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Aviation for all: The democratisation of air travel in the US

Drew Crawley, Chief Commercial Officer of American Express Global Business Travel, highlights key issues on getting business travel to take-off. He begins with a positive message – that America ushered in “aviation for all”, a means to provide millions of people to fly across the nation. Indeed, developments in airport technology and a competition charged by the digital revolution have halved the average cost of an airline ticket. 

However, COVID-19 threatens the fabric of this beautiful mission. Causing the airline costs to rise and diminishing route networks, airlines are increasingly facing pressure to meet customer demands. Drew stressed that by reviving business travel, the system that allows cheaper airline fares can function better and preserve connectivity. Governments in Singapore, China, and New Zealand have taken steps to enable business travel channels as well as easing restrictions. He ended on a high note – that “aviation for all” can begin its return once things return to normal.

European nations brace for winter lockdown

France, Germany and England have ordered a second lockdown in a bid to fight the second wave of COVID-19. According to the French president, the acceleration of the virus has puzzled predictions and analysis. Germany proceeded to shut bars, restaurants, and theatres from 2nd – 30th November, but schools stay open. 

London Heathrow witnessed a staggering number of airport traffic, presumably the majority of passengers looking to get away from the UK’s announced second lockdown on the 5th of November. Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have taken the initiative to allow passengers to change their flights to another date without incurring booking fees.

GBTA’s ambitious campaign to re-boost business travel

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has recently launched a campaign to raise public awareness on the importance of business travel to the global economy. “Ready. Safe. Travel.” aims to convene GBTA’s 9000 members and industry leaders to advocate and educate how vital the multi-trillion industry is to the job market and overall travel currency.

“As the largest association representing business travel, we are telling the story of how critical the industry is globally, in terms of revenue, jobs, and commerce, and leading the efforts to get business travel back on the path to recovery, safely and when the time is right.”

Dave Hilfman, Interim Executive Director of GBTA

Their three-part campaign focuses on:

  • Ready. – Encouraging government leaders to manage COVID-19 safety and resources to roll out the travel industry and save jobs. 
  • Safe. – Providing member training to ensure a safe return to travel.
  • Travel. – Highlighting the value of business travel to the world economy.

Saudi businesses switch to digital travel bookings

Due to the impact of the pandemic, Saudi business and corporate travel agencies are digitizing their booking platform. Seera Group, the largest travel agency in MENA region, launched a new platform called “elaa 3.0”, which features seamless booking modifications and real-time display of travel policy updates.

Abdulrahman Mutrib, Seera’s Executive Vice President and Global Technology Officer, remarked that faith in the corporate travel business is strong and Seera is exploring new avenues and investing in technology to meet new client demands. He also added that another barrier to restarting business travel is the divergence of governmental responses:

“Every single country has responded to this crisis differently. Other Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) and the wider Middle East and North Africa region have more relaxed rules when it comes to international travel. Airlines like Etihad and Emirates restarted as early as June”

Israel gradually reopens domestic and business tourism

The Israel Ministry of Tourism has designated the resort city of Eilat and the hotels area of Ein Bokek-Hamei Zohar at the Dead Sea as ‘green tourism islands’. Tourists travelling to green zones will need to present their up-to-date proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from the virus.

The Knesset Legislative Committee discussed on the 2nd November about the logistics of proving your COVID-19-free status. They agreed that if the COVID-19 rates are low, they will pass a bill which permits the reopening of Eilat and the Dead Sea. In parallel, the country is also opening business travel channels to foreign nationals under specified conditions. Foreign business travellers will be required to submit a travel request to enter Israel for business purposes, provided that their work will contribute to the nation’s economy. 

Explore ROLZO’s curated selection of airport transfers at Tel Aviv.

Should you have any question about an upcoming trip or need support on travel, please contact our dedicated team who will be able to advise you. Our team is working daily with experts and local authorities to ensure that you reach your destination quickly and safely.

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