Study: business trips are gaining momentum

Experts from Aeroclub, a business travel market leader and a leading provider of IT solutions for the industry, analyzed airline ticket bookings in Russia among business representatives in the first half of 2022 and found out how demand has changed, which cities have become in demand and which sectors of the economy are increasing travel activity.

Research: business trips are gaining momentum

According to the study, in the first half of 2022, the volume of flights of business travelers in Russia increased by 6% compared to last year. However, compared with the indicators of the “pre-pandemic” 2019, the decline in travel activity in domestic destinations was 27%. Moreover, if in April the drop compared to 2019 reached 36%, by May the gap had narrowed to 25%, and in June it was only 13%.

“The response to the difficult economic situation was an increase in demand among business representatives for business trips in Russia, designed to establish new production chains, strengthen work in the regions and help find new partners. At the same time, some sectors of the economy in the first half of 2022 showed an increase in travel activity by more than one and a half times,” said Yulia Lipatova, Managing Director of Aeroclub.

Demand for business trips in Russia among representatives of the mining and manufacturing industries, energy companies exceeded last year's figures by 51%, and pre-Covid 2019 – by 58%. Thus, if in 2019 the share of domestic tickets purchased by representatives of this sector of the economy was 18%, in 2021 it increased to 28%, and in the first half of 2022 it was 40%. The volume of business class flights among employees of companies in the mining and manufacturing industries, energy companies amounted to 5% (6% in 2021, 9% in 2019). The second line in terms of domestic air tickets with a share of 12% was occupied by employees of pharmaceutical companies (13% in 2021, 15% in 2019). The demand for flights within Russia among representatives of the pharmaceutical industry increased by 3% compared to last year (-42% compared to 2019), while only 2% of tickets were purchased in business class. Retailers, who occupied the second place a year earlier, reduced their flights within Russia by 17% (-40% compared to 2019), their share in the total number was 11%, and the share of business class tickets was only 1%.

The most popular destinations in Russia for business travelers were Moscow (3% by 2021, -46% by 2019), St. Petersburg (10% by 2021, -45% by 2019) and Irkutsk (31% by 2021, 81% by 2019). ). The average cost of an economy class flight to Moscow was RUB 9,600 (11% by 2021, 29% by 2019) and RUB 86,000 for a one-way business class flight (12% by 2021, 47% by 2019). The average cost of an air ticket to St. Petersburg in a business class cabin has risen in price by 20% compared to last year and amounted to 70 thousand rubles (38% by 2019), economy class to the Northern capital has risen in price by 8% on average by 2021 and amounted to 8,800 rubles (13% by 2019) for a one-way ticket. The highest average cost of air tickets in the business class cabin was recorded on flights to Vladivostok – 117 thousand for a one-way ticket, which is 43% higher than a year earlier and 50% more expensive than before the pandemic. In economy class, the highest average cost was paid by business travelers traveling to Magadan – 24,000 rubles (2% by 2021, 26% by 2019) for a one-way flight. Also in the top 10 most popular cities for business representatives are Krasnoyarsk (44% by 2021, 31% by 2019), Yekaterinburg (-3% by 2021, -25% by 2019), Kazan (68% by 2021, 18% by 2019), Novosibirsk (2% by 2021, -20% by 2019), Samara (2% by 2021, -49% by 2019), Ufa (38% by 2021, 22% by 2019) and Sochi (-9% by 2021, -43% compared to 2019).

The share of business class flights among business travelers of the largest corporations has remained unchanged over the past four years and amounted to 4%. The planning horizon of business travelers has grown compared to last year – half of the tickets are purchased a week before departure or less (52% in 2021, 46% in 2019), 14% of business travelers buy tickets three weeks or more (13% in 2021, 17% in 2019).

Most often in the first half of 2022, business travelers went on business trips on Aeroflot flights (7% by 2021, -38% by 2019), S7 (17% by 2021 , -8% by 2021) and Victory (0% by 2021, 44% by 2019). The national carrier, which occupied a 55% share before the pandemic, reduced it to 47%, while the S7 airline increased from 20% to 23% in 2021, and since the beginning of 2022 has transported a quarter of business tourists. Pobeda and Utair flights were preferred by 5% of business travelers, Ural Airlines carried 3% of business tourists.

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