The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Week in Review

Happy New Year! The Week in Review is back in action to provide you with the latest business travel industry news.

In late November, Marriott announced that approximately 500 million guests (who made a reservation at a Starwood property) were impacted in a data breach. Today, the hospitality company downgraded its estimate to 383 million compromised records, Skift reports. Since some guests have multiple records in Marriott's system, the number of guests impacted is likely less than 383 million.

According to BBC, London’s Heathrow Airport and Sussex’s Gatwick Airport will invest millions of pounds in anti-drone equipment that can obstruct communications between drones and their operators. This move follows a drone disruption at Gatwick that caused 1,000 cancelled flights over 3 days last month.

In acquisition news, Flight Centre Travel Group has agreed to acquire Casto Travel’s U.S. operations, Skift writes. The Australia-based travel agency has a mission to strengthen its North American presence.

AirlineRatings.com has released its list of the safest airlines in the world for 2019, with Qantas topping the list, USA TODAY notes. The list also includes the 10 safest low-cost airlines.

Qatar Airways acquired a 5 percent stake in China Southern Airlines on 28 December, Buying Business Travel reports. The airline also holds shares in International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Air Italy, and Cathay Pacific.

New York was the world’s top destination for business travel in 2018, Business Traveller writes. The annual rankings from Egencia highlight the most traveled-to destinations for business. London, Paris, Shanghai, and Toronto are also among the top five destinations.

According to Skift, new safety concerns present a complicated challenge for event organizers. From extreme weather to terrorist attacks to widespread disease outbreaks, the duty of care bar continues to rise for event planners.

Singapore Airlines is now offering passengers the ability to pre-book their meal choices, Business Traveller reports. This only applies to travelers in suites, first and business class.

Buying Business Travel writes on the importance of having proper risk management processes and programs in place. Is your organization prepared to locate and help your travelers in the face of an emergency?

According to Business Traveller, the global ridesharing industry is valued at $61.3 billion and is expected to grow to $218 billion by 2025.


Week in Review

Buying Business Travel reports that the UK laptop ban has been lifted on Tunisia flights.

According to USA TODAY, Qantas is planning for a 20-hour non-stop flight from Australia to London.

Buying Business Travel reports that Vietnam Airlines and Garuda have agreed to an extended partnership including more codeshares.

Business Traveller notes that the disparity between business and economy classes is growing.

According to Buying Business Travel, corporate travel rewards specialist Rocketrip has signed deals with a range of new corporate clients.

Tnooz shares findings from a new study by Carlson Wagonlit Travel which reveals that 88% of business travelers find business travel easier to navigate thanks to technology.

Buying Business Travel notes that Labour leaders could vote against the addition of a third runway at Heathrow due to environmental concerns about pollution.

According to Skift, KLM has become the first non-Chinese airline to accept WeChat Pay.

Tnooz reports that Delta has added video chat to its customer service line-up.

Business Traveller claims that Portuguese immigration officers planned a walk-out on Thursday and Friday.

According to Buying Business Travel, Loganair signed a new distribution deal with Sabre.

NPR reports that China is relaunching their high-speed rail service, which happens to be the world’s fastest inter-city lines.

Buying Business Travel notes that Edinburgh Airport has begun working on a new £80 million extension to its terminal.

According to Skift, UK business travel is in a post-Brexit slump.

Business Traveller reports that Qatar Airways has launched a pre-order dining service enabling business and first class passengers to pre-order their main course up to 14 days before departure.

BBC has revealed the worst flight routes and longest average delays experienced by UK passengers.

According to Hotelmarketing’com, hotels are making strides in measuring ancillary revenues.


Week in Review

On Monday, President Trump signed a revised executive order following his initial January 27 travel ban that was halted by court order.

According to Skift, European companies anticipate a reduction of business travel to the United States because of the new orderForty-five percent of European business travel professionals indicated their company will be less willing to plan future meetings and events in the U.S., and 38 percent said their companies would be less willing to send business travelers to the U.S. as a result.

The Economist pointed out that a clause in the revised order could cause problems for all visitors entering or exiting the country. A section in the order directs the secretary of homeland security to complete and implement biometric tracking for inscope travelers, which could require these visitors to line up at an additional security line.

According to The New York Times, the European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution that could suspend visa-free travel for American citizens. This resulted because the U.S. does not offer full reciprocity, requiring citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to receive a visa to visit the country.

Quartz reports Qatar Airways plans to enter India’s aviation market with the launch of a domestic airline.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the TSA introduced more comprehensive pat-down procedures by gradually rolling them out at airports across the country.

Skift reports Qatar Airways unveiled a new business class product, featuring double-bed seats that turn into meeting areas.

According to Skift, the European Union adopted new rules to tighten border security and better track people who may have traveled to fight in war zones.

4Hoteliers reports U.S. hotel transactions accounted for nearly 50 percent of all global sales in 2016, totaling $29 billion.

GBTA launched a contest, giving exhibitors the chance to win VIP seats to Convention Arena Luncheon with Michael Phelps.

Buying Business Travel reports British Airways is set to cut legroom on some of its short-haul flights.

According to TravelDailyNews International, a new air traffic control strike wave in France could result in more than 1,000 flight cancellations.

According to Business Traveller, a ground crew strike in Berlin is causing major disruption, with reports of over 650 flights already cancelled.  

This week’s list comes from Skift: 6 Things to Watch at Middle Eastern Carriers as They Cut Services


Qatar Airways Gains Approval to Purchase Latam Stake

Late last week, Brazil’s competition regulator Cade approved Qatar Airways’ stake purchase in Latam Airlines. Earlier this year in July, Qatar Airways agreed to acquire up to 10 percent of Latam’s shares, granted they moved forward with a $613 million capital increase.

Around the same time, GBTA’s Nancy Tudorache had an opportunity to chat with Latam Airlines’ Pablo Chiozza at the GBTA Convention Broadcast Studio. The two discussed the LAN and TAM merger and how Latam Airlines came to be, in addition to the airline’s global focus and top priorities. Pablo mentioned their clients are a top priority, stating “this industry is all about serving the client.”

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Convention.