Politics of Travel

As a Star Wars nerd, I waited until May 4 for a boost of the Force to resurrect the Politics of Travel! Not a statement on the U.S. political world, I just know a loyal reader loves the Smiths! Welcome to the 2023 edition of Politics of Travel. And b

This week, GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang and I met with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Private Sector Office’ Deputy Assistant Secretary Jamie Lawrence to speak on GBTA’s priorities, Infrastructure, Climate/Sustainable Travel and Traveler Experience. On the traveler experience front, we were met with supportive stances on GBTA’s push for more Custom Border Protection agents for the airports and border crossings, increased use of secure technology to aid in passenger facilitation, expanding international reciprocity agreements for trusted traveler programs and increasing the number of preclearance airports that will improve travel for all into the U.S.

ACTION: For our U.S. readers – click here to send a message to your member of Congress to push for improved preclearance experiences.

TALK TO ME: Are you an international traveler that uses trusted traveler programs – email me with your opinions and experiences.

The meeting was productive, and we left the meeting with a mutual agreement to continue the discussion and to raise any issues we are hearing about. A side note, the issue of traveler experience was of great interest to them as was our efforts on the sustainable travel front. PS – shout out to any of our TSA and CBP agency readers – you all are the best!

COME TO AMERICA: This week, FINALLY, the Biden Administration announced the end of Title 19 Effective May 12, (just in time to book your flights to the Sustainability Summit on June 13) international travelers will no longer be required to show proof of COVID Vaccination to enter the U.S. We have been working for a long time to have this COVID era barrier taken down, GBTA was very excited!

GREEN IS COMING TO AN EU AIRPORT NEAR YOU: Last week, the European Council and Parliament reached an agreement to decarbonize air travel by mandating the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on all flights departing from European airports. Still to be approved by the individual countries, the proposed rule sets harmonized benchmarks for fuel suppliers and airlines to use SAF, starting at 2% of overall fuel supplied by 2025. The next mark will rise to 6% by the end of the decade, and then climb to 70% by 2050. GBTA was recently in Brussels meeting with stakeholders on the SAF issue and was pleased with the announcement.

 U.S. members have been listening to me talk about the implementation and promise of Next Generation of Air Traffic Control System for YEARS (linked video was produced in 2013), I was starting to think I had been gaslighted until this week, when I read this headline: FAA Activates Scores of New, Faster Routes Along East Coast Ahead of Summer.

With the new routes, the FAA is moving away from the highways in the sky model to a GPS system that shaves 40,000 miles, 6,000 minutes and burn significantly less fuel. The announcement states the FAA has activated 169 new routes along the East Coast that are more direct, thus saving passengers time, airlines fuel and increasing safety. Check out this great illustrative graphic to review the change.

This year’s U.S. Legislative Summit will be pushing for upgrades to the U.S. air traffic control system. Check out the three issues we will be talking about with members of Congress. Register for the U.S. Legislative Summit, walk the halls of Congress with your fellow GBTA members and advocate for positive change for the travel industry.

GBTA Elections: Have you nominated someone or yourself for a position on the GBTA Board. We have gotten a fantastic response to date. However, we want as many candidates as possible. To that end, the Nomination deadline has been extended to May 15. All eligible GBTA members will receive an email with a personalized link today. Click on the link, nominate a person or 5, hit logout button to complete the process and stay tuned for the announced candidates on June 22. Voting will begin July 19.

Talk to you soon, also not a political statement, just a new song I’m digging BOOM