Business travel in South America has more than a pulse. North America is a laggard.
British Airways-owner IAG said business travel volumes in South America were recovering faster than those across the North Atlantic, although he expected the latter to catch up.
Travel has rebounded since the pandemic, but in Europe, IAG and Heathrow Airport have both said the main driver has been leisure travel, with business lagging 2019 levels.
IAG, which reported quarterly results on Friday, said business travel at British Airways over the last five weeks was about 65% of the volumes seen in 2019, while at Iberia, its Spanish airline which has strong links to South America, business travel volumes were at about 95%.
“South America is performing very well. Corporate traffic is coming faster than in the case of BA and the North Atlantic,” IAG chief executive Luis Gallego told reporters.
“It is something that I am sure BA is going to catch up.”
He said BA was lagging in part due to the lower capacity flying into Asia, as China opened up more slowly than the rest of the world after COVID-19.
In general, small and medium enterprises were traveling more than large companies, Gallego said.
(Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle)
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Photo credit: Pictured, Passengers boarding British Airways plane by stairs at Dublin’s airport. Business travel is fairly strong in South America. Source: Skift Skift