Politics of Travel: Digitalization, Legislation and Activation

Welcome to the dog days of summer. I always get nostalgic around my birthday, so as a kid raised around TV, I have included fun clicks that are moments in time. Plus, you get a whole lot of GBTA industry news and a little bit of commentary.

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: A key pillar of GBTA’s global advocacy positions is improved passenger movement across borders. To further global improvements, GBTA commented on the European Commission’s initiative to digitalise travel documents in an effort to advance security and ease of movement. GBTA’s key priorities, include;

  • seamless cross-border travel and passenger clearance,
  • robust data privacy,
  • and standards that support interoperable digital systems for all travellers.

GBTA consulted with the European Advisory Board and committees to craft positions for the EU Consultation to ensure the positions reflected the needs and market experience of the European traveller.

GBTA will continue to push for these considerations in Europe and on a global level to ensure these standard are entrenched as the utilization of digital travel documents grow. Read the Position Paper submitted to the European Commission here.

For our readers in Europe, be on the lookout for the EU Advocacy Newsletter that will be hitting your inboxes soon, I just don’t have enough space to highlight the many issues GBTA has been active on.
GREAT AIRPORT STRIKE: U.S. air travel was hit in late June with cancellations and delays. Over this time, about 20% of flights were delayed (a high not seen since 2014) and 4% were canceled completely. For context, 87% of flights arrived on time during the same period last year, and less than 2% of flights were canceled. As we as frequent travelers know, this wreaks havoc on business and leisure travelers.

Ready for takeoff or Stuck on a runway: The U.S. Congress is currently debating legislation to improve the nation’s air traffic control system. Attendees of the U.S. Legislative Summit descended on Capitol Hill with a message to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization before it expires on September 30.

GBTA urges Congress to pass a long-term FAA reauthorization that does the following:

  • Upgrades critical FAA systems to improve safety and efficiency for the national airspace, saving passengers time and money, and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Requires studies to better understand and improve accessibility and the overall air travel
  • experience for passengers with disabilities.
  • Makes necessary workforce investments and creates a long-term talent pipeline for the FAA and aviation industry.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the legislation the week of July 17. As of this writing, the Senate may have reached an agreement on the issue of pilot training and may vote in the next 2 weeks.

REQUEST FOR ACTION: We need U.S. readers to re-enforce the Legislative Summit attendees message to Congress  The help is needed, as it is my opinion that political theatre on other Congressional debates, completely unrelated to travel, will gum up the legislative timing and will park the votes on the FAA Reauthorization until late fall. Members of Congress need to hear from you with a request to quickly pass the FAA Authorization bill.

EVERYWHERE: Canada Day came early with three announcements the week of June 30th.

  1. Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced $30M in funding for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance facility at Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto.
    • Preclearance will also open up new markets to the US, as travelers can now access smaller US airports that do not currently have U.S. CBP, and therefore cannot accept travelers that have not been precleared.
  2. Furthering the conversation of removing the friction of travel, we were also pleased to see the government announce a planned pilot program for dedicated verified traveler lines in Ottawa and Halifax.
  3. And to round out the awesomeness, the government announced $350M to support the green transformation of the aerospace industry that will provide the foundation for a sustainable business travel industry.

GBTA ELECTIONS: I am a contrarian and have long chaffed at the blind “just vote” campaigns that fill the airwaves. I believe you need to educate your self on the issues and candidates. I encourage you to view the 12 candidates running for the 5 open seats on the GBTA Board. Do it soon, because voting opens July 19.

In closing, yes the Great Airplane Strike song is a go to for me. It is business travel, its catchy and Paul Revere and the Raiders was my life soundtrack in Kindergarten. See you in Dallas and say howdy!