AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Business travellers' premium economy bookings ballooned 157% in 2017

They forked out a little more to upgrade as economy seat bookings fell 54.46%.

Premium economy bookings from Singapore ballooned 157% yearly on average from 2015 to 2017. Making up only 1.23% of corporate bookings in 2015, premium economy seats grew to 7% of corporate bookings by 2017, a joint report of Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and Travelport found.

Meanwhile, business bookings from other seat classes saw a decline during the three-year period, In the study of over 1.3 million bookings from 2015 to 2017, first class, business class, and economy class slipped 2%, 1% and 6%, on average, respectively.

“It’s interesting that the increase in premium economy bookings seems to have come largely at the expense of economy class, and not business class,” CWT Asia Pacific director Richard Johnson said.

Economy class seat shares amongst corporate bookings fell 54.46% in 2017 from 60.27% in 2015. Meanwhile, business class bookings remained comparatively flat, making up 37.66% of corporate bookings in 2017 from 37.59% in 2015.

“One can easily see the appeal that premium economy has for corporate travel programs,” Johnson commented. “It gives travellers that much-needed extra comfort versus economy class on medium-to-long-haul flights whilst costing their companies significantly less than a business class ticket.”

According to the report, airlines have been responding to the demand as one in five airlines flying into Singapore offers premium economy, with the service available on more than 30% of routes from Singapore. Singapore Airlines (SIA) has plans to increase its premium economy option as it now offers the seats in four of its 10 planes.

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