Apple books 50 daily flights to China, spends $150 million a year with a single airline

 mashable.com  01/14/2019 16:07:38  2  Matt Binder

The increasing cost of the latest iPhone models may be starting to make sense.

An internal United promotional sign has leaked with details about the company’s top business accounts. The most notable takeaway: Apple spends $150 million a year with the airline.

That’s a lot.

With $150 million in revenue generated for United, Apple is the airline’s largest global account. To put things into perspective, the next highest air travel spending by major tech companies like Facebook and Google are listed as only spending “over $34 million.” 

The flyer, which reads “This is confidential information. Please do not share outside of United,” on the bottom provides a bit of a run down as to where Apple’s travel budget is going. 

Employees of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant are mostly racking up frequent flyer miles heading to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Apple spends around $35 million, or 25 percent of its annual budget, on flights to Shanghai. The company books 50 business class seats per day from San Francisco to Shanghai with United.

Outside of Shanghai, Apple’s next most frequented locations are also located in China. Hong Kong International Airport and Taiwan Yaouyuan International Airport round out the top three routes for Apple’s air travel.

It’s not all that surprising to find that Apple employees are frequently visiting China. Most of the company’s hardware is manufactured in cities like Shenzhen where one of Foxconn’s main factories is located. 

However, the sheer amount of money spent on air travel is shocking. Fifty business class seats a per day to Shanghai alone? Sounds wasteful.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently reduced revenue projections for the company’s last quarter by $9 billion. Obviously, saving some of this $150 million wouldn’t have had that much of an impact overall for Apple. 

Still, Apple’s fellow tech behemoths such as Facebook and Google spending just around a quarter of what it’s throwing down on airline tickets. Maybe Apple could be a little bit more thrifty. Also, maybe they could knock down the price of the iPhone XS.

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