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Flyland: The economic powerhouse of a country above the clouds

For the people of Flyland – the 11.9 million individuals from around the world who take to the air every day – business is soaring, according to new research and analysis from HSBC.

The ‘country in the sky’ has grown to an annual GDP of $400.5 billion and adds more than $1.26 billion to its value each day. The data takes into consideration the average amount of flights Flyland citizens take in a year, their average income, average spend and considers the value of the average amount of work or business conducted in flight.

According to the results, business travelers average two hours of work per flight, with leisure travelers not far behind at 1.3 hours. This adds up to $53.4 billion worth of work being completed at 35,000 feet.

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UAE citizens in Flyland
Of the UAE-based citizens of the newly named nation, 88 percent claim they often add additional leisure days to their business trips – higher than the global average at 45 percent.

Business travel makes up 25% of flights with the typical business traveler flying 10.2 times per year. This is, on average, 54% more than the average citizen. But it’s not just the destination where people meet, collaborate and create. One in seven claims they’ve made business connections while visiting Flyland while another 12 % have had an exciting business idea.

Sky high spending power
In total, citizens spend an average of $91.90 per flight, including $7.89 for food, $3.10 for drinks, $3.28 for Wi-Fi and $68.47 for duty-free.

The majority of these purchases are credit card transactions (70 percent), following a global trend of moving towards a cashless society.

Commenting on the study Marwan Hadi, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC UAE, said: “Flyland is a fascinating lens through which we can see a diverse and outward-looking group of people crisscrossing the world with considerable economic might.

As the UAE is an international trade hub and such a welcoming country for everyone, we can all be proud of the part we have played in growing Flyland in this part of the world.”

Read: Which GCC airport will unseat Atlanta International as the world’s busiest?

Local customs
But it’s not just a tin tube of tracking timesheets – the average citizen of Flyland spends two and a quarter hours sleeping, two hours enjoying the in-flight entertainment system, and 10 minutes working on personal admin. Around 15.3 million movies are watched each day in Flyland.

Like all diverse populations, there is a set of cultural customs to abide by. Thirty-six percent of Flyland citizens do not like it when people stand up as soon as the plane lands, 65 percent find it annoying when people are rude to cabin crew, and 47 percent dislike it when children are allowed to run loose. These numbers add weight to the statistic that there are 3.1 million arguments on Flyland every day.

Read: Air Arabia reports net profit of $62.7 million in first half of 2018 

How to make sure your journey to Flyland goes smoothly

  •  Tell your bank you’re going abroad to avoid having transactions queried
  •  Always choose to pay in the local currency when using your card abroad for a better rate
  •  Keep track of your spending while traveling via your banking app
  •  Check what benefits your bank offers – such as travel insurance – to help make the most of your trip

HSBC credit and debit card customers enjoy thousands of exclusive offers from shopping and dining to travel and leisure, in over 160 countries, with the HSBC Home & Away programme.

HSBC Premier credit cardholders enjoy free worldwide travel insurance and a range of privileges including access to 750 airport lounges and free Wi-Fi around the globe. An HSBC currency account helps you stay on top of global exchange rates.

For more information visit 

With assets of $2,607bn at 30 June 2018, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.

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Flyland study

The Flyland study has been commissioned by HSBC July 2018 and carried out online by BDRC. The international ‘in air’ sample comprises n=2150 online and separate online samples were collected among residents of the UK (n=2000), USA (n=1000), Hong Kong (1000) and United Arab Emirates (n=1000), flying internationally from each country in the past year.