Flight costs to take off

12 January 2010

12 January 2010 I Amy Rowe

Business travel buyers can expect to pay extra for flights in 2010, according to figures from three travel management companies.

Forecasts by Egencia, American Express (Amex) and BCD Travel’s consulting wing Advito have revealed that air travel prices could increase by as much as 8 per cent for long-haul and short-haul flights across the world this year. The biggest hike in prices is likely to be for tickets to destinations in North America and Europe.

Airline mergers and collaboration are among some of the reasons given for the rise, Egencia said. However, Amex predicted that low-cost carriers would continue to drive competition in the European short-haul market.

Despite the rise, Advito predicted that a range of factors would make negotiating conditions highly favourable for travel buyers. “This has been the most buyer-friendly marketplace in living memory, especially for business-class seats, where corporate discounts have been at historically high levels,” its forecast said.

“The negotiating outlook will remain excellent for corporate clients, if not quite as outstanding as in 2009, and there will be impressive discounts for customers who genuinely deliver business to their airline suppliers.”

Meanwhile, the cost of hotel rooms globally is set to fall slightly, with the hotel industry keen to fill vacant rooms. One of the main reasons for increased availability is the completion of hotel building projects that were commissioned before the recession.

* A feature on 2010 business travel forecasts will appear in the 21 January 2010 issue of SM.

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