Home' micenet eMag : micenet October 2017 Contents I
f you’re a sci-fi fan like me and you work in
the travel business you can’t help but get
excited when you hear talk about getting
from A to B faster.
I recall as a pre-teen being excited when
mum and dad bought the full set of World
Book Encyclopaedias which I distinctly recall
said that we’d all be getting to school with
jetpacks in the not-too-distant future. Sadly,
that never happened. And then there was
Doctor Who who could teleport pretty much
anywhere he wanted to in a phone box in a
couple of seconds. Not to forget Star Trek’s
fancy system for beaming their people off the
ship and onto strange planets.
Sadly, the amazing world of futuristic movies
don’t appear as if they’re going to mean a
whole lot to us mere earthlings any time soon.
But Alan Joyce’s recent shout out to
aircraft manufacturers for non-stop flights
from Australia’s east coast to London and
New York is pretty exciting stuff. We thought
it wouldn’t hurt our business event sector. In
fact, we thought that it could put an end to
that age-old objection that many use far, far
away – that Australia is “too far” to visit.
A flight to Australia from the US or UK in
which there is no pesky stopover somewhere
along the way has to be a good thing right?
We asked a few in the industry what they
thought about the plans:
“All non-stop flights are preferable to flights
that stop en route to your final destination,”
ICMS Australasia chairman, Bryan Holliday,
“No matter how modern and comfortable an airport might be, it’s less than enjoyable to wait
around for a connecting flight. It’s exciting news about Qantas’ strategy.”
Having said that, Bryan points out that the sands have shifted in terms of where delegates
come from. “From a business events perspective this is probably less of a game-changer than
we might all imagine because an increasing number of delegates to world meetings are
travelling from Asia, where the journey is much shorter.”
ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy, agrees, telling us that corporate and incentive markets in
Asia, combined with their relatively short haul accessibility, represent important growth potential
for Australia and for the ICC Sydney.
“However, the great majority of international associations remain headquartered in Europe and
North America and that is where destination decisions for this important segment are made. While
still some years off, these non-stop initiatives from our national carrier will assist with both the
perception and reality of the competitive disadvantage that results from our distance and the
time to travel here. Anything that contributes to diminishing travel time can only assist us.”
ID Events Australia, which predominantly works in the incentive space, says distance is one
of their major barriers when proposing Australia.
“So we absolutely welcome the news of non-stop services to key western markets,” says ID’s
Karen Livermore. “That being said, I’m not entirely sure our clients will want to sit that long on
one flight. From a personal perspective, it’s all mostly a mindset; practising meditation and
mindfulness before boarding is worth considering... convenience will outstrip any negatives.”
And in that vein, World Corporate Travel’s Gary Bender, who definitely loves the concept of
shorter flights, says additional thought will have to go into the comfort, space, seating and
technology inside the aircraft for passengers.
“Economy fares to London are the same as they were 25 years ago and it took three stops to
get there back then. They should look at offering better than premier economy seating with seat
configurations of 2 x 2 x 2 rather than 2 x 4 x 2 with wider aisles and seats.
“They should also look at night time departures so you can sleep first, then work, and then
get into London or New York in the afternoon so you don’t have to wait around for your room.”
Unlike now, Gary believes that the airline will have to make the entire travel trip an
“experience” rather than a means to an end of getting from point A to point B.
Executive general manager of events at Tourism Australia, Penny Lion, told micenet that
hearing about the plan to have 16-hour direct flights from the UK to Australia is very exciting.
“This would cut travel time considerably and offer potential travellers a very enticing option
when choosing Australia,” she said.
We, like many, will be watching this space with baited breath. m
News from Qantas that it was
investigating non-stop flights
to London and NY by 2022
had us wondering what that
would mean to meetings.
NEWS | BRAD FOSTER
MELIAPRO.COM · 0061280155294
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