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Changes to airline business travel prompt focus on premium leisure

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CarTrawler-sponsored analysis describes how the pandemic, technology, and environmental concerns have changed airline business travel.

DUBLIN, IRELAND & SHOREWOOD, WISCONSIN - It could be a year in which the airline industry recovers some of the profits lost during the pandemic. That’s the picture for leisure travel, especially in the burgeoning premium leisure sector. The recovery of business travel is complex and largely unwritten. Online meeting technology continues to march ahead, company employees are still working from home, corporations are setting carbon reductions tied to business travel, and the airline industry still struggles to find firmer footing.

Innovation and resilience saved airlines during the pandemic, and these same traits will allow airlines to adapt to the changes wrought by new communication technologies and carbon emission concerns. The Pandemic, Technology, and the Environment Are Changing Airline Business Travel is sponsored by global travel tech provider CarTrawler and focuses on the new category of premium leisure travel as a market offering tremendous potential to fill the business travel gaps that may persist.

The 14-page report offers the following key findings:

  • 65% of business travel is customer facing, with 25% linked to “sales and securing clients” alone.
  • Delta’s president believes it has identified high-end leisure travelers as a “new class of customer” with early returns that are “phenomenal, far above expectations.”
  • Lufthansa’s financial margin provided by premium economy is 39% higher per square meter of cabin configuration compared to business class.
  • Global airlines are adding premium economy seats in anticipation of industry changes: British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Singapore.
  • Global corporations, such as Bain, Deloitte, PwC, and Zurich Insurance, seek to reduce by 25% to 70% the carbon footprint of their business travel.

Aileen McCormack, Chief Commercial Officer at CarTrawler, said, “While both business and consumer travel are rebounding strongly in 2022, it’s clear that the pandemic will impact the industry for some time to come - and many of the advancements made then will become permanent. This push toward digitisation and technological improvement will help the aviation industry in the long run, especially if airlines are willing to make the changes and investment needed to keep up with consumer trends."

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