Is New Zealand's biz/collaboration isolation reflected in airline statistics?

By Grant Jacobs 21/12/2010 1

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking my own country! Far from it.

This sentence from Rod Oram’s opinion piece touting Air New Zealand’s success in recent years struck me as possibly reflecting a different pattern of business travel from New Zealand as to other nations:

Overall it [Air New Zealand] is only the 45th largest airline in the world but it ranks 11th in flights over 10 hours. Moreover, it has an unusual passenger mix: far more people travel with companions and on holiday, and fewer alone and on business compared with other long-haul airlines. [Emphasis added.]

Note that this is comparing long haul airlines, not airlines dominated by, say, short hops within Europe or the USA.

Source: xkcd
Source: xkcd

One reason I broach this seemingly unrelated subject is that science business is occasionally discussed on this forum. For academic projects* there is also the matter of face-to-face meetings with long-distance collaborators.

You have to admit we’re a long way from collaborators or partners in other countries. Even the east coast of Australia is a good three hours away. Singapore – ten hours. Europe? It’s a 20+ hour trip. The USA isn’t next door either.

What’s your pattern of international travel? If you have international collaborators or partners, are they happy with their access to face-to-face time with you? (Or lack of it, as the case may be.)


* I’m pedantically writing academic projects, rather than academic scientists to reflect a pet peeves – being the annoying (read: poor) inclination of New Zealand academic funding and institutions to focus first on categorising who would do the work, as opposed to first looking at what is to be achieved, the project.

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One Response to “Is New Zealand's biz/collaboration isolation reflected in airline statistics?”

  • In this modern age, and with concerns over carbon footprints etc perhaps scientists should be (and are) leading the way by using video conferencing/skype etc to maintain contact with research partners overseas without the need to travel. I am aware of at least one research institution that has regular video conferences with their partners in th USA.
    On a personal level I find even travel to Australia leaves me jet lagged. I don’t find it particularly comfortable dealing with others when I’m tired/jet lagged as I feel I don’t give my best and potentially don’t create a good impression. Video conferencing seems like a time effective way of doing business.