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UK business travel trends and how UK airports and surrounding areas have risen to meet the demand for fly in/fly out meetings.

UK Business Travel

Many domestic and short haul business trips are brief, often lasting only 24 or 48 hours. To keep costs down and maximise time, many companies and business travellers are also opting for fly-in and fly-out meetings. Airports throughout the UK are designed with business travellers in mind. Airports offer a variety of services and amenities to meet the demands of business travellers, including on-site meeting spaces, executive lounges with Wi-Fi internet access, and nearby hotels with a range of accommodation and meeting options.

Business Travel Trends

With the end of the global recession that began in 2008, business travel is slowly recovering in the UK and around the world. At the same time, the nature of business travel is evolving. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) estimates that over a quarter of all passengers at UK airports are travelling on business. Although major hubs such as London Heathrow and Manchester Airport remain vital, business travel is increasingly supported by regional airports. The rise of regional airports is due largely to the increased connections no-frills and low-cost airlines are providing between the UK and other major business destinations in Europe. Although domestic air travel between UK destinations has been decreasing in recent years in favour of more afford travel by rail, air travel remains important for inbound non-UK business travellers and for business trips between London and Scotland according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) estimates that UK business travel spending reached $41 billion in 2013, and estimated this figure will increase to $42 billion in 2014. The American Express (AMEX) Global Business Travel Forecast 2014 also predicted business travel rates in the UK to continue to rise in the coming years. The study also found that low-cost carriers are becoming the airlines of choice for business travellers on shorter routes. Many business travellers are also opting for economy class travel as a way to keep costs down. A survey by Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), a leading international corporate services firm, showed that business travel on short haul flights continues to decrease even after the global economic recession. Between April 2012 and March 2013, business class travel decreased 14.8 percent while economy class travel increased. Within the UK, business class transactions dropped 22 percent compared to 45 percent for mainland Europe short haul flights.

Business Amenities at UK Airports

Airports throughout the UK make business travel convenient and seamless through a number of ways. These services and amenities help business travellers keep connected and work on the go, whether they are waiting to depart to their destinations or if a flight has been delayed. From porters to executive showers, each airport offers a unique selection of services catered for busy corporate travellers. Common services include FastTrack options to move quickly through security queues, on-site currency exchange bureau and cash machines, charging stations for electronic devices, and a range of dining options to grab a quick bite before a meeting or a flight. Other convenient one-site amenities include car hire agencies and taxi services that make travelling to and from meetings easier. Airport lounges provide quiet spaces away from bustling public areas to work and unwind. Many executive lounges provide generous amenities, including complimentary food and beverages, newspapers and magazines, and dedicated workspaces. All UK airports are also served by a range of hotels within walking distance of the terminal building or a short shuttle bus ride away.

Recognising that travellers need to stay connected, all of the UK's business airports provide Wi-Fi internet access. In most cases, internet access is free in airport lounges. Airports are also beginning to extend free Wi-Fi throughout their terminal buildings, including Edinburgh Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Manchester Airport and Birmingham International Airport. Many airports also provide on-site business centres with conference and meeting rooms to maximise travellers' time and facilitate fly-in and fly-out meetings or presentations. Some of the UK's busiest airports with on-site meeting facilities include London Gatwick Airport, Birmingham International Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Bristol Airport. Where they are not available on-site, meeting spaces are typically readily available at nearby airport hotels.