GBTA’s advocacy efforts have gone transcontinental over the past weeks. After just returning from productive meetings regarding policy in Europe, now this week, we are in Washington D.C. for the annual GBTA US Legislative Summit.
Spearheaded by Shane Downey, VP of Government and Community Relations, and our GBTA Government Relations Committee volunteers, the Summit empowers the voices of business travel. After a two-year pandemic break, the Legislative Summit returns with over 80 GBTA members (representing over half of US states) and staff heading to Capitol Hill over the next two days to share GBTA’s stance on important issues. Even as we see the positive signs of business travel’s recovery, we will be seeking the support of US legislators across three key issues to continue that momentum.
GBTA is asking US legislators to immediately end the calendar day testing requirement for inbound travelers. Unlike other countries such as the UK, Canada, Germany, and France, the US still requires all travelers to test one day prior to entering the country. US travel restrictions are impacting one’s willingness to travel because of the chance of not being able to return to the US at the end of a business trip or vacation. It’s also affecting where and when international meetings and conferences are held – and whether the US is in the consideration set.
GBTA will also seek support on two other issues: ensuring that the 9/11 Passenger Security Fees go solely towards aviation security, and adopting the Sustainable Skies Act to create a new tax credit specifically aimed at incentivizing the production and use of low-carbon Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to help address climate concerns.
Additionally, I have again been invited to provide GBTA testimony during a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion, which will take place today starting at 3 pm ET (watch livestreaming here or replay). This time the topic is “Reviving Conventions & Tourism Through International Travel.”
A key point that I will stress in my testimony on behalf of our GBTA members and industry is that we must continue to remove asymmetric barriers to business travel – such as the US inbound testing requirements for travelers – and create a safe and easy path forward for international businesspeople to return to attending tradeshows and conventions. People need to connect face to face, and it is important that government and business work together to achieve this.
News to Know:
Italy drops travel restrictions
Italy has removed all entry restrictions after the Italian ministry of health announced that all travelers, regardless of country of origin or departure, will no longer be required to show a vaccination, recovery or test certificate upon arrival. The move comes a week before the mega Salone del Mobile 2022 exhibition in Milan (07-12 June) – an event that attracted more than 370,000 attendees prior to the pandemic. Italy eased its mask mandate in May, however FFP2 masks are still required on public transport, including flights.
U.S. Airlines Cancel Nearly 3,000 Holiday Weekend Flights
U.S. carriers canceled 2,788 flights over the long Memorial Day weekend, according to FlightAware, with about 5 percent of scheduled flights canceled on Friday, and 2 percent each on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Though not nearly as extensive as those experienced during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays, the cancellations gave the summer travel season a rough start, even though airline executives during recent earnings calls had said that they were ready for the strong demand forecast for the period. Bad weather was the primary reason for the delays, but air traffic control issues and staff shortages due to Covid-19 cases also were to blame.
Delta to ‘strategically decrease’ flights this summer
Delta Air Lines announced it will cut about 100 flights a day from its schedule this summer to “minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur. “The airline cited rising demand and the challenges of “rebuilding Delta’s full-scale operation” in its announcement of cuts to its daily departures between July 1 and August 7, which will primarily affect markets in the US and Latin America. Delta said it would continue to adjust its schedule in the coming weeks.
The bounce-back of Latin America’s business travel
Business travel is bouncing back in Latin America. In the past few weeks, we have seen the terrific financial results of GOL Linhas Aéreas and Azul Linhas Aéreas, and now an increase in business capacity by LATAM Airlines Group. In January and February, sales levels for the Brazilian carrier increased by 10% and 30%, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2019. In March, the growth was even more significant, surpassing by 60% its pre-pandemic traffic level.
GBTA News and Reminders:
Travel Risk Management Bootcamp – Understanding and Implementing ISO31030
Explore Travel Risk Management with us on June 7th to understand the new ISO 31030 standard and gain the tools and confidence to update and/or create a robust system within your organization. This two-day course, led by travel risk management experts Global Secure Accreditation in conjunction with GBTA and the Anvil Group, is designed to give practical guidance to anyone involved in building and managing corporate travel programs.
Unpacking G.R.I.T.: Grace, Resilience, Innovation, & Tenacity-Utah Business Travel June Meeting
Join us June 9th as Motivational Speaker, Kamile Bauer deep dives into Unpacking G.R.I.T, how to turn setbacks to setups, how to keep going, and how to distinguish full cups vs. empty cups.
The digital mindset in business travel
Join us June 14th to learn more about the digitalization of travel has been a process that has been going on for some time in many companies. It is extremely important to put the human and ecosystem aspect first by making the Travel Manager assisted by the supplier / partner a key enabler of the digital revolution of business travel in the company.