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Air Partner events up 20 per cent as long haul growth predicted

Air Partner saw a 20 per cent increase in meetings and events bookings in its group charter division in 2018.

Long haul destinations experienced an upturn, with Air Partner predicting further growth in the next 12 months.

Jon Cavalli, trading manager for group charter UK at Air Partner, said: “It has been a busy year for our group charter and travel divisions in terms of MICE activity, with bookings up around 20 per cent year-on-year.

“Clients are travelling to a more varied range of destinations than ever before as they look for new experiences, and this year my team have booked charters to 153 different locations worldwide. Rome, Paris and Milan are the most requested among our clients, but we have also flown passengers to more unusual destinations, such as Azerbaijan and Russia.

“We are also seeing a growing trend towards long-haul destinations, a prime example being Vietnam, which offers numerous world class convention centres with state-of-the-art MICE facilities. I believe we will continue to see clients head further afield in 2019, as well as increased MICE activity overall.”

He also revealed that 2018 was a strong year for sport bookings, mainly focused around the FIFA World Cup in Russia. He added that despite the distance he expected strong demand from corporates for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in the autumn.

During the peak summer months, Air Partner witnessed a steeper decline in the availability of short haul economy aircraft than usual, due to the high demand around the FIFA World Cup.

Cavalli said: “This has led to groups starting to charter VIP airliners, such as the Boeing 737-300, which in the past have predominantly been used by high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and sports teams. We expect this trend to grow steadily in 2019 and beyond, with increasing numbers of VIP airliners coming to the market all the time.”