Monthly Newsletter GBTA – December 2023

Welcome to the December edition of the GBTA Europe Advocacy Newsletter designed to keep you up to date with what’s happening in relation to business travel in Brussels, and how GBTA is advocating on your behalf.

Click here for the EU jargon buster.

GBTA Action in the EU

GBTA meets with EU policymakers and Stakeholders in Brussels


GBTA representatives gathered in Brussels, 8th_ 10th of November 2023to advocate for the unique priorities of the business travel sector.

GBTA met with the Cabinet of Transport Commissioner Valean and with the Directorate-General responsible for Transport and Mobility. Moreover, GBTA representatives had the opportunity to engage with Members of the European Parliament as well as the US Mission to the European Union.

In addition, they met with several trade associations and companies relevant to business travel including Boeing, Airlines for Europe (A4E), FuelsEurope and ALLRAIL.

The goal of these engagements was to address key challenges and opportunities faced by the industry, in particular, how to facilitate multimodal travel, the promotion and adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), the harmonisation of emission tracking and reporting, and the improvement of passenger rights. 

You can find a full report of the outcome of these meetings here.


Transport & sustainability – Developments on the legislations relevant to achieving the EU’s climate targets

  • Net Zero Industry Act updates (NZIA)

What is new: The European Parliament approved its position on the “Net-Zero Industry Act”, which aims to boost the production in Europe of technologies key to the EU’s decarbonisation objectives. It provides support for industries in these sectors. MEPs’ amendments expanded the legislation’s scope to cover the entire supply chain of these technologies and added new supported technologies to the list including nuclear and, crucially, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).  

The Council, representing EU countries, has not yet agreed on its position on the Act but it seems to be leaning towards the inclusion of SAF. GBTA airlines have been advocatfor this inclusion as it will accelerate production. The inclusion would emulate the US’s Inflation Reduction Act which does grant support for SAF.

Why it matters: The inclusion of SAF in Parliament’s position, if kept in the final law, would enhance the production of sustainable aviation fuels, needed to make EU aviation more sustainable and for airlines to be able to comply with already-existing legislative mandates for gradual SAF take up.


Since 2019, the EU has implemented a very ambitious agenda aimed at decarbonising its transport sector. Recent political agreements on the RefuelEU Regulation, which GBTA has welcomed, and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation provide a regulatory framework for this transition. However, to achieve the objectives set in these laws, the EU needs to develop an enabling approach focused on incentives for low carbon fuels that will help decarbonise aviation. This is particularly imperative as the US actively supports SAF production through the Inflation Reduction Act. GBTA drafted and sent out a press release, welcoming the Parliament’s inclusion of SAF among the technologies that should receive support.

  • Passenger Rights Regulations

What is new: On the 29th of November 2023 the Commission presented a series of proposals aimed at enhancing the rights of passengers. These proposals further strengthen the Passenger Rights regulatory framework, a pivotal component of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy (SSMS) initially adopted by the Commission in 2020. 

The adopted package includes three proposals: 

  1. Revision of the Passenger Rights Regulations, strengthening passenger rights, including in multimodal trips 
  2. Revision of the Package Travel Directive, better protecting package travellers 
  3. Better multimodal travel information services and the creation of a common European mobility data space 

Why it matters:

The new measures include: 

  • Simplified EU-wide reimbursement and compensation forms for easier individual redress, accessible across all EU languages and disability-friendly. 
  • Mandatory publication of carrier reports detailing their passenger rights implementation for informed traveller choices. 
  • Enhanced oversight by national enforcement bodies to identify and address carrier and terminal manager non-conformities in implementing passenger rights. 

Regarding air travel

  • Passengers, even if they booked through intermediaries, can receive all relevant journey information directly from the air carrier. Intermediaries are obligated to share passengers’ contact details with the air carrier solely for this purpose, with strict adherence to data protection regulations. 
  • Clarity on reimbursement contacts and procedures when booking via intermediaries, with transparent guidance from both the carrier and intermediary, free of charge. 
  • If an intermediary paid for the ticket, both the carrier and intermediary must ensure the passenger receives reimbursement within 14 days. The carrier reimburses the intermediary within 7 days, and the intermediary reimburses the passenger within another 7 days. 

Regarding multimodal travel:

  • Improved information and protection for passengers travelling on single tickets, offering refunds or rerouting and necessary assistance if issues arise, potentially saving costs.
  • Refund entitlement for passengers purchasing combined tickets for various transport modes in one payment and missing connections without being informed of the tickets’ separateness, with a potential additional 75% refund.
  • Enhanced assistance for individuals with reduced mobility during transitions between transport types at major hubs, streamlining aid processes.
  • Provision for the use of standardised reimbursement and compensation forms provided by the Commission, akin to mode-specific rules proposed.

Regarding package travel:

  • The European Commission also presented a revision of the Package Travel Directive, which sets the legal framework for package travel in Europe and linked arrangements, with the goal of strengthening the level of consumer protection, including in the event of major crises.

Regarding multimodal travel information

  • The updated EU regulation on multimodal travel information (MMTIS) aims to simplify finding real-time updates on various transport modes, delays, and accessibility info for passengers. The European mobility data space (EMDS), aligned with the EU Data Strategy, will gather transport data for real-time access, aiding journey planning and fostering innovative transport services.

Action: GBTA will share with the members a full analysis of the proposed changes in passenger rights in Europe and will engage with the European Parliament and Council in the coming months to advocate for the interests of business travellers, in line with its response to the Commission consultation on this proposal from last year.

Other updates

  • High hopes as COP28 starts in Dubai

What is new: COP 28 commenced on the 30th of November 2023, in Dubai with an agreement on a loss and damage fund. The fund blueprint, aimed at aiding impoverished nations affected by severe weather, was formally adopted during the summit’s first day. The plan involves establishing a fund initially managed by the World Bank, providing financial assistance to developing countries. Funding will come from contributions by wealthy industrialised nations, emerging economies, and fossil fuel producers like China, Gulf states, and the hosting nation, the United Arab Emirates.

More generally, the EU aims to convince nearly 200 nations to commit to

phasing out unabated fossil fuels globally, making sure that fossil fuel consumption peaks ahead of 2030 and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. They also intend to reach an agreement to aim for a fully or predominantly decarbonised global power system in the 2030s, leaving no room for new coal power and tripling renewable energy capacity, and doubling energy efficiency globally by 2030. Despite gathering support, these initiatives face resistance, especially from major fossil fuel producers. The EU wants these commitments embedded in the main COP agreement, highlighting the urgency as current fossil fuel use exceeds sustainable levels, risking a 1.5-degree Celsius global warming limit.

Why it matters: The agreement on a loss and damage fund to aid poorer nations in addressing climate-related catastrophes is a critical step in global climate diplomacy. The fact that this happened on the first day of COP28 signals countries’ willingness to reach ambitious agreements to address climate change. During the next few days, countries will determine what policies they agree on and what targets they set to accelerate the global response to the climate crisis.


Delphine Milot, SVP for Sustainability & Advocacy and MD of GBTA Foundation is attending COP28 as GBTA | Global Business Travel Association Foundation was granted official #Observer Status, based on our advocacy work and efforts to #champion climate action in business travel.


GBTA will report on the results of COP28 in the next newsletter.

  • Latest news on ETIAS and Schengen visas

What is new: EU foreign ministers recently approved a significant change in the visa application process for individuals intending to visit Europe’s Schengen area. This transformation involves the introduction of an online platform to streamline visa applications, eliminating the need for physical stickers in passports and eradicating consulate or service provider appointments.

Separately, the European Commission (EC) has confirmed that the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) (the EU’s equivalent of the US ESTA) has been delayed to May 2025. Originally scheduled for 2023, its launch was postponed due to logistical issues linked to the Paris Olympics and the delay in the European Union’s (EU) Entry/Exit System (EES). Now with a confirmed timeline, travellers and industry stakeholders can plan accordingly for the upcoming implementation of ETIAS.

Why it matters: Travellers will need to adapt to the new requirements for new updates on the topic.

  • UN aviation meeting agrees to goal of 5% lower emissions by 2030

What is new:  On the 24thNovember 2023, The United Nations-led conference in Dubai, agreed on an aspirational goal to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation by 5% by 2030 through increased use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) worldwide. ICAO agreed to review the ambition by 2028 to consider market developments and new investments in production capacity around the world. The European Commission was very supportive of this target and noted that implementation should start as soon as possible through policy and planning; regulatory framework; implementation support; and financing. European aviation association representing airlines, airports, civil aeronautics industry, and air navigation service providers, jointly welcomed the agreement.

Why it matters: This decision sends a powerful and unified signal to investors worldwide on the need to prioritise investment in cleaner energy for aviation. It complements ICAO’s first global sectoral sustainability framework for fuels, implemented under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The agreement creates certainty over the environmental integrity of sustainable aviation fuels and supports the scaling-up of their production and access to finance even if it does not create binding legal obligations.