While some argue technological advancements will eventually take away the need for business travel, figures released today from FCM Travel Solutions, one of New Zealand’s leading corporate travel management companies, show New Zealand business owners disagree.
A recent survey of FCM clients show a quarter anticipate their volume of travel will increase in 2017. A continued trend the company have seen over the last 11 years.
In 2005, ahead of the Global Financial Crisis, the number of trips taken annually by FCM clients was just 3.5 per annum. This increased by almost 75 percent to 6.1 in 2016. The company anticipate in 2017 this will rise to 7 trips per annum.
Andy Jack, FCM Travel Solutions general manager, says, “as travel becomes more accessible and affordable New Zealand corporates are travelling further and more frequently, recognising that face-to-face interaction is, and will remain, a vital part of business.”
“This is a trend airlines have recognised and the last 5 years in particular have seen carriers invest significantly in aircraft advancements for business travellers.”
So what’s in store for business travel in 2017? The expert team at FCM Travel Solutions have offered some insights…
Supersonic passenger planes
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson is looking to bring the age of supersonic flight to the masses and it might not be long before a flight from Auckland will get business travellers to London in only four hours.
Branson’s company Virgin Galactic is working with US start-up Boom to develop the XB-1. The prototype, nicknamed “Baby Boom”, is the first independently developed supersonic jet and history’s fastest civil aircraft. It is under construction now and anticipated to fly in late 2017. The first commercial flight of its scaled-up successor is not expected until 2023.
The rise of premium
With the cost of travelling in premium cabins falling, FCM say more businesses are increasingly opting for this style of travel, recognising the benefit of employees arriving at their destination well-rested.
In 2016 sales for premium cabins made up almost a third of all FCM bookings, compared to just 10 percent five years ago.
During 2016 FCM released a record low business class fare from Auckland to Europe for just $3,399. A price point which would have once been considered normal for economy class.
Ultra-long air routes
Emirates currently fly the longest route between Dubai and Auckland. The flight is 14,200km (8,820 miles) long and takes 16 hours and 5 minutes eastbound and 17h 25m westbound.
Qatar Airways will overtake that on February 6th when they launch a non-stop flight from Auckland to Doha. Covering 14,542km the flight time will be between 17 and a half hours and 18 and a half hours.
The new route will give travellers access to the airlines extensive network of more than 150 destinations. Business class offers passengers fully lie-flat beds, seats that massage, adjustable armrests, large pillows and duvets, and luxurious his-and-hers branded Giorgio Armani amenity kits.
Earlier this month FCM released a business class fare flying Auckland to Europe (Barcelona or Amsterdam) for just $4,769 return.