Flight Centre Travel Group expects February will be its best month since the pandemic began, including corporate travel recovery, following a “short-term omicron downturn,” the travel management company said in its earnings report for the first half of the 2022 fiscal year.
So far in February, Flight Centre’s transaction volume for both corporate and leisure travel are tracking 50 percent higher than they were in January. In the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region and the Americas region, corporate travel transaction volumes are up from January levels by 90 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
“After two years of lockdowns and heavy restrictions, we are now seeing the strongest indicators of a return to normalcy,” Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said in a statement. “Confidence in the recovery is building and momentum is taking off globally, as we are clearly seeing right now in both the corporate and leisure sectors and particularly in the three regions that materially drive our results: EMEA, the Americas and Australia.”
During the first half of the fiscal year, which ran through December 2021, total transaction volume in Flight Centre’s corporate business was up about 150 percent year over year to A$2.04 billion (US$1.48 billion). Corporate business accounted for about 60 percent of Flight Centre’s sales during the first half of the year.
The TMC noted that average corporate client spend is still “well below” pre-Covid-19 levels and “is unlikely to rebound fully in the near-term.” It projects that total corporate business transaction volume will outpace pre-Covid levels on a monthly basis in the 2023 fiscal year, with average client spending between 60 percent and 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels supplemented by additional volumes from new clients. Flight Centre reported 12 of its 20 largest global clients came on board during the pandemic.
Turner said the corporate business should achieve profitability in March or April.