Business and First travel up 43 per cent YoY

While popularity for corporate business and first class bookings are up, economy and premium economy bookings have dropped.

New data from the Flight Centre Travel Group shows Business Class fares made up 5.6 per cent of all corporate bookings in 2023.

Data from FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller shows first class passengers made up 3 per cent of business travel bookings while economy and premium economy dropped corporate travellers by 2.4 per cent.

Global FCM COO/Flight Centre Corporate MD for ANZ, Melissa Elf, said 8.6 per cent of corporates booking business or first class travel was a sign of healthy business activity.

“Growing popularity at the front end of the plane reflects growth and stability across Australian businesses,” Ms Elf said.

“This data comes in a period of economic uncertainty, and it goes to show that despite many businesses feeling the pinch of the cost of doing business, travel continues to be a necessity for business success and survival.

“Studies show that business travel correlates to economic growth, so as economists predict the flattening of inflation, we can expect to see activity in corporate travel build.”

Premium economy has been the biggest loser in all of the cabin classes, down to 4 per cent of bookings in 2023 from 6.5 per cent in 2022.

Ms Elf said the fast pace of business travel sometimes took its toll on travellers, so there was a focus on health, wellbeing and maintaining productivity when travelling for work.

“Many of our corporate travellers are making the decision to book business or first class travel so they can get a decent sleep if they’re travelling through the night or continue to work productively if they’re travelling through the day,” she said.

“It can also mean more nutritious meals, and less time lost through the check-in and boarding process.

“It all contributes to general health, wellness and productivity levels, so the extra cost of the fare is viewed as worthwhile for corporate travellers who are short of time as it is.”

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