Survey: easyJet grabs biz travellers

New research out today from Barclaycard Business reveals that British Airways remains the favoured airline for business travellers for the fifth year running. Nearly half of the survey respondents (48%) say they like British Airways because of the choice of route and airport location, whilst 42% cite affection and trust for the brand.

Findings from the tenth annual Barclaycard Business Travel Survey reveal that the top five airlines for business travel are: 1. British Airways 47% (+4% from 2004/05) 2. easyJet 8% (+2% from 2004/05) 3. Virgin Atlantic 7% (no change from 2004/05) 4. BMI-Baby 4% (+1% from 2004/05) 5. KLM 4% (no change from 2004/05)

This year’s survey sees easyJet stealing second place from Virgin Atlantic for the first time and also shows that the reasons for choosing a particular airline vary considerably between service providers. Over half (58%) of those who favour Virgin Atlantic do so because they like the brand while, unsurprisingly, easyJet customers are primarily attracted by low fares (85%).

British Airways remains the undisputed champion amongst employees of larger companies , increasing its share of this market to 54% in 2005/06, way ahead of its nearest competitor, Virgin Atlantic (7%).

Tim Carlier at Barclaycard Business says: “It is clear that, while British Airways remains the convincing number one, competitor airlines are retaining their share of the market through a diverse range of services and brand values.”

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The survey reveals that the majority of air travel (43%) is taken in economy class, a figure which rises to over half for those below the age of 30. The remaining flights are taken in the following classes: o Low cost 30% o Business Class 17% o Premium Economy 8% o Premier / First 2%

Business Class Travel Whilst under one fifth of flights were taken in business class in 2005/6 this figure rises to a quarter (25%) for people working in a company with 1000+ employees.

The top-end business class airlines have this year seen their market share decrease between 2004/05 and 2005/6. The top five favourite airlines for business class travel are:

1. British Airways 32% (-3% from 2004/05) 2. Virgin Atlantic 7% (-1% from 2004/05) 3. Emirates 3% (no change from 2004/05) 4. Singapore 2% (no change from 2004/05) 5. KLM 2% (-1% from 2004/05)

The top five reasons for choosing business class are:

Provides a better service 25% (+11% from 2004/05) o Company policy 20% (+9% from 2004/05) o Better working conditions 18% (+6% from 2004/05) o Positions merits it 12% (+8% from 2004/05) o More flexible 8% (-2% from 2004/05)

Of those who fly for business, over a third (36%) would choose business class purely for long haul flights, 10% for short haul and 8% for both. Over a third (35%) said neither.

Low Cost Air Travel The popularity of low-cost air travel for business remains high, with 71% stating that the standard of their services has either remained consistent or improved over the last 12 months.

easyJet has once again established itself as the leading player in the low-cost business travel market, maintaining the lead on rival Ryanair.

The top five low-cost airlines for business travel are:

1. easyJet 37% (+2% from 2004/05) 2. Ryanair 13% (+1% from 2004/05) 3. Bmi-Baby 9% (no change from 2004/05) 4. British Airways 7% (+3% from 2004/05) 5. FlybE 3% (-2% from 2004/05)

The proximity of the departure airport was the most common reason for using low-cost business travel (40%). easyJet was also popular with the 18-30 age group, showing how its popularity in the consumer youth market can transcend into the business travel market.

Frequent Fliers New data for 2005/06 shows that 52% of all business class travellers are members of a frequent flier programme, while 47% say they would fly with a particular airline in order to add points to a personal scheme.

The top five frequent flier programmes are as follows:

1. British Airways Executive Club 56% 2. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 8% 3. KLM Flying Dutchman Club 6% 4. BMI Diamond Club 3% 5. Star Alliance 3%

Some frequent flier programmes can claim larger popularity in particular regions. For example, in the North-East, the KLM Flying Dutchman club was the most popular frequent flier programme (27%), with a presence at Humberside and Leeds-Bradford airports.
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