Check-in With Suzanne

We’ve turned the page on a new calendar year, and challenges of the pandemic remain. But there are glimmers of progress as the first hot spots of omicron plateau and start to cool off, in what will hopefully be a trend that continues. On Thursday, we’ll release the January GBTA COVID-19 poll findings which reflect the current state of business travel including the impact of the omicron variant.  

This month we saw a positive indicator for larger in-person conferences. The Consumer Electronics Show – billed as the “most influential tech event in the world” – returned as a live, in-person event in Las Vegas, attracting 40,000 attendees (and hence, lots of global business travel!) with strong safety and health protocols in place. At GBTA we’re gearing up for our first face-to-face gatherings of the new year since the November convention in Orlando. In February, the 18th Annual GBTA U.S. Chapter Leadership Summit convenes in Tampa, FL, bringing together more than 150 volunteer leaders for two days of learning, networking and collaboration. Activities are also well underway for Europe’s GBTA Conference in partnership with VDR which will take place February 28-March 2 in Berlin. I look forward to (re)connecting with everyone at these events – even as many of our other programs are in full-swing planning mode, including Ladders, WINiT, and the call for education session proposals for our August convention in San Diego. 

For the new year, (re)connecting also means optimizing the GBTA online resources at your fingertips. For members, the newly re-tooled GBTA Hub is where you’ll want to engage for the latest in peer-to-peer interaction and best practices, along with access to countless education and research resources. And for anyone taking to the road or the skies amid the lingering pandemic, remember the Sherpa + American Airlines travel planning tool is easily accessible from the GBTA website and provides information on entry restrictions and COVID-19 travel requirements around the world to help you navigate safely and responsibly. 


News To Know 

Viva is recognized for its fleet and expects to add new aircraft this year 

Viva was recognized as the airline with the second most modern fleet in South America and the fourth in the world by the CH-Aviations air data platform. Their fleet contains 21 Airbus A320 and NEO aircraft with technology that enables a reduction of CO2 emissions in its operations by consuming 15% less fuel and reducing engine noise by 50%. In terms of biosafety, this fleet has specialized technology and HEPA purification filters, which renew the air breathed in the cabin every three minutes. 

Optimism Increases for Limited Omicron Corp. Travel Effect 

The extremely contagious omicron variant in recent weeks rapidly has spread across the United States and Europe, as many epidemiologists promised, challenging airlines and other businesses to put together work schedules of healthy employees and delaying some companies’ return-to-office plans. But some indicators suggest that, nearly two weeks into 2022 the new variant’s rampage doesn’t appear to have led to dramatic new restrictions on or avoidance of business travel. 

Air Canada, WestJet and Pearson Doctors Call For End to Traveler PCR Testing 

Dr. Jim Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Air Canada, Dr. Edward Wasser, Chief Medical Officer, Toronto Pearson and Dr. Tammy McKnight, Chief Medical Officer, WestJet Airlines have written an open letter asking the Canadian government to direct PCR testing away from travelers and into communities. 

UK government considers axing day two tests for vaccinated travelers 

Within the next few weeks, fully vaccinated travelers to the UK could be able to enter the country without any COVID-19 tests. Currently, travelers returning to England are required to take a lateral flow or antigen test on day two, with anybody testing positive for Covid having to self-isolate for 10 days. An announcement on scrapping day two tests for fully vaccinated travelers is expected on or around 26 January. 

GBTA News & Reminders 

The Five Essential Questions about The Future of Work
Free for GBTA Members – Register here
Almost two years into hybrid and remote work, we have been forced to contemplate where (office, home, hybrid) work will take place in the future. As importantly, we must consider who works, what we do for work, how we work and how we measure that work, and, perhaps most interestingly, why we work.
This is a pre-recorded, interactive webinar 

GBTA Convention Replay 

Don’t miss out on the new, unique experience, check out Convention Replay! With 5 livestreaming Main Stage sessions, 25 educational sessions, virtual exhibitor connections, and more, you can reap the value of the business travel industry’s flagship gathering in a way that’s right for you.