Business travel is back – IndiGo sees 100% rebound in April and May

One of the biggest consequences of the pandemic has been the total decimation of business travel. As businesses around the world grappled with lockdowns and declining revenue, online meetings replaced physical travel. Many predicted that business travel as we knew it would never return. But halfway through 2022, Indian airlines are seeing startling trends that suggest people are increasingly traveling for work.

IndiGo recovers 100% of business trips

After two years of virtual meetings and discussions occupying a prominent place in our work routine, it seems that companies and businesses are becoming more comfortable with the idea of ​​business travel.

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With restrictions being lifted everywhere and the severity of COVID diminishing, several organizations have taken their meetings and conferences offline. And the airlines are certainly not complaining about it.

India’s largest carrier, IndiGo, saw a 100% recovery in business travel in April and May and expects demand to exceed that of pre-COVID years. The Hindu quotes Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer of IndiGo, who said:

“For two years, there have been no meetings, conferences and exhibitions, and now suddenly we see a lot of these activities increasing business travel.”

IndiGo saw a 100% recovery in business travel in April and May. Photo: Airbus

Kumar explains that the pandemic has also created a new segment of travel, including those who used to travel by train but have since been exposed to air travel and now continue to stick with this mode of travel. These new travelers and MICE (Meeting, Incentive Travel, Conferences, and Exhibitions) travelers are far greater than the pre-COVID level.

Others are happy too

It’s not just IndiGo that is witnessing an increase in the company’s revenue. Go First also welcomes more business travelers than before. According to a senior airline executive, before the pandemic, Go First typically saw 40 business travelers on its A320s. This average has now increased to 45 and sometimes even 50.

While busy main routes such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Bengaluru remain perennial cash cows for airlines, there is also significant demand from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, the co-founder and CEO of the MakeMyTrip group, Rajesh Magow, saying that nearly 60% of hotel bookings for business travel are taken from this segment.


Indiver Rastogi, President and Group Head, Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC, says sectors such as IT, Consulting, Banking and Finance, Global Accounts and SMEs are key strengths behind reservations in this category. He adds that business travel demand is over 90% of pre-Covid levels and is expected to surpass that level by this quarter.

Business passengers contribute greatly to an airline’s overall revenue. Photo: Getty Images

What does this mean for airlines?

A typical business traveler is a great earner not just for an airline, but for several industries within the travel and hospitality industry. Big giant corporations account for nearly a quarter of all domestic passengers in India, but IndiGo’s Kumar also reminds us of other professional categories such as lawyers, doctors and self-employed business owners, who together push these numbers to more than 40%.


These bookings are also usually made closer to the travel date, which means airlines can charge higher fares. Large companies are also less likely to be swayed by minor fare differences, unlike leisure travelers, and are more generous with budgets.

Hopefully, barring more severe COVID waves in the future, airlines can continue to benefit from the resurgence of this crucial category of passengers.

Did you expect business travel to rebound so quickly? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Source: The Hindu

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