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Aussie business travellers keen on sky-high Wi-Fi

February 9, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Adrian Kong

As Qantas expands its trial of in-flight Wi-Fi via NBN satellites, most business air travellers now feel they need to be contactable at all times for work.

That’s the latest finding by Roy Morgan Research. It looked at the 2.3 million Australians travelled by air for business purposes in 2016. At 11% of the population aged 14 and over, that figure is unchanged compared with 2012.

What has changed since then are the devices, attitudes and internet usage habits of business air travellers, which indicate an increasing desire to be able to stay connected during the flight.

Internet attitudes and usage among Australian Business Air Travellers

Smartphones are part of modern travel. In the 12 months to September 2016, 92% of business travellers used a smartphone, up from 68% in the 12 months to September 2012.

It doesn’t take long for a convenience to become a compulsion. 80% of business air travellers are now “interested in being able to access the internet wherever I am” (up from 73% in 2012)—and a majority (56%) say they “need to be contactable at all times for work” (up from 48%).

Internet connectivity is not all about work, however, even for business travellers. Last year 60% streamed entertainment content in an average four weeks, including music or radio, video, television or movies (up from 43% in 2012).

37% of business air travellers accessed a wireless hotspot in a three-month period in 2016 (up from 24%) and 31% access their work network remotely in an average four weeks (up from 28%).

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research chief executive Michele Levine notes that Australian airlines have so far lagged behind others in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in offering in-flight internet access to their customers.

“Business travellers will be the primary target market for Qantas as it rolls out internet connectivity across its fleet. Compared with leisure travellers, people flying for business profess a much greater need to stay connected, wherever and whenever.

“Although the majority of business travellers currently say they need to be contactable at all times for work, many perhaps enjoy the enforced downtime on flights – or at least the chance to do some work without facing a stream of incoming emails.

“Roy Morgan’s research shows that 10% of the 2.3 million annual business air travellers take a domestic work flight at least once a month, and 6% make at least three work-related international flights a year.

“Qantas now needs to understand and target these high-volume business flyers, and pitch its new on-board Wi-Fi as a clear point of difference from other domestic airlines and, depending on the outcome of its on-going trials, how the NBN satellite network’s reliability and speed compares with the equivalent services offered by its major international competitors.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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