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Business-Class-Only Flights To Jump The Ditch

Media Release
23 December 2005

BUSINESS-CLASS-ONLY FLIGHTS PREDICTED TO JUMP THE DITCH

Business-class-only flights could reach this side of the Tasman within a year, according to one of the Australasia’s largest corporate travel management companies.

FCm Travel Solutions New Zealand general manager Christian Casbolt said the Sydney – Auckland and possibly Auckland – Wellington routes were ready for a service such as the newly launched, all business class OzJet, which is offering Sydney – Melbourne eight times a day.

Air travel options for business travellers continue to increase as OzJet joins what has become a rush of existing and newly created air carriers around the world offering business-class-only flights, part of the diversification of the airline industry that has already seen the rise of the low cost airline.

For business travellers this should in theory mean the comforts of business class at a lower price than for the same service on mixed-use flights, as is the case with OzJet, and avoiding the delays in scheduling that come with travelling on commercial airlines with large numbers of leisure travellers.

Mr Casbolt said some FCm clients had already indicated they would switch to such a service if it were available here.

Other routes already covered by business class only include several Lufthansa flights ex Germany, Singapore Airlines’ Singapore - Los Angeles run and a number of Air France flights, while Eos Airlines and MaxJet Airways have recently introduced all-business-class flights between New York and London.

The number of New Zealanders travelling internationally for business reasons in November grew 11 percent year on year, according to Asmal Travel Statistics, and as New Zealand exporters continue to explore new markets globally, this shows no sign of abating.

But while the demand is there, Mr Casbolt said the key to the survival of a business class only service on this side of the Tasman would be successfully enticing corporate clients away from current frequent flyer programmes with superior features such as easily accessible check-in desks, high quality business class lounges and easy links to car rental services.

“Another way for an all business class airline to gain a competitive advantage could be to introduce a self-imposed penalty if they failed to deliver on certain promises, such as achieving scheduled flight times, and refunding passengers if they don’t meet them; that would be a huge added value proposition," he said.

Ends: For more information or images contact John McGuinness, FCm Travel Solutions Communications, 021 753 767

FCm Travel Solutions, the corporate division of the Flight Centre Limited group. is the largest business travel group in Australasia, with offices in more than 50 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China and India, as well as South Africa, UK and USA.

ENDS


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