20 April 2010 | Nick Martindale
Despite the volcano-related problems of the past week companies are beginning to increase spending on air travel, according to figures released by the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).
Data released for March 2010 revealed a 22 per cent rise in the value of transactions compared with the same month a year ago, while business travel transactions in 2010 as a whole were up by 15 per cent on 2009.
GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey said: “People are starting to travel again. Transaction value is higher so either people are flying further or some people have started not using low-cost carriers. There is probably a return to people going back to business class, but only at the very top of the corporate clients.”
The figures were based on transactions made through the billing and settlement plan, a worldwide system used by International Air Transport Association agents to make payments to airlines.
Members of the GTMC reported an even stronger rise, with year-on-year bookings up by 25 per cent in March, and the year to date 18 per cent stronger than last year.
But companies were unlikely to stop using low-cost carriers even in better economic times, Godfrey added. “That’s now completely normal practice and clients expect to be offered it as well as the full-service airlines.”
Rail has also become an acceptable method of business travel within the UK as a result of the downturn, she said.