Departures: Oz means business

AN INCREASING number of tourists flying to Australia are paying the extra to upgrade to business class, according to long-haul specialist Quest Worldwide (081-547 3322).

Director David Orkin says that four years ago only 1 per cent of travellers chose business class - 'In the days when it cost pounds 3,000, it really was only executives who could be found in that section.' But with business-class fares falling by up to half - a return from London to Sydney now costs pounds 1,600 - Quest estimates that 17 per cent of tourists opt for the upgrade. However, Mr Orkin warns that cut-price business class to Australia may soon be ending. Both Singapore Airlines and Qantas have said they will increase business-class fares by 10 per cent before the end of June.