The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the voice of the global business travel industry, applauds the Biden Administration’s release of $1 billion USD in grants to fund critically needed projects that facilitate air travel, increased travel demand, and an enhanced passenger experience.
This funding, a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in November 2021, will be available to 99 airports of varied sizes and locations in 47 states and two municipalities across the U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement highlighted that the funding will aid in meeting “the growing demand for air travel and invests in key areas to help get travelers in and out of airports more quickly and improve the passenger experience by investing in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation.” Additionally, the project funds will help increase terminal sustainability and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
Air travel and movement of passengers is a core issue for GBTA and the business travel industry. According to GBTA’s pre-pandemic research, domestic trips in the U.S. reached 515 million annually, of which almost 30% included air travel – second only to personal vehicles. This means that business travelers took more than 144 million flights each year, making air travel a critical component of business travel for the U.S.
“Business travel is on pace for continued recovery, but for the industry and overall economy to truly take off and grow sustainably, we need air travel systems that are optimized to meet modern needs. These grants provide for expanded capabilities to meet the sustainability, accessibility, and improved passenger experience that is required by today’s business travel community and travelers overall,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.
To advance improvements for the traveler and the travel eco-system, GBTA is also calling on the U.S. Congress to rapidly pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) long-term re-authorization, set to expire in September 2023, to ensure continued implementation of NextGen programs and the upgrading of the air traffic control system. This will provide support and stability to the FAA, the aviation industry, and the traveling public, enabling them to navigate these challenges with confidence.