FLIGHT Centre CEO Graham Turner says the added complexity of post-pandemic travel is fuelling a “renaissance of the travel advisor” as travellers seek expert advice – and in turn the company has reinitiated its novice recruitment programs to boost staff numbers in order to service demand.
Announcing a $378 million statutory full year loss, he said Flight Centre had taken “positive early steps on the path to post-COVID recovery” by increasing market share in key countries and sectors, achieving targeted return-to-profitability timeframes, and delivering better than expected full-year earnings.
The aggressive approach to recruitment is bearing fruit, with Flight Centre now attracting about 4,500 applicants per month in Australia alone “as the travel industry rapidly regains its appeal among jobseekers”. The company has also continued to target experienced travel agents who were displaced during the pandemic.
Turner said sales had rapidly grown globally after governments relaxed or removed travel restrictions, with TTV up 162% to $10.3 billion and revenue rising 154% to $1 billion during the year.
On the product side the company’s newly established supply division is fostering best-in-market partnerships, as well as “working closely with those airlines in Australia and New Zealand that are reducing front-end commission payments to deliver new revenue streams,” Turner said.
Flight Centre is also proactively targeting opportunities in IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) platform via the TP Connects business, of which it currently holds 70%.
Turner said FCTG had started the new financial year with strong momentum, and is well-placed to capitalise on opportunities that wll arise – noting that Australian outbound passenger departures tracked at just 35% of pre-COVID levels over the second half of the financial year, peaking at 60% in June.
As well as strong leisure demand, Flight Centre’s corporate businesses continued to outperform, he said, with key sales metrics all outpacing the broader business travel sector’s recovery.