Airline Hopes Luxury Will Trump Loyalty Programs

Airline Hopes Luxury Will Trump Loyalty Programs

A new business class-only airline in Australia is trying to attract corporate flyers with spacious leather seats, free alcohol and hot meals served on real china, the Associated Press reported.

But whether luxury airline OzJet can survive will depend on how successfully it can entice corporate clients away from the dominant airlines’ frequent flyer programs, an aviation expert said Wednesday.

OzJet took to the skies in November with eight daily flights between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and limited weekend service.

“Whether … that will entice some people away from the corporate contracts that Qantas has or entice the individual away from their own personal frequent flyer programs will remain to be seen,” Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, told the Associated Press.

Miller said Qantas — Australia’s largest airline — currently has about 85 percent of the corporate market and around 3.8 million frequent flyers.

The country’s second largest airline, Virgin Blue, has also launched a new frequent flyer program.

“Personal frequent flyer programs for the individual are quite a set of handcuffs in terms of the individual’s ability to switch airlines,” he told the AP.

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