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Firms Will Not Significantly Reduce Business Travel

January 5, 2010 By: George Dooley

There’s hope! A survey of more than 150 travel managers by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA)— the association for business travel professionals— shows that the December 25, 2009 attempted bombing of an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight is likely to have little impact on business travel levels. Eighty-one percent of respondents said their companies would not reduce travel as a result of the attack.

The number of respondents reporting the attempted attack raised new concerns about the safety of air travel (43 percent) was nearly equal to the percentage reporting no new concerns resulting from the incident (42 percent). Two percent of respondents said they would reduce international travel after the attempted attac; zero said they would reduce domestic travel; and 16 percent said they are still assessing.

Asked if the new security directives implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on January 4  raise a new level of concern about the convenience or comfort of air travel, 48 percent of survey respondents said no and 36 percent said yes.

"The survey results are right in line with what we've seen in the past with attempted attacks and changes in security protocols. These incidents prompt a lot of important discussion and analysis, but don't significantly alter corporate travel patterns, because travel is the lifeblood of so many businesses. The primary actions travel managers are taking right now are engaging in discussions with top-level management and communicating with their companies' travelers," NBTA president and CEO, Craig Banikowski said.

NBTA Executive Director & COO, Michael W. McCormick added, “NBTA encourages governments and airports to strike the proper balance of safety and efficiency in these new regulations and future policy changes. On behalf of business travelers around the world, we plan to monitor the outcome of these new regulations, seeking feedback from the business travel community on convenience and safety. We are also hopeful that in addition to physical screening enhancements, the United States will work more closely with international bodies to address watch list procedures and risk management programs that should serve as tools to help improve the aviation security system.”

The 152 survey respondents were from among NBTA's travel manager membership. The average NBTA member travel manager oversees a corporate travel budgets averaging more than $16 million.


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