Recently I conducted an online survey of Australian people who travelled by air for business purposes. The aim was to find out what a new airline entering the market would need to do to get them on board. This was part of my Master’s degree thesis and I promised I would share some of the results online after the fact.
Cranfield University in England is well known in the aviation field, and this is where I attended. They have an excellent Air Transport Management MSc which I learned a lot from. I strongly recommend the programme if you wish to start a career in the aviation industry.
The survey of Australian business travellers took place between 13 June and 1 July 2018. Various online forums as well as this blog promoted the survey.
A total of 280 responses were received, of which 194 were considered valid. Most responses came from the east coast capital cities, however there was a good spread countrywide.
Many people who took part in the survey are members of both the Qantas and Virgin Australia programme. When it came to the status levels, there was a good spread.
The results show that over half the responses came from people who travelled monthly or more for business. These people also had the flexibility to choose the airline themselves.
Most people travelled in economy class domestically, which is not too much of a surprise. Business class in Australia is extremely expensive compared to other parts of the world.
When ranking what influenced people most when booking, flights to where the person needed to go was most important. Flight schedule was next, followed by price, then earning frequent flyer points, with lounge access coming in as least important.
What Do Australian Business Travellers Want?
The final questions in the survey asked people to put down their thoughts. They were asked why they would, would not, or might try a new carrier, based on their answer to a previous question.
For the 15 people who would definitely try a new airline, they said a competitive price, schedule and network were important. One comment from those who would try a new airline said, “To keep competitive pressure on the ‘incumbent’ airlines who are starting to resemble a very cosy ‘duopoly'”.
Another 32 people said they would definitely not try a new airline. The reasons for this were loyalty to their current carrier and not being able to have the same frequent flyer status. They also mentioned the history of new entrants going out of business, as well as contracts with a particular airline.
The majority of people – 147 – said they might try a new airline. One comment summed up the general feeling best – “As a business traveller, I will fly an airline that connects me to the right destination, at the right time, and is reliable. New airlines often start small, meaning that they connect fewer destinations with fewer frequencies – this is often not suitable for time-sensitive business travel. There is also a strong track record of start-up airlines in Australia failing, or having poor service reliability – I would not risk booking critical business travel with an unproven airline.”
A New Airline Would Need To…
To make Australian domestic business travellers switch airlines, a new carrier would need to do a number of things. The responses have been collated into the below table.
These responses reflect the answers in the quantitative questions fairly well. Price, schedule and network are all important for business travellers which should come as no surprise.
I’d like to thank all those who participated in the survey, particularly those who took the time to provide detailed answers to the qualitative questions. I found it all very interesting indeed.
Now that I have successfully achieved my Master’s degree, it’s time to gain employment in the aviation industry. If you’re hiring – and remember, I hold both an Australian and European passport – please feel free to drop me a line 😉
What do you think of these results? Are they what you would expect? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.