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One in ten flights by
European corporate travelers in June were in business class, the highest level since the end of 2008, payment
services provider AirPlus International said today. At the beginning of this
year, business class accounted for 8 percent of bookings.
AirPlus quoted the figures from its AirPlus Business Travel Index, based on
more than 100 million bookings annually by 33,000 European customers through
AirPlus payment products. Part of the rise in business class usage can be
attributed to strong growth in long-haul flights, which accounted for 16.4
percent of all bookings in the first half of 2010, compared with 13.5 percent
in the first six months of 2009.
Overall, transactions by existing AirPlus clients were up 3 percent from
January through June 2009, and the improvement is accelerating. AirPlus said
growth was significantly greater in the second quarter of 2010 than in the
first. The company believes the trend will continue. "We expect rising
volumes and ongoing recovery for the second half of 2010," said Michael
Fuerer, director of sales for Germany.
Total spend on flights by AirPlus customers also rose 7 percent over the
period, reflecting not only a higher number of transactions but also a higher
average ticket price owing to flying longer distances and the partial return to
business class. Average ticket price shot up 9 percent from €508 in January to €554 in June.
Rail transactions were up in the first half of 2010 as well. The number of train
tickets bought grew 7 percent, but average ticket price remained flat.