LCCs report positive corporate response to longhaul flights; stakeholders unsure

AirAsia and Jetstar parked at Changi Airport

As more longhaul routes take off for low-cost carriers (LCCs) from Singapore, budget-conscious corporate travellers now have more choices for flying farther, and overall, LCCs are reporting a positive response.

“The response has been very positive from corporate groups as our flights are affordable and no-frills – guests only choose the services they require, such as check-in baggage, inflight meals and so on,” said a spokesperson from AirAsia.

AirAsia and Jetstar parked at Changi Airport

The airline has seen enough interest to launch MyCorporate, a product comprising bundle options geared towards business travellers.

Scoot also has a bundle targeted at business travellers on longhaul routes, on which clients can enjoy complimentary 20kg checked baggage, a hot meal, a Snooze Kit, priority boarding, seat assignment, booking flexibility and a 50MB inflight Wi-Fi session. Scoot is currently working with travel agencies to promote this product, said a Scoot spokesperson.

Leslie Ng, regional general manager for South-east Asia, Jetstar Group, shared: “Jetstar is always a favourite for incentive group travel as (planners) recognise the value of our low fares and pay-for-what-you-need model. Travel partners who work with us understand how competitive our fares are and how quickly we can arrange bookings.”

Jetstar’s longest route from Singapore connects to Melbourne, from which it flies to other destinations such as the US.

Despite these offerings, some incentive players in the trade have expressed mixed levels of openness to low-cost flights.

Simon Er, general manager, business events & marketing, Global Travel, explained: “Incentive trips are meant to be a reward for the participants, therefore the preference is to create a better experience for all within the set budget. As a result, budget carriers are rarely used for longhaul (incentive) groups.”

Instead, LCCs are normally arranged for travel “within a two-hour radius such as Phuket, Bangkok, Bali and Penang”, said Er, with the farthest destination using an LCC being Gold Coast.

Selvam V, managing director of Star City Tours, concurred, and shared that incentive groups have such a strong preference for full-cost flights that LCCs are “not being considered”.

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