Trends in Business Air Travel

By US Daily Review Staff.

In analyzing a sample of nearly 260,000 business travel bookings throughout the United States for the first quarter of 2012, Travel Leaders Corporate’s data reveals its clients traveling for international business paid approximately 1.6% less for the average airline ticket as compared to the first quarter of 2011. While international business travelers spent slightly less per mile on their trips, they traveled more miles in the first quarter of 2012. Travel Leaders Corporate is a division of Travel Leaders Group – which ranks as the #1 corporate travel management company by Business Travel News and had sales of nearly $17 billion in 2011.

“While the average cost of an international airline ticket declined year-over-year, we also found a decrease of 7.3% on the average cost per airline segment booked,” said Travel Leaders Corporate President David Holyoke. “This certainly bucks conventional wisdom, which would suggest that ticket prices may have increased due to rising jet fuel and other mitigating factors. However, with a somewhat softening demand in the market and economic uncertainty in Europe resulting in more affordable airfares, we’ve pleasantly surprised our clients with added value as they’re traveling internationally for business.”

The table below further illustrates Travel Leaders Corporate’s findings on international air travel. Please note that the 2011 data is based on a sample of roughly 220,000 bookings.

International Air Travel Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Change
Average Ticket Cost $2,233.98 $2,197.27 -$36.01
Average Cost per Segment $970.69 $899.28 -$71.41
Average Cost per Mile $0.25 $0.23 -$0.02
Average Miles per Segment 3,818 3,852 34

Travel Leaders Corporate’s data also reveals decreased costs in airfare on the below sampling of international routes from the United States to Europe.

International Air Travel Routes Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Change
Boston to London $1,092.42 $990.56 -$101.86
Chicago (O’Hare) to London $1,182.54 $972.69 -$209.85
Detroit to Frankfurt $1,078.22 $816.23 -$261.99
Boston to Paris $1,007.22 $732.41 -$274.81
New York (JFK) to London $1,425.59 $1,739.92 $314.33

While the cost of airfare to Europe, in most cases, decreased among Travel Leaders Corporate clients, airfare to some of the most frequently booked business travel destinations in Asia increased.

International Air Travel Routes Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Change
San Francisco to Hong Kong $1,189.27 $1,248.40 $59.13
Chicago (O’Hare) to Beijing $1,721.42 $1,957.85 $236.43

During the same time period, the U.S. domestic market showed signs of strength. In analyzing data from a sample of nearly two million business travel bookings, Travel Leaders Corporate’s clients spent slightly more on the average domestic airline ticket in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the first quarter of 2011, reflective of industry and economic trends.

“Our data indicates that our business travelers still find great value in meeting their clients face-to-face. Despite rising fuel costs offset by airline-initiated fare increases, domestic travel appears to be holding steady as we saw an increase of 10.8% in the number of trips taken by business travelers during the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the first quarter of last year,” Holyoke said. “We track these trends and work closely with each of our managed clients to analyze their business travel needs and accommodate them while saving them money and time in the process.”

Domestic Air Travel Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Change
Average Ticket Cost $479.20 $506.04 $26.84
Average Cost per Segment $219.68 $229.49 $9.81
Average Cost per Mile $0.22 $0.23 $0.01
Average Miles per Segment 1,012 987 -25

Top 5 Domestic Air Travel Routes – Q1 2012

The top five most frequently booked domestic routes among clients in the first quarter of this year were:

Rank

Route

Cost Per Trip Segment

1

New York (LaGuardia) to Chicago (O’Hare)

$163.32

2

Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago (O’Hare)

$131.08

3

Boston to New York (LaGuardia)

$221.51

  4*

Washington D.C. (Reagan Nat’l) to Chicago (O’Hare)

$214.43

5

Boston to Chicago (O’Hare)

$152.35

*The top domestic routes among clients were the same in the first quarter of 2011, with the exception of the fourth most popular route.  Last year the fourth-ranked route was Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to Chicago (O’Hare) at $228.56 per trip segment.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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