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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flight Centre Travel Group
Public company
Traded asASXFLT
IndustryTravel
Founded1982; 38 years ago (1982)
HeadquartersBrisbane, Queensland, Australia
Key people
Graham Turner[1]
ServicesTravel agency
Number of employees
6,000 (July 2020)[2]
DivisionsFlight Centre Australia
Flight Centre UK
Flight Centre Canada
SubsidiariesOlympus Tours
StudentUniverse
FCM Travel Solutions
Liberty Travel
Aunt Betty
Flight Centre Exclusives
Websitewww.fctgl.com (corporate)
Footnotes / references
[3]
Flight Centre store in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Flight Centre store in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) is a large retail travel agency founded in Australia with a global leisure and corporate network. It was founded in 1982, and is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia.

FCTG operates under multiple names in Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Hong Kong, India, China, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico, and licenses its name in a further 80 countries.[3] In the United States, the company operates under the Liberty Travel and Travel Associates retail brands and GOGO Worldwide Vacations as a wholesale brand. It also operates StudentUniverse, FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveler, ciEvents, Campus Travel and Stage & Screen and Healthwise.

History

The company was co-founded by Graham Turner and Geoff Harris in 1982 and began with a store in Sydney. In 1995, Flight Centre UK and Flight Centre Canada opened.[4]

In December 2015, the company acquired StudentUniverse[5] and a 70% stake in BYOjet.[6] Additionally, in 2016, the company began online travel brand Aunt Betty.[7] Together, BYOJet and Aunt Betty operate as "low cost" Australian online travel agents, providing flights and other services at lower prices than Flight Centre's retail locations.

In New Zealand, Flight Centre operates a number of brands including Cruiseabout, Student Flights, Travel Associates, FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveller, Travel Money NZ, Travel Managers Group and Executive Travel Group.

Flight Centre was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a 80% decline in the company's share price (or about 85% from the August 2018 peak),[8] cancellation of a previously announced dividend,[9] and a suspension in trading of shares from 23 March 2020 to 7 April 2020.[10][11] In early 2020, Flight Centre announced that 6,000 staff would be made redundant or placed on unpaid leave globally, due to the effects of international travel restrictions in the pandemic.[12] This included 3,800 staff in Australia. The New Zealand branch of the company made 250 employees redundant and temporarily closed 33 branches, out of a total of 1200 employees and 140 outlets around New Zealand.[13] In June 2020, Flight Centre announced the redundancy of a further 1500 staff.[14]

In response to the pandemic, Flight Centre carried out an emergency rescue equity raising in April 2020 of $700 million at a price of $7.20 per share, or approximately 90% less than its August 2018 peak.[15][16] In June 2020 it sought a further debt facility from the Bank of England under emergency COVID-19 schemes.[17]

Controversy

In 2016, Flight Centre UK was featured on Channel 4's Dispatches in an episode called 'The Truth About Cheap Flights'. Dispatches found alleged examples of undisclosed flight mark-ups, discriminatory pricing against elderly customers, not offering refunds for refundable flights, and seat-blocking.[18] While none of these practises were deemed illegal, Flight Centre received several instances of negative press surrounding the allegations.[19][20][21] Flight Centre's response was that the programme was 'not a fair reflection of our company culture or customer experience' and highlighted 'isolated behaviour that is against our company policies and ethics', promising to consequently deal with the highlighted issues.[22]

In 2017, Flight Centre was criticised for advertising that it would price match competitors and then insisting on charging a $49 fee when customers attempted to claim a price match.[23]

In 2018, Flight Centre was criticised for price gouging, after former staff reported that the company trained employees to deliberately overcharge customers to generate profit for the company.[24][25] It was also reported that the base salary of travel consultants was below minimum wage, and staff relied on generating profit through practices such as these in order to earn commissions.[26] The company was the subject of an investigation by The 7.30 Report.[27] In response to the investigation, more than 200 staff contacted the ABC to report widespread bullying, harassment, drug use and a cult-like atmosphere at Flight Centre.[28]

Also in 2018, Stuff.co.nz published copies of posters in Flight Centre offices which reminded female staff selected for the annual "global" staff party to pack condoms and painkillers.[29]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Flight Centre was criticised for keeping substantial amounts from refunds to customer when suppliers failed to provide travel services, claiming "cancellation fees". Flight Centre later changed course to avoid court action[30] following warnings from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission[31] and consumers[32][33] that the practice was illegal. Despite this, customers waited months to receive refunds.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Board Profiles". Flight Centre.
  2. ^ https://www.couriermail.com.au/business/flight-centre-workers-stood-down-as-industry-suffers/news-story/d3204f64e0396793b859d0b310fbcae4
  3. ^ a b "Annual Reports". Flight Centre.
  4. ^ André Sammartino (2007), 'Retail’, in Dick, H. & Merrett, D. (eds.), The Internationalisation Strategies of Small-Country Firms: The Australian Experience of Globalisation, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK, pp.175–194.
  5. ^ "StudentUniverse Acquired By Flight Centre Travel Group" (Press release). Business Wire. 21 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Flight Centre buys BYOjet.com". news.com.au. 21 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Flight Centre would like to introduce you to Aunt Betty | SMH". www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Flight Centre Travel Group Limited Share Price & Information - ASX". ASX. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Flight Centre Travel Group Cancels Interim Dividend" (PDF). ASX. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX: FLT) - Suspension from Official Quotation" (PDF). ASX. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX: FLT) - Reinstatement to Official Quotation" (PDF). ASX. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Flight Centre to stand down thousands of workers due to coronavirus". ABC News. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Flight Centre lays off staff as coronavirus bites". Stuff. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. ^ https://www.travelweekly.com.au/article/flight-centre-employees-face-a-further-1500-redundancies/
  15. ^ "Flight Centre kicks off pitch for $500m rescue raising". Australian Financial Review.
  16. ^ "Why Flight Centre needed to raise capital – and fast". Livewire Markets.
  17. ^ "Flight Centre Travel Group to take up additional funding" (PDF). ASX.
  18. ^ "The Truth About Cheap Flights: Channel 4 Dispatches | Channel 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  19. ^ Okey, Regan (25 April 2016). "'Employees call their boss daddy' Flight Centre's scam tactics exposed". Dailystar.co.uk. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  20. ^ Wallop, Harry. "Six travel agent tricks to watch out for when you book". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  21. ^ Hope, Hannah (24 April 2016). "Major travel agent Flight Centre accused of cheating customers". mirror. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Flight Centre refutes claims by Channel 4's Dispatches". www.travelmole.com. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  23. ^ https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/travel/flight-centre-beats-price-by-1-adds-on-49-fee/news-story/240ed3fcbc54c2840be730ea24ceb853
  24. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-22/flight-centre-accused-of-ripping-off-customers-underpaying-staff/10051474
  25. ^ https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/flight-centre-accused-of-gouging-customers-with-markup-practice/news-story/c9b19f2f21245653ff1fb3c253e9bd3c
  26. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-22/flight-centre-accused-of-ripping-off-customers-underpaying-staff/10051474
  27. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/flight-centre-accused-of-%E2%80%98ripping-off%E2%80%99-customers/10153794
  28. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-23/flight-centre-workers-complain-bullying,-drug-use/10153778
  29. ^ https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/105532846/flight-centres-mural-for-women-carry-condoms-and-become-naughtywise-ambassadors
  30. ^ https://www.standard.net.au/story/6743653/flight-centre-drops-cancellation-fees/
  31. ^ "Flight Centre to refund cancellation fees". ACCC. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Flight Centre stops charging cancellation fees for trips affected by coronavirus after pressure from ACCC". ABC News. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  33. ^ "Flight Centre customers plan legal action". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  34. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/flight-centre-customer-waits-two-months-for-refund-on-bali-trip/12308130

External links

This page was last edited on 19 August 2020, at 23:45
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