International Airlines Group CEO Luis Gallego said Friday that corporate bookings on its flights to and from North America are leading the recovery of business travel at its airlines, which include British Airways and Iberia.
“Business traffic is coming back,” he said during the group’s first-quarter earnings call on Friday. “We see that. For example, banking finance, the levels are around 65 percent the levels that we had in 2019. That’s a sector that is very important for us.”
Overall corporate demand at IAG has recovered to roughly 67 percent of 2019 levels but it varies widely by airline and market. For example, transatlantic corporate demand is at 90 percent of three years ago at British Airways. And across the group, bookings from large corporate accounts has recovered to 60 percent of 2019, while small- and medium-sized business bookings are at 80 percent. IAG also owns Aer Lingus and Spanish budget carrier Vueling.
The business recovery at IAG puts it in between peers Air France-KLM and the Lufthansa Group. Air France-KLM said Thursday that corporate demand is at 70 percent of 2019, while Lufthansa said the same day that it is only at roughly 50 percent but saw a 30-point improvement during the first quarter.