Financial Fallout Flips '09 Forecasts
By Michael B. Baker, Jay Boehmer & Seth Harris | btnonline.com
Revised and recent pricing forecasts from analysts and travel management companies project a more favorable environment for business travel buyers in 2009 than previous predictions. The newer outlook follows a reversal of fortune, as business travel demand deteriorates and oil prices moderate. Before late September's financial fallout, travel management company forecasts suggested domestic fares would grow as much as 12 percent in 2009, while more recent forecasts show more modest increases or even decreases next year. A National Business Travel Association forecast released this month projects published airfares to rise 7 percent to 10 percent in 2009, bringing the average domestic fare to $354, its highest level since early 2001, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. NBTA also said average international airfares would near $2,100, with a decline of 7 percentage points on fares of more than $5,000 as a "result of cutbacks on business class spend by corporate accounts."