High-fliers pick Asia's best airlines and airports

FinanceAsia’s annual business travel poll finds executives concerned about travel budgets — and discerning when it comes to quality.

Business flyers are tough to please. Those heading out on an exciting holiday may just be happy to be there, but corporate executives, bankers, lawyers and other frequent flyers travel out of necessity. And the sheer volume of their travel makes them even more discerning customers.

That makes it all the more impressive that Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines managed to so thoroughly beat the competition in FinanceAsia’s most recent business travel poll. The Hong Kong airline, in particularly, stood out from the crowd.

Cathay Pacific pipped its Singaporean rival to the top of the business-class ranking, garnering 35.9% of the votes compared to 33.5% for Singapore Airlines. The next highest-ranked airline was Emirates, which got around 11.2% of the votes.

Cathay Pacific was also the standout airline for flights to two major cities: around 48.2% of respondents choose it for flights to New York, where 39.3% pick the airline for flights to London. It got another win when we asked business flyers to name their favourite airport lounge. Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong lounge came out on top with 20% of the votes.

Singapore Airlines can, however, boast the best first-class service in the region, getting 37.4% of votes in this category. Its KrisFlyer Gold and SilverKris lounges were second and third in the ranking. Its home-base, Singapore’s Changi Airport, was voted the best in Asia by an impressive 48.4% of respondents.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that these two airlines did so well; Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines also shared the honours in last year’s poll. But when we asked business flyers to consider the wider industry, there were less impressed.

Some 40.5% of flyers said air travel was becoming less pleasant. That is a drastic change from last year’s results, when just 30.8% of respondents felt air travel was getting worse.

Business travels are also continuing to be hemmed in by tighter corporate budgets. When asked whether an ‘economic malaise’ had reduced their travel budget, 45.8% said that it had. Just over 29% of respondents said they expected to fly economy more this year.

The results in detail

Asia's top airports
1 Singapore Changi (pictured)
2 Hong Kong International Airport
3 Tokyo International Airport

Asia's best airport loung
1 Cathay Pacific, The Pier, Hong Kong (pictured)
2 KrisFlyer Gold, Singapore
3 SilverKris Lounge, Singapore

 
Best First Class Service
1 Singapore Airlines
2 Cathay Pacific
3 Emirates
Best Business Class Service
1 Cathay Pacific 
2 Singapore Airlines
3 Emirates

 
Preferred Airline to London
1 Cathay Pacific (pictured)
2 Singapore Airlines
3= British Airways
3= Emirates

Preferred Airline to New York
1 Cathay Pacific
2 Singapore Airlines
3 Emirates

Check back soon for part two: the region's finest hotels

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