The week began with the tragic news of the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday that killed more than 3,700. Buying Business Travel reported that the Foreign Commonwealth Office warned against all but essential travel to the region. Our hearts go out to all impacted by this tragedy.
According to Aviation Pros, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a significant NextGen milestone with the completion of En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), a highly advanced computer system used by air traffic controllers to safely manage high-altitude traffic. This is a major step forward for NextGen implementation and the modernizing of the U.S. air traffic control system.
USA Today reported on first quarter earnings for the big U.S. carriers saying airline profits are soaring into the stratosphere and lower oil prices are likely the major contributing factor. Hugo Martin of the LA Times also reported on the record airline profits writing that the 2014 average domestic airfare – $391 – is this highest since 1995. Adjusted for inflation, however, the average fare is down 16 percent from the high of $467 in 2000, according to the federal agency, he wrote.
Fox News reported that tourism took a hit due to the riots in Baltimore writing that it’s too early to know the economic toll the unrest will have on the city’s growing tourism industry, but some have suggested it could be in the millions.
Politico reported in their Morning Transportation on the star lawmaker lineup coming to GBTA’s Legislative Symposium this week that included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Reps. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), John Katko (R-NY) and Sam Graves (R-MO). The Symposium saw GBTA members call on lawmakers to advance issues important to the business travel industry. GBTA was especially pleased to see Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), John Katko (R-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduce a bill that would end managed inclusion for PreCheck in the wake of this event.
GBTA also found itself making news for announcing Star Alliance as a Gold Partner in its Gift of Knowledge Initiative to deliver business travel education to China.
In a local Arizona story, Phoenix Business Journal’s Brandon Brown spoke with GBTA’s Mike McCormick this week to learn how growth in business travel is driving Arizona tourism. “Travel is an investment, not an expense,” McCormick said.
USA Today reported that Chicago O’Hare International Airport has become the fourth facility in the United States to offer travelers access to the Mobile Passport Control app, which speeds the return of U.S. citizens back into the country.
In announcing changes to its frequent flier program, Delta says they are focusing on rewarding their highest-spending passengers, according to AJC.com. Find out how luxury hotels decide if you deserve a perk in this Wall Street Journal article that says hotel amenities are undergoing a transformation.
Hotel Marketing reports on rate parity saying it is under challenge and most industry observers believe it will soon either loosen up or disappear entirely. In other hotel news, Travel Daily News reports that over half of the world’s hotels are now branded properties.
Check back every Friday for a round-up of the latest news in business travel!