Flight Centre Travel Group reports ‘strong’ profit turnaround

The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has reported a ‘strong profit turnaround’ thanks to better trading conditions across its leisure and corporate businesses.

The Brisbane-headquartered agency group recorded AU$301.6 million (£154m) in underlying earnings (Ebitda) in the year to June 30, compared to a loss of AU$183.1 million (£93m) in 2022.

The full-year statutory profit before tax was AU$70 million (£36m) compared to a loss in 2022 of AU$378 million (£193m).

FCTG has travel businesses in 24 countries, across Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Europe, the UK, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Asia.

It said new total transaction value (TTV) milestones were established in all geographic segments, with Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) business topping its previous record by 59%.

Results were heavily weighted into the second half of the fiscal year, with almost 70% of underlying Ebitda generated during the six months to June 30, 2023, after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Steve Norris, EMEA managing director at the group, said: “Put simply, travel is back and back in a big way, for both our corporate and leisure customers across the whole of EMEA.

“The region has thrived now that Covid anxiety is a thing of the past, the US has dropped its vaccination entry requirements, and China has reopened to the world.

“Despite the economic challenges, London remains the beating financial heart of Europe and we’ve seen SMEs in particular come roaring back to travel, with Corporate Traveller in the UK seeing a 22% increase year-on-year in total win value – while average account size is also up 32%.

“It has been a similar story with our large market business, FCM Travel, with landmark account wins such as Shell UK and total transaction value back up over 100% of pre-Covid in the UK.

“In the leisure space, travellers have defied rising flight prices to continue holidaying with family and friends, with Nationwide Building Society noting in June that there was a 25% annual growth in spending on airline travel.”

Chris Galanty, global chief executive at Flight Centre Corporate, said: “Our global corporate travel business – with flagships FCM and Corporate Traveller – has continued to outperform, delivering record TTV in FY23 in a market that has generally seen an improvement, but has still yet to recover fully to pre-pandemic levels.

“Our grow-to-win strategy has continued momentum, our investment has seen us take huge strides forward, and we’re proud to have opened new headquarters in both New York and London this year.

“For economies to survive, recover, and thrive, big business and SMEs must continue to travel for meetings, events, and conferences to retain staff, recruit the best talent, and win new contracts – these are just some of the factors that have played a part in such a strong corporate bounceback.”

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