The realm of transatlantic flights, bridging Europe and North America, presents an intricate tapestry of economic challenges and strategic considerations for airlines. Business travellers, the mainstay of this market, find themselves caught in a balance between cost and convenience. As the market continues to evolve, understanding the dynamics of transatlantic travel becomes ever more crucial for companies and their travel managers.
The Rocky Journey of Low-Cost Airlines Attempting to Battle the Flag Carriers
Historically, no-frills carriers have found it challenging to strike a balance in the transatlantic market, attempting to operate sustainable low-cost, long-haul services. Early pioneers such as Icelandic Airlines and Laker Airways were offering budget conscious options for flying between the US and Europe as early as the 1960s, though neither airline survives today. More recently Italy’s Eurofly was attempting to make the logistics work during the 90s, whilst Norwegian Air Shuttle thought they could be the carrier to crack the low-cost transatlantic market until withdrawing in 2021 following severe financial struggles exacerbated by the pandemic.
New entrants such as Norse Atlantic and Global Airlines are not immune either, grappling with a set of unique challenges as they enter this fiercely competitive market. Despite the failures of past operators, there remains a desire to make a success of offering travellers a truly low-cost route between the continents.
With travel costs from London to New York soaring up to three times more than a journey from London to Dubai, which is of similar distance, the scope for a budget carrier seems apparent. However, the road has been strewn with difficulties, and no such operator has carved a niche yet. The primary reason? Business travellers. For them, the priority often shifts from mere cost-saving to the overall convenience and comfort the journey offers.
The Loyalty Point Paradigm
For those who find themselves regularly jetting between the two continents, loyalty points and associated benefits will very often take precedence. Given the premium pricing of transatlantic routes, travelling with carriers that offer minimal perks becomes a less attractive proposition. This paradigm shift brings travel management companies into the spotlight. They hold the expertise to not only help clients amass maximum points but also ensure they touch down at the most strategically positioned airports. Whilst leisure travellers will often put up with a less local airport to their ultimate destination in the name of cost savings, the business traveller is far more time conscious, meaning the best situated airports are worth paying more to fly between.
London: The Hotbed of Transatlantic Travel
London stands tall as a major transatlantic hub, boasting 20 to 30 daily departures to North America. In fact JFK to LHR is by far and away the most popular point to point route between Europe and North America, with almost twice as many scheduled flight departures than JFK to Paris CDG. While this might suggest a plethora of options for the discerning traveller, the reality is different. The surge in flight choices hasn’t always translated into a reduction in airfares. Instead, airlines seem intent on capitalising on these prolonged routes. It’s estimated that the top carriers operating these routes pocket profits to the tune of approximately $150 for every flying hour.
The Expert Advantage in Transatlantic Travel
The North Atlantic air travel market is not for the faint-hearted. With oscillating demand patterns, the emergence of niche low-cost carriers and the strategic importance of airport selection, it’s a complex puzzle. Businesses, therefore, stand to gain immensely by leaning on travel management specialists who possess in-depth route knowledge. By bypassing generic channels and engaging trusted experts, companies can unlock considerable savings, ensuring value maximisation and a distinct competitive advantage.
The transatlantic flight market, with its labyrinth of challenges, makes it imperative for businesses to employ seasoned travel experts in order to get the very best value for money alongside the most convenient flights. The nuanced understanding of the domain that only a specialist travel management company can provide can be the key to navigating this maze efficiently.
This is why Traveltrust are relied upon by so many businesses frequently purchasing flights across the Atlantic. Our expertise can optimise not just your costs, but your time and your points earning potential too.
So if you’d like to get more from your business travel between Europe and North America, get in touch with Traveltrust and we can discuss how much easier we can make things for you!