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Looking back at 20 years of Business Travel

This year, we are thrilled to be celebrating easyJet’s 20-year anniversary. If those walls inside our aircraft could talk, they would no doubt be telling some remarkable stories.

In 1995 when easyJet was conceived, I assume that the founding team anticipated some dramatic changes ahead. After all, it was only a few short years after the introduction of the EU – when European skies were opened, and travel barriers were removed. However, I wonder if they had truly grasped the transformation that was ahead for the industry, and particularly, for business travel.

Travel becomes affordable

In 1995, it was a time when legacy carriers were the norm, and despite the existence of an open sky, completing a business travel flight was a challenge. Lengthy processes, unfriendly flight schedules and astronomical fares were all par for the course. As a result, business trips were limited. The ROI needed to be so strong that it could justify the monetary cost, as well as the cost to the business due to unproductive time in transit.
Today, it’s a very different story. Business trips throughout Europe can be made within the space of a business day, and for less than the cost of taking a client to lunch. What’s more, every moment in transit can be maximised. Combining mobile technologies and fast-tracking options through airports, there’s not a minute wasted. So maximum value is extracted from every business trip, and pounds and euros are added straight to the bottom line.

Travel contributes to the strength of the EU

The past 20 years have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of people travelling throughout Europe for leisure and business. When the Single Market was launched in 1992, it was open to 345 million people in 12 EU countries. Today, it involves more than 500 million people, in 28 Member States. Further, since 1993, the number of intra-European routes has more than doubled. The sheer number of travellers, and the accessibility to easy, border-free travel has been a key facilitator in making European business more competitive. Affordable travel options have also been key to business growth, by providing more people with the choice of travel. This increased mobility not only enables meaningful face-to-face business conversations, but also creates dynamic labour markets, and helps to overcome skills shortages. Without accessible, affordable travel, we just wouldn’t have the same ability to build the strength of the EU.

I’m of the firm belief that without easyJet, the European market would not be where it is today. Over the past 20 years, the airline has opened up business opportunities to organisations and individuals who may have been otherwise inhibited. In the facilitation of cost-effective business travel, we have enabled tens of thousands of businesses to grow and expand into markets across Europe, and I am sure this will only continue to develop further. Who knows what the next 20 years will hold for the European market, but I look forward to seeing how easyJet plays a role in facilitating its evolution.

Anthony Drury
Head of Business, easyJet

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