Space Station. Three of them, along with a former NASA astronaut are heading there. It's a 10-day mission. It's

the inaugural voyage of the commercial space flight company Axiom Space. Rachel Crane is the -- at the Kennedy Center -- Space Center joins me now.

Rachel, we're a business program. So I'm going to go straight for it.

How -- I've seen the numbers of how much that day the food costs and all that. What's the total bill per passenger to be on this thing?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, that is a big question mark right now, I can certainly tell you that it is more

than I can afford. And more than most people can afford. The rumored price tag is around $55 million per seat. So, it is a pretty penny. And as you

pointed out, this is the inaugural flight for Axiom Space. That's a Houston-based startup that sort of organize the whole flight.

But they have plans, Richard, for many more private flights just like this and also plans to build a space station in space. They plan to attach a

module onto the International Space Station in 2024. So, they have big grand plans. And they hope to have been one day, separate their space

station and have a fully commercial space station out there in space in the near future. So, they have big plans. And I'm -- and certainly they're

hoping to make a lot of money doing it, Richard/

QUEST: Why did NASA go along with this? Here we have a space station that's full of international cooperation where currently there's a dreadful

relations although they're cooperating between the two. So, what was -- besides money, which is seems a little vulgar. Why would NASA agree to


CRANE: You know, that's a really important question, Richard, because this is actually gets at the core of what NASA's goal has been in low Earth

orbit. That's where the International Space Station is in LEO. They want to hand that over to the commercial side, to industry because that would free

NASA to focus on, you know, those deep space missions, getting back to the moon, getting to Mars.

So, you know, if they were to be able to hand off the responsibility of having a space station and a presence in low Earth orbit to the commercial

sector to private industry, it would really freed them up to be able to do, you know, deeper space missions and that is what the Commercial Crew

Program which is what built the Dragon spacecraft that we saw launched these four private astronauts to the International Space Station was

intended to do was to really help build that robust commercial economy and low Earth orbit, Richard.


QUEST: Right. Rachel, a sit on that, I know what to get you now for your birthday but I seem to have left my wallet at home. Thank you. Rachel Crane

joining us from there.

Now, allow me to bring you some breaking news. Well, the Pentagon -- the Pentagon has rejected Russia's claims there was not behind the deadly

attack on the train station we've been telling you about. The missiles struck and at least 50 people are dead. Moments ago the Pentagon

spokesperson John Kirby said Moscow's denials are not credible.


JOHN KIRBY, PRESS SECRETARY, PENTAGON: We find unconvincing Russian claims that they weren't involved particularly when the ministry actually

announced it. And then when they saw reports of civilian casualties decided to announce it. So, our assessment is that this was a Russian strike and

that they use the short-range ballistic missile to conduct it.


QUEST: In a moment, Will Smith I told you earlier in the program banned from the Oscar for 10 years. Does it matter? What does it mean?


QUEST: Will Smith's been banned from the Oscars for the next 10 years. It follows the slap across Chris Rock's face. Smith's already resigned from

the Academy. He can still be nominated for awards. And he said already that he will accept the punishment. Brian Stelter is with me. Brian, a 10-year

ban. I want to know, why is he kept his Oscar?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, nobody that I'm aware of has ever had their Oscar stripped away even Roman Polanski. So, there

was no precedent for that possibility. But frankly, Richard, even this is unprecedented. A 10-year ban from all Academy events. This is a very, very

unusual move by the group. It's in part because the Academy has been so embarrassed by this.

About the way they mishandled their decision making after Will Smith made a big mistake by going up there and hitting Chris Rock. So, they have tried

to clean this up now by creating a very harsh penalty, a 10-year ban and it makes me look forward to the Oscars of 2033. I wonder if Will Smith will be

there then but in all serious this does show the academy trying to take a hard line. Smith saying in a statement to CNN he respects and accepts the

Academy's decision.


But he is starring in a big movie later this year called Emancipation. It's a very big project that's been acquired by Apple. So it is possible Will

Smith will still be in the, you know, the awards race next year. Maybe he'll even be nominated for an Oscar, but he won't be allowed to attend.

QUEST: And Brian, you said about the Academy, the way they handled it, but they're in the middle of the fire, so to speak, and they were trying to put

it out. I mean, don't you sort of think it was -- they were in an impossible position where he said, she said, they said, we said, watched it

(INAUDIBLE) and nobody knew what to do?

STELTER: That's true. They were in a proverbial, very difficult position. But they were the proverbial police in the room when there was a crime. And

they didn't take any action. There are lots of excuses. They were in the middle of a live telecast. There was no right, you know, there was no

perfect solution to the problem Will Smith created. That said, this has been embarrassing for the Academy.

It's been stressful in Hollywood. And so they tried to have a meeting today rather than waiting until later in the month in order to deal with this.

Now, is this the end? I think this is the end to some degree of the slap heard around the world. But the one person we haven't heard from, Richard

is Chris Rock and I'm really curious to see when and how and where Chris Rock will weigh in on all things Will Smith.

QUEST: Right. Brian Stelter, have a lovely weekend. We will show the markets start with the big board and how we are ending the day. Not bad off

the tops. Still positive. Triple stack shows a slightly different picture. And you look and see the NASDAQ had been down earlier. It's still down now

but holding it so essentially, as we go to the closing bell, up a beaten down (INAUDIBLE) profitable moment next.


QUEST: Tonight profitable moment. Seeing Ursula von der Leyen visiting Ukraine today was heartwarming in itself that E.U. leaders are showing that

level of support for Ukraine and President Zelenskyy. But Zelenskyy wants heavy armaments. He wants aircraft, he wants a no-fly zone. And the reality

is that no matter how much is shoveled Ukraine's way, unless they have the necessity of armaments required, then it'll be for naught.

And Christiane Amanpour right at the beginning of this program tonight summed that up. When I suggested that maybe the West would look away, you

know, to Donbas region, Donetsk, Luhansk, maybe that's the bit that Britain will go away with just to get peace and she rounded on me. That's not how

they see it in Ukraine. And it's a valid point. Because the truth is no amount of good words and no matter what we send to Ukraine matters.

If in the end, they don't get what they need, not what they want, but what objectively will help them prosecute to the end. That's why whilst I can

hear Zelenskyy almost saying, thank you for coming. It's nice to see you. Now, what have you done for me lately? And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for

tonight. I'm Richard Quest in London. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.


Back in New York on Monday.