Politics of Travel: Government travel, magic carpet rides and Nominate a Volunteer

April isNational Volunteer Month. Know that GBTA’s staff appreciate all you do. Over the years, I have come to expect a flurry of emails to arrive between 4-6 PM as you transition from your paying job to your volunteer job. I am always blown away by how much time and energy you put into making the Association and by extension the industry stronger. Thank you!

To that end, we are happy to re-introduce our Volunteer of the Month program globally. Join us in recognizing those who give so much of themselves, with this quick nomination form

MAGIC CARPET RIDE: GBTA continues its efforts to support efforts to decarbonize aviation. To do this, the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) must be increased. This week, GBTA sent this letter to members of the EU Parliament and the relevant EU member state counselors. This is a direct response Parliament’s amendment to a Commission’s proposal. In it we urged the MEPs to:

  • Support the establishment of a specific Sustainable Aviation Fund/Aviation Transition Fund to support the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels with contributions from the administrative fines from the blending obligation. (AM 14, AM 28, AM 29, AM 171, AM 331, AM 396)
  • Establish a labelling system for the environmental performance of aviation, such as the proposed World Economic Forum SAF certification, to provide transparent and harmonised information to consumers on the SAF uptake of air operators. (AM 9, AM 31, AM 168, AM 372)
  • Avoid undue market distortion from the SAF blending obligation between direct long-haul flights and indirect flights connecting via an airport hub outside the EU by allowing airlines to obtain free allowances for the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels under the ETS. (AM 12, AM 25, AM 170, AM 288)
  • Ensure the competitiveness of European hubs and avoid carbon leakage by collecting data of the amount of SAF supplied and purchased at third countries with which the EU has a European Air Services Agreement in place. (AM 30)

In the U.S., GBTA continues to push for the SAF Blenders Tax Credit. We were very pleased to see President Biden discuss support for the initiative.  

In Canada, our team is establishing critical relationships and partnerships to assist GBTA Canada’s sustainability efforts. The GBTA Canada Conference has informative programing on the subject. You can also expect exciting new announcements on Stage – see you at the Big Night In!

BACK IN THE OFFICE, BACK ON THE ROAD: Recent GBTA research further solidifies a position that GBTA raised with Congress back in September when GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee. Four in ten (41%) GBTA stakeholders say their company’s return to the office directly correlates to the return to business travel. Over half (55%) of respondents say their company has implemented a permanent back-to-office policy. 

GBTA is working with other industry groups to seek ways we can encourage our elected officials to lead by example, re-open government offices and kick start government travel. Click here to see more of the latest GBTA Business Travel Recovery Poll

“THOUGH THIS BE MADNESS, YET THERE IS METHOD IN IT” OR ALTERNATE HAMLET QUOTE – “TO MASK OR NOT TO MASK, THAT IS THE QUESTION”: in the U.S., earlier this week a federal judge declared the CDC did not have the authority to issue the existing public transit mask mandate and thus ending the mandate to wear masks on airplanes. At the CDC’s request, the Department of Justice is appealing this ruling to protect Americans’ health as well as the CDC’s authority. The CDC said in a statement on Wednesday that it believes its mask rule is “lawful” and “well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.” The White House stated “we want to preserve” the CDC’s authority to impose future public health mandates.

However, the DOJ could have requested a stay to immediately reinstate the policy. It did not. I believe the appeal is more about preserving the CDC’s authority. I also believe the genie is out of the bottle, the mandate will go away and it will be left to the individual to decide if they want to wear a mask or not.

WHEREFORE ART THOU TESTING REQUIREMENTS: It’s frustrating that lost in all this discussion of an annoyance is an actual barrier to travel – 24 Hour testing requirement for all travelers remains in place. To follow up on the last POT, I ask that you go and like and retweet Rep. Correa’s tweet on the letter that he and 16 bipartisan members of Congress sent on this issue.

For those in the U.S. please send this updated letter to your member of Congress. Tell all of your friends to do the same! End Inbound U.S. Testing  

I had the good fortune to be traveling from DCA to PHX this Tuesday morning. It was interesting to see almost everyone wearing a mask through security. However, people seemed to take them off as they sat at the gate. The plane ride out was 50 50. Leaving PHX, I saw significantly less people wearing masks in the airport or on the plane. I guess we will all now be our own Kings of the Road

P.S. tell your friends to sign up here