Flight Centre Travel Group Acquires Irish Corporate Travel Agency

Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) has strengthened its European corporate travel presence with the acquisition of Travelplan Corporate Limited, a Dublin-based travel management business, from the Abbey Travel Group.

Travelplan Corporate Limited has operated as a licenced partner of FLT’s global corporate travel division, FCm Travel Solutions, since 2005. It will continue to trade as FCm Ireland complementing FLT’s corporate travel business in the UK.

FCm’s global network, which includes FLT company-owned corporate travel businesses and independent licensees, now extends to 88 countries

The move represents Flight Centre’s first international expansion since establishing FCm Travel Solutions in Dubai in 2007, and its first acquisition in Europe. It comes on the back of tremendous growth in FLT’s UK operations. Since 2009, Flight Centre has aggressively expanded its UK business by opening 33 new retail and corporate travel offices making a current total of 230; growing staff numbers by 29 per cent to total 1,114 and increasing turnover by 61 per cent to reach £781.5m.

Steve Norris, Flight Centre UK’s corporate business leader welcomed the acquisition and said that Ireland’s operation would be closely aligned to FCm’s company-owned UK business.

“By making FCm Ireland a company-owned business, FCm and FLT are well positioned for future growth,” Steve Norris said. “We have invested heavily in the development of our people and systems in the UK and placed the needs of the customer at the heart of every decision. This focus on understanding the customer combined with operational efficiency has resulted in a steady increase in Flight Centre’s UK results year on year.”

“The acquisition of Travelplan opens up opportunities for further organic growth and new business development,” he added. “The team at FCm Ireland manages a growing portfolio of our multinational customers and works closely with FCm colleagues in Europe and across the network to service these customers.

“There is significant potential for developing greater ties between FCm UK and FCm Ireland, which ultimately will benefit both staff and our customers. The focus will be on building closer internal relationships and sharing business strategies to help improve our service and product offering for customers.”

FCm Ireland will continue to be led by longstanding managing director Valerie Metcalfe, who said she was looking forward to extending the company’s relationship with FCm to the broader Flight Centre group.

“This is an exciting opportunity for FCm Ireland,” Metcalfe said. “To date FCm Ireland has run a very successful and award-winning travel business with a growing portfolio of national and multinational customers.

“This acquisition will enable FCm Ireland to leverage the strength and resources of a global travel company to further develop our overall offering for customers.”

The acquisition price has not been disclosed and Abbey Travel’s retail business is excluded.