Jetstar bends itself to business travellers' needs

Budget airline sees growth area in corporate fliers who want flexibility instead of frills

Budget carriers are becoming more flexible to accommodate and attract a growing number of business travellers amid an economic slowdown.

While there is no published industry data, analysts estimate that 15 to 20 per cent of all travellers on Singapore budget carriers are business passengers.

The analysts said that on some flights, especially early-morning departures from Changi Airport and evening arrivals, corporate travellers could make up as many as half the number.

To attract even more of them, Jetstar yesterday announced the launch of its new FlexiBiz product.

For an extra $32 on top of the usual fare, business travellers can enjoy perks like making a flight change on the same day of travel - subject to seat availability - up until check-in closes.

PRACTICAL MINDED

Asia is experiencing a savvy generation of cost-conscious corporate travellers who prefer to fly without the frills but are often required to make changes to their flights on the day of travel.

MR BARATHAN PASUPATHI, chief executive of Jetstar Asia, on tailoring fares to suit corporate travellers' needs.

On top of the usual one piece of carry-on bag weighing up to 7kg, they are allowed one additional under-seat bag.

A credit voucher refund is also provided if a booking is cancelled, which the traveller has six months to use for a new booking.

Jetstar Asia chief executive Barathan Pasupathi said: "Asia is experiencing a savvy generation of cost-conscious corporate travellers who prefer to fly without the frills, but are often required to make changes to their flights on the day of travel."

He has noticed this on some of Jetstar Asia's peak-hour flights to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Yangon and Hong Kong.

"We want to grow this segment further by offering a fare tailored to their needs," he added.

Jetstar Group spokesman Robin Goh said: "With the growth of budding entrepreneurs and small business owners, the mindset of the new business traveller has changed. Most companies have also become more practical, with tighter purse strings when it comes to duty travel."

A spokesman for Scoot-Tigerair said that while key cities including Bangkok, Chennai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei are popular destinations for corporate travel, the airline has also seen growth in corporate travel bookings from Australia and China.

Mr Joseph Lew, 41, a director at Red Dot Robotics, said: "I take day trips to Hong Kong regularly and on these short-haul trips, flying a full-service carrier isn't the top priority. What is important is the schedule, that I get there on time and that the seat is comfortable."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Jetstar bends itself to business travellers' needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe