Flight Centre

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Flight Centre Travel Group
Public (ASXFLT)
Industry Travel
Founded 1982
Headquarters Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Area served
Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and China
Key people
Graham 'Skroo' Turner (Managing Director) [1]
Revenue Increase A$2.00 billion (2013)
Increase A$349.2 million (2013)
Profit Increase A$240.0 million (2013)
Number of employees
approx 15000 (2013)[2]
Website flightcentre.com

Flight Centre Travel Group is an Australian-based international travel company and the largest retail travel outlet in Australia. Its global operations include stores in New Zealand, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, as well as outlets in India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Africa. The company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with an annual total turnover of $13.2 billion sales as at June 2012. It has more than 2,500 stores in 10 different countries with over 15,000 staff and owns several niche brands, including Student Flights, Escape Travel, Cruiseabout, Quickbeds and Liberty Travel.[3]


A couple walk into a Flight Centre store in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Co-founded by Graham Turner and Geoff Harris in 1981,[4] the first Flight Centre Australia store opening in Sydney in 1982 with assistance from Bill James. Bill now runs Flight Centre Foundation and sits on the board for the Kokoda Track Foundation [5][6] Turner and James had previously run a successful budget bus trip company in Europe called Topdeck.

By 1990, Flight Centre had opened stores in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Expansion slowed with the onset of the Gulf War, which closed several overseas offices. However, it picked up again with a move to South Africa in 1994 and Canada in early 1995, while a return to the United Kingdom was made later that year.[7] United States operations recommenced in late 1999, with the company expanding its American operations with the purchase of Liberty Travel in 2008.[8]

After decades of rapid and consistent growth in revenues and profits, Flight Centre flew into trouble in 2005 with its first ever decline in annual profit. For the year ending 30 June 2005, on a total revenue of $6.9 billion, its net profit was $67.9 million. Profit announcements for the half year ending 31 December 2005, showed a continuing fall in net profits to $33.6 million, a decline of 7.7% on the previous year.

Share prices fell even further at the height of the global financial crisis, with stock trading at less than $5 per share in 2009. However, strong retail performances in the Australian market have seen Flight Centre shares bounce back to a high of more than $51 in April 2014.[9]

The Captain[edit]

Beginning in 1988, Flight Centre’s advertisements have featured an iconic character known as ‘The Captain’ who features heavily in the company's television and brochure advertising. The character was initially portrayed by several actors until the only genuine airline pilot (to date) took over the role in 2003. Captain Michael Hackwood MAvnMgt, an International Airline and Executive Management Captain/ trained actor portrayed the role from 2003-2013. The character is now portrayed by a Noosa-based builder/ actor. [8]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2011" (pdf). Flight Centre Limited. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  3. ^ http://admin.flightcentrelimited.com/sites/flightcentrelimited.com/files/1.%20FLT%202013%20Annual%20Report_0.pdf
  4. ^ Pip Coates, 'To Have And To Hold: Geoff Harris. Worth: $975 million. Rank: 40', The Australian Financial Review Magazine, July 2014, p. 22
  5. ^ http://www.kokodatrackfoundation.org/board-of-directors.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.flightcentrelimited.com/our-brands/leisure/flight-centre
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ http://www.flightcentrelimited.com/our-brands/leisure/liberty-travel
  9. ^ https://au.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=FLT.AX

External links[edit]