Qantas finds favour with business travellers while Virgin flies steady

Qantas finds favour with business travellers while Virgin flies steady

Qantas remains Australia's undisputed airline of choice for business travellers, with a clear lead over Virgin Australia.

The latest report from Roy Morgan Research shows the percentage of business travellers who would consider using Qantas for their next domestic business trip now stands at  71% for the twelve months to March 2013, compared to 58% for Virgin Australia.

While Virgin has consistently built on the gains from the launch of its domestic business class in early 2012, Qantas has enjoyed a marked improvement in its appeal to business travellers over the six months prior to March 2013.

"Competition between Qantas and Virgin Australia for the business traveller is most evident on flights from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane" notes Jane Ianniello, Roy Morgan Research's International Director of Tourism, Travel & Leisure.

"Not only will Qantas be introducing international standard table service for Business Class on these routes from the end of May, but both airlines are in the process of upgrading their east-west flights "

As expected, the Roy Morgan Air Travel Survey reveals that Air New Zealand is the clear leader across the Tasman, with a resounding 83% of Kiwi business travellers considering the airline for their next domestic business trip.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

9 comments

  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    20 May, 2013 11:56 pm

    I've flown Business Premiere with Air New Zealand, and Business with both Qantas and Virgin Australia on the Coast to Coast sector. Out of the three, I'd rate Virgin ahead - except when on the old Emirates aircraft that sometimes flies that route (seriously, those seats must have shrunk in the wash lol). 

    Both Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have generally friendly cabin crew, and good food and drink, but I found the Business Premiere seat a little squishy and the lack of direct air nozzle a slight minus and Air New Zealand is generally more expensive fare wise. Qantas was ok, just nothing really worth highlighting. 

    I'm not really all that surprised Qantas still dominates the corporate market. Relationships are sticky thanks to centralised contracts and Frequent Flyer status change-over costs - not to mention Virgin Australia is still something of a token international airline (relying heavily on its partners to compete with Qantas in terms of network reach). 

    From my observations, where Virgin has been successful in attracting corporate share, it's been with the SME market and independant professional types (dentists, barristers, etc), along with the upper end leisure traveller. It'll probably be at least a few more years before Virgin can really chip Qantas' corporate accounts (Business only really was offered last year, so they are still building momentum).

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  • Noob

    Noob

    21 May, 2013 01:36 am

    The ever tightening gap between the two cariers is very interesting.

    Between March 2011 & March 2013 Virgin has gained almost 10%, and over the same period Qantas has lost a few percentage points. 

    I think this is a great testimony to their strategy, obviously, they are gaining traction - and QF is holding it's ground as well! It appears to be trending towards the two airlines holding similar levels of favour. 

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    21 May, 2013 08:39 am

    I have to wonder if Virgin's business travel appeal has not 'topped out' . As of March 2013 this survey puts QF at 71% and Virgin at 58%. Looking back over the two years the lines for QF and VA are almost a mirror image of one another, seems like Qantas' pain is Virgin's pain and vice versa. Maybe barring any other big event, things will shake out so that Qantas will generally be around 70% and Virgin around 60%?

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  • Noob

    Noob

    21 May, 2013 09:13 am

    That's a very good point - As VA continues on its trend upwards, QF, simply due to market share, will have a slightly higher score for the medium term. A bit of double jeopardy, larger brands holding slightly higher levels of loyalty compared to smaller brands etc.

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  • Brad

    Brad82

    21 May, 2013 10:56 pm

    I agree with comments below regarding the Virgin business domestic customer base and the certinaly all the logic of who its made up of and why .

    I have flown Qantas business domesticlaly on pretty much all aircraft offerings and Virgin on the A330 coast to coast service twice. Unfortunately for me, my personal experience has not been favourable with Virgin. I am not sure if its as they are still learning a little more 'refinement' but both times I found them a little rough and ready and in one case borderline abrasive. The seats great. food ok on virgin but just lacked a little something. Sometimes its down to the crew behaviour and sometimes its just the gurantee of you know what you are going to get with Qantas and I think stabilty and 'risk mitigation' is somewhat attractive for many business travellers even outside of their corporate travel agreements...

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    23 May, 2013 08:52 pm

    Crew do make a significant difference (although I wouldn't go so far as to say its a primary factor regarding carrier choice). This soft product factor will have a bit of variation (people being people), but I've generally found Virgin pretty good staff wise (varying from average to, more often than not, pretty good). 

    I thought the food and drink on Virgin's Coast to Coast service pretty good - printed menus, four courses (if including salad), very nice wine. I found the meals lovely, with soft moist meats (no rubber dishes here) and tasty veg.

    The seat on the old EK birds reminds me of a Qantas 737-400 seat, but the usual seat is great, with excellent storage and power connection, great monitor and good choice of entertainment. 

    You also get amenity kit on Virgin Coast to Coast, with nice Grown lip balm and hand cream. The same amenity kit you get on their MEL-LAX service in fact. 

    I know neither airline will ensure the aircraft type nor operating crew are always the same, or what you were advised when you booked, so I'm not sure anyone really knows what they get until they are onboard. But it's good that competition continues to lift what you get flying coast to coast these days - it has been pretty dismal in the past so it's gone a long way to taking the sting out of this sector. 

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 May, 2013 03:39 pm

    Addendum: I have to disagree with you Brad about Qantas offering "stability". I have a flight to Hong Kong return with Qantas which is anything but - it's been amended THREE TIMES by Qantas, each time WITHOUT notification (only discovered when checking itinerary in the weeks leading up to it), and on one of those unannounced changes I was DOWNGRADED from my paid fare class without explanation (I did get this fixed though). This latest change, which bizarrely cancels one leg, only to repeat the same flight (a/c type and time/date of dep still the same)  in the next listed sector has me currently sitting on the phone listening to Qantas muszac for more than 20 minutes (and still waiting) for service at 3pm on a Friday afternoon (after being told wait times were 10 minutes by the computerised announcement when I first was put in the queue!). Talk about nightmares - seriously how hard does it have to be!

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 May, 2013 04:32 pm

    Fixed now, but no apology offered - either for cock-up or 25 minute wait to speak to a human (needless to say, will not be hurrying back to Red Roo anytime soon).

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  • wolfgang schwantes

    wolfgangs9

    5 Nov, 2014 03:31 pm

    I will never fly Quantas again.

    The cabinsteward took my jacket and cap of the aircraft at BKK airport as they thought it was left behind from the peviose passengers arriving at BKK. 

    At Sydney aiport i went to Quantas lost baggage and complained and requested that they send message to Bkk and have my property returned to me. On would think that the cabin crew on accepting new passengeres walk through the Aircraft and make sure that all is in order for the new arrival of passengers. 

    It has now been 5 days and nobody has called me even so I made a follow up call to Lost baggage.

    It is outragiouse and Quantas does not deserve our business as they dont care about customers 

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22 Jul, 2019 05:59 am

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