The business travel sector received a small boost this week after the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecast business travel spending would increase 21% to $842 billion this year. GBTA’s prediction was largely based on the successful global rollout of COVID vaccines. However, it expects business travel spending will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.
Elsewhere, Fiumicino Airport in Rome is looking to expand its quarantine-free flight programme to more routes. Currently, passengers travelling to the airport on Delta and Alitalia flights from Atlanta and New York JFK can skip quarantine – provided they produce negative COVID tests before and after they land.
In the UK, the government has launched a multimillion-pound support package for airports this week. The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will enable commercial airports and ground handlers to apply for up to £8 million of financial support. However, Heathrow Airport boss John Holland-Kaye has labelled the relief “wholly inadequate and discriminatory”, adding this will cover less than a month of Heathrow’s business rates bill.
In airline news, Korean Air has become the latest carrier to launch flights to nowhere, with the Korean Herald reporting these will likely be routed over neighbouring Japan. Emirates and American Airlines have also updated their technological capabilities – the former has made its self check-in facilities fully touchless, while the latter has expanded its VeriFLY mobile health wallet to more US airports.
Of all the people currently unable to travel on holiday, Singaporeans and Italians have been the hardest hit according to a poll by Expedia. The survey found 71% of respondents in both Singapore and Italy were either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ deprived of a vacation, closely followed by South Korea and France at 70%.
And finally, a man too afraid to fly due to the pandemic was found to have been living undetected at O’Hare International Airport for three months. US prosecutors revealed how Aditya Singh had arrived at the airport on a flight from Los Angeles on 19th October, but claimed he was “scared to go home due to COVID”. Singh was only discovered when questioned by airline staff, who found him holding an operations manager badge that had been reported missing in October.