Low-cost carriers grab market share

American Express’ latest Corporate Travel Barometer has reported that more than half (60%) of business travellers have used low-cost carriers for business travel over the past 12 months. "While economic conditions remain tight, corporations still need their executives to travel and, with increased pressures on budgets, they are looking to get more mileage for their travel money," said head of corporate groups and events at American Express Niall Mackin. "Operating from a low-cost base, these airlines are attractive." Low-cost airlines are recognising the potential high yields from the conference market, he added, with Buzz, Go and Ryanair all now offering group-booking facilities. C&I organisers have recognised the cost-effectiveness of low-cost airlines, but say adjustments still need to be made. "We used Go when we took a group to Ibiza," said Archer Young Marketing senior account executive Nina Wood, "but that was more due to the route availability." Business Travel Team director of operations Rachael White has used Easyjet to Nice and Barcelona, and Go for Portugal routes, but admits the major problem is having to give final passenger names early. "They’re probably better suited for conference groups rather than incentives, especially if the arrival of delegates is staggered," she said. "But without doubt we’re seeing more enquiries from clients to use these airlines."

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