The Politics of Travel, the return of it all and Cars

The smell of fall is in the air as Washington DC is experiencing its first “sweatshirt/fleece” day. GBTA staff, after a LATE August Convention, are rested, recovered, working on the November GBTA VDR Europe Conference and FIRST EVER Race to Net Zero Sustainability Summit, as well as the December PATA GBTA APAC event in Bangkok. All this and an eye on 2023 and the “Many Voices, One Purpose” promise of GBTA.

TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE: Canada’s government has announced it is dropping all COVID-19 border restrictions for anyone entering Canada, including: proof of COVID-19 vaccination, quarantine and isolation requirements as well as all pre- or on-arrival COVID-19 testing.

Canada is also making the ArriveCan application optional and is lifting the mask mandate and health check requirements for travelers on planes and trains. Last week, the PM Justin Trudeau had signaled he would support these actions. This morning the news became official.

GBTA has been pushing for the end of random testing requirements and a relook at the ArriveCan app since early summer when the random testing requirement for vaccinated travelers was reinstated. GBTA re-emphasized this message in meetings and with the filing of comments on the Canada Federal Tourism Strategy.

CARS: The EU continues its work on the Count Emissions actions. As you know this initiative sets out a common framework to calculate and report transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.

GBTA strongly supports the creation of an EU framework for harmonized measurement of emissions from all modes of transport – including rail, road and air – in order to increase transparency and help promote the uptake of low-carbon business travel. GBTA is currently drafting a position paper in conjunction with our leaders and members to submit to the process. Additionally, GBTA leaders and staff will participate in interviews with EU consultants to further this message.

DE-CARBONIZING AIR TRAVEL: As we were leaving for San Diego to start the amazing 2022 GBTA Convention, the U.S. Congress passed, and the President signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act. This law contains the initiative the attendees of the U.S. Legislative Summit called for in their meetings with their members of Congress, a provision that raises the existing $1 blender’s tax credit for SAF by 25 to 75 cents per gallon — an incentive aimed at encouraging more use and production. The sliding-scale credit is linked to the level of emissions per gallon versus conventional jet fuel — the fewer emissions, the higher the credit.

This past week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal government agencies announced new plans for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge. This new roadmap lays out six action areas spanning all activities with the potential to impact the SAF Grand Challenge objectives of (1) expanding SAF supply and end use, (2) reducing the cost of SAF, and (3) enhancing the sustainability of SAF:

  1. Feedstock Innovation
  2. Conversion Technology Innovation
  3. Building Supply Chains
  4. Policy and Valuation Analysis
  5. Enabling End Use
  6. Communicating Progress and Building Support.

GBTA was very pleased with this announcement. We believe we are well situated to play an active role as a demand and finance aggregator for SAF, considering the critical role corporate users of air travel play in supporting the scaling of SAF as their main solution to reduce their scope 3 emissions from business travel.

UNTIL NEXT TIME: COVID travel disruptions are shifting to the rearview mirror, seasons are changing, outlooks and perceptions are shifting, elections are happening. It feels like the future is open to what we as an industry want to make it be! GBTA is participating in several regulatory proposals around the globe. Continue to be a part of the debate that will shape government policies by responding to our inquires and helping to push a business travel industry that travels smartly, safely, efficiently and is open to all.