After a year of talking to a computer, Kiwis are leaving the office to re-connect with their clients, suppliers and staff.
New figures released by Air New Zealand show domestic business and corporate travel has defied global trends by returning to 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty says the airline has been blown away by the swift recovery, particularly since the last alert level change.
"Our initial hopes were a return to 70 per cent next year, so to recover to near normal levels this quickly really reinforces the strength of our domestic network and the desire of Kiwis to reconnect in person."
In many places around the world, such as the United States, business travel is only sitting at around 15 per cent of domestic travel.
Leanne says in response to increased demand, Air New Zealand has added more seats, more business-timed flights and bringing on more crew.
"We've planned a schedule that enables business travel through increased frequency and connectivity, and are also regularly reviewing opportunities to add capacity, such as deploying our larger A321 aircraft on strongly booked flights.
"We've also reduced our top-class fares, meaning customers booking at short notice will pay up to $100 less per seat.
"New Zealand has the strongest domestic travel market in the world at the moment, and this is just another way Air New Zealand is doing everything we can to keep Kiwis connected."
"Although online meetings offered a practical solution, there’s no getting away from how good face-to-face meetings are," says group managing director of Mainfreight, Don Braid.
"Our team works closely with our customers to manage their supply chains, and the personal connection is an important part of maintaining strong working relationships.
"It has also been a delight to have our people together for our annual sales and branch manager meetings here in New Zealand; something our business has been unable to achieve in our offshore locations."