Return of events helps Flight Centre post record profits in corporate division

flight centre

The post pandemic travel surge has seen Flight Centre Travel Group record profits across the board, whittling its previous net loss of $194.2 million down to just $19.8 million for the December half.

Flight Centre defied its own expectations by 19 per cent, recording $95 million in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

“We are not currently seeing evidence that the recovery is slowing with the leisure business currently trading at post-COVID highs and corporate travel activity escalating after the traditional holiday period,” Flight Centre’s chief executive Graham Turner said.

“This underlines both the significant pent-up demand that still exists for travel in this early recovery phase and the sector’s proven resilience.”

Flight Centre is optimistic for its full year underlying earnings, which it forecasts will reach between $250 million and $280 million.

“This unequivocal rebound reinforces the importance clients are placing on travel as a critical driver for economic success,” said Chris Galanty, Global CEO at Flight Centre Corporate.

“Our winning growth strategy combines Covid-period investments in new FCM and Corporate Traveller platforms, compelling customer offerings and improved distribution capabilities through our TP Connects platform.

“As the global economy remains under pressure, the outlook for corporate travel is positive, evidenced by a robust performance to date. In the second half, we expect to benefit from further stability in global airline capacity and fares, coupled with strengthening of our regional performance, particularly in Asia where travel has recently resumed in markets like China.”

The travel group’s corporate division posted record profits in Australia-New Zealand, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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Flight Centre Corporate’s Melissa Elf says the meetings industry has rebounded strongly.

Melissa Elf, ANZ managing director at Flight Centre Corporate, said it had been “a really encouraging first half of the financial year for our corporate divisions of FCM Travel, Corporate Traveller, and Stage and Screen”.

“Our global ‘Grow to Win’ strategy is full steam ahead in Australia and New Zealand and this has seen us continue to gain market share through high customer retention rates and a large volume of new account wins for both the SME sector and our large market pillars,” she said.

“There are several positive trends on the horizon for the second half of the financial year, being led by the reopening of Chinese borders.

“The other is the comeback of meetings, conferences, and events. Our FCM Meetings & Events team recently announced that significantly more events are being planned for this year than in 2019 – with the resurgence of face-to-face leading to a 75 per cent drop in interest for virtual and hybrid conferences in 2022.

“Couple these with the growth in the sporting, TV, movie, arts, culture and music industries managed by our specialist Stage and Screen division, and there are many reasons to be positive around the outlook of corporate travel for the second half of the financial year across the Tasman.”