Advocating for Sustainable, Efficient and Seamless Business Travel
GBTA Advocacy Round in Brussels – March 2023
On 27-29 March 2023, a delegation of GBTA staff and European members1 gathered in Brussels to advocate for the unique priorities of the business travel sector. The group initiated and attended sixteen meetings with policymakers, trade associations, and subject matter experts over the course of three days.
The goal of these engagements was to address key challenges and opportunities faced by the industry, such as the promotion and adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), promoting multimodality, and refining the Payment Services Directives (PSD2/3) to better accommodate the needs of business travellers.
- Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE)
– Unit: Single European Rail Area (DG MOVE C.3)
- DG MOVE – Unit: Sustainable and Intelligent
Transport (DG MOVE B.4)
- Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry,
Entrepreneurship And SMEs (DG GROW)
– Unit: Tourism, Textiles (DG GROW.G.1)
A big thank you goes to Ben Park, Olivier Benoit,
Paul Raymond, Christian Rosenbaum, Andrea Giuricin and
David McNeill, the GBTA EU Members accompanying us
at the round of outreach.
Member of the European Parliament – Jan-Christophe Oetjen (Renew, Germany)
Council of the European Union
Spanish Permanent Representation to the EU
Other Missions to the EU
United States Mission to the EU
Trade Associations and other EU organisations
- Community Of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)
- ALLRAIL – The Future of Passenger Railways
- eu travel tech: European Travel Tech Organization
- Airports Council International (ACI) Europe
- e-fuel alliance
- European Banking Federation
- Boeing EU Office
- VISA EU Office
- Airlines for Europe (A4E) Aviation Summit
GBTA’s European priorities include advancing digital multimodality and rail, promoting sustainable aviation, and improving the payment services infrastructure.
To ensure that policymakers and other EU stakeholders understand the needs and concerns of the business travel sector, GBTA actively engaged on these matters at their latest EU outreach round. Below are key takeaways on the priority topics for GBTA and its members:
Digital Multimodality and Rail:
The Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) file is a key upcoming EU initiative that aims to facilitate multimodality across the region. However, there are disagreements within EU
institutions about whether to include airlines and what obligations to impose on rail operators.
- Key rail stakeholders also have varying views on the scope of the MDMS, with incumbents’ representatives asking for an equal treatment across transport modes and new entrants seeing the possible exclusion of airlines as an opportunity to draft a law that truly promotes rail as a sustainable transport option.
- GBTA is advocating for simultaneous access to all relevant data across transport modes to enable sustainable and cost-effective choices for business travellers
GBTA and some stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the increasing share of crossborder rail, given the varying technical requirements among different national rail systems
- The EU is expected to propose a framework to stimulate investments and improve capacity to increase rail’s share. Better coordination among infrastructure managers across member states is needed for reliability.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are essential for decarbonisation efforts, but production, feedstock availability, and legal clarity pose challenges. To meet 2050 objectives, it is necessary to construct one new SAF plant per week.
- The EU is seeking inspiration from the US to incentivize clean fuels, potentially adopting approaches similar to the US’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with the Net Zero Industry Act.
In Europe, SAF currently costs five times more than conventional jet fuel
- Stakeholders, including Boeing, eFuel Alliance, and ACI Europe, advocate for policy measures such as SAF allowances and inclusion in the EU Taxonomy Regulation, to help boost SAF – all measures supported by GBTA.
- Additionally, the group endorses a book and claim system to minimise SAF transportation and the resulting emissions while supply remains limited, improved engine efficiency, and air traffic optimisation
GBTA continued its efforts to harmonise emissions calculation criteria and were pleased with the progress underway, with the publication of the CountEmissionsEU proposal anticipated in June.
- The Payment Services Directive (PSD3) is expected to be reviewed and released in June, and stakeholders are actively engaged in the discussions to address concerns surrounding the potential impact on the business travel industry.
- GBTA will be working on addressing concerns the business travel community and advocating for a PSD3 that reflects the priorities of business travellers and ensures a harmonised and seamless payment experience across different countries and currencies.
Following GBTA’s outreach in Brussels, numerous opportunities and next steps have emerged to bolster the business traveller’s voice within EU policymakers and stakeholders. GBTA will continue to push for collaboration and engagement:
- GBTA will maintain contact with key policymakers, such as MEP Oetjen in aviation matters, and the Spanish Permanent Representation, which will define priority matters in the EU for the second half of 2023 as they assume the EU Presidency of the Council.
- On the Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS), GBTA will continue advocating for equal treatment across transport operators, leveraging stakeholder collaboration with relevant rail stakeholders such as CER and ALLRAIL to better understand the challenges in the sector.
- On payment services, GBTA is eager to work closely with VISA and other service providers on defining key payment terms and monitoring the release of PSD3, ensuring our industry remains well-represented.