Infrastructure investment drives 89% growth in construction travel13 February 2024
Construction travel has grown by 89 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Flight Centre’s flagship corporate divisions, FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller, driven by major transport, renewable energy, and water infrastructure projects.
Fresh data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that whilst residential building commencement fell in the September 2023 quarter, Engineering Construction Activity data – which encompasses infrastructure activity – rose in both the work completed (2.6 per cent) and value of work commenced (1.7 per cent), to a total of $30.34 billion in the same quarter.
Flight Centre Corporate MD for ANZ/Global FCM COO Melissa Elf said headlines on the construction sector, and cost and resource challenges had not impacted the industry’s air traffic, in fact, the opposite was true.
“We know house builders are facing trying times, but infrastructure construction is moving at a faster rate than we’ve seen in a long time, particularly as the infrastructure focus shifts to renewable energy projects,” Ms. Elf said.
“Travel is clearly a critical facet for construction companies, particularly those in the infrastructure space, even more so with so many contracts still up for grabs across the country that require feet on the ground. You’re not going to win business from behind a desk.
“You just have to look at the pipeline of work to see that there will be no slowing of activity for the next 5-10 years and beyond.
“Infrastructure Australia has reported the energy infrastructure project investment is forecast to increase fourfold over the next four years.
“The value of construction work is a key indicator of the health of economies and based on what we’re seeing as an ongoing growth trend of travel in the industry, it’s a really positive sign.
Infrastructure Australia’s Market Capacity Report has shown infrastructure activity to represent 74 per cent of all construction activity, at an anticipated value of $691 billion over the five years to June 20274.
The report highlighted an increased government investment in infrastructure projects, and a large pipeline of publicly funded priority projects across road and rail, water, renewable energy, education, and health.
Ms. Elf said the data from FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller highlighted a trend in companies booking more travellers for every trip than they had in the previous year.
“In 2022, we were seeing construction companies booking an average of two or three staff members per trip. In 2023, that number was closer to four people per trip,” Ms. Elf said.
“It speaks to this increase in large infrastructure projects, that quite simply, need more people on the ground – be it consultants, engineers, subcontractors, or designers.”
FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller also found that 17 per cent of all construction-related travel was departing from Brisbane.
“More than one in every six construction travellers are leaving from Brisbane, this is more than the rates coming out of either Sydney and Melbourne, which typically take the largest share of corporate travel in other sectors,” Ms. Elf said.
“This tells us a couple of things. Firstly, there is plenty of construction and infrastructure activity happening across Queensland, but also, we’d expect it to reflect a lot of contracts being won by Queensland-based companies that are moving around the country servicing these major projects.”