Battle of the Business Skies Essay

1011 WordsAug 6, 20125 Pages
Battle of the business skies Date: July 8, 2012 Neil McMahon (smh.com.au) The Sydney-Melbourne route is where the next big airline war will be fought. Chris Weber runs an IT company and commutes from Sydney to Melbourne regularly. Photo: Mick Tsikas For a rival dismissed as Bleak City, Melbourne exerts a strong pull on Sydney, and vice versa, and here's the magic number that proves it: 7 million. That's the number of people flying between the cities every year, and it is equal to one-third of the population and a figure that makes it the fifth-busiest air route on the planet. No two cities in Europe come close, nor any in the US. Only routes in Japan, South Korea and Brazil beat Australia's competing capitals on the aviation ladder, and that tells the real story of just how interdependent they have become. The tourism trade accounts for some of it, but the real story is about money. This is the air route that channels the hustle and bustle of business, the corridor that has turned aeroplanes into flying buses for corporate commuters. ''There are people who commute every day,'' the editor of the Australian Business Traveller website, David Flynn, says. ''I catch a train to work; you might catch a bus to work; there are people who fly to work.'' For those travellers, the constant hopping between cities is often annoying but essential to the way they do business. For the airlines that ferry them it is a goldmine, the backbone of the industry. Between them, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways offer about 200,000 seats a week between the cities. ''It's massively [important], and to the country as well, when you think about it,'' the chief executive of Qantas Domestic, Lyell Strambi, said. ''[It's] huge, really, when you think about the size of our population. It just shows you the spread of business between Melbourne and Sydney.'' Virgin

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