Last week, the Global Business Travel Association announced another panel for the GBTA Convention 2015, July 25-29 in Orlando, Florida.
The session, «The Future of Airline Competition,» will be held on Monday, July 27, at 8:30 a.m. and will be moderated by Charisse Jones of USA Today. The panel is expected to include James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways; and Gary Kelly, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines.
In a statement, Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO, said that the panel will focus on how the “two distinctly different airlines” are striving to gain market share and what strategies they believe will enable them to be successful in this “increasingly competitive marketplace.”
The Cost of Flying
After years of steadily-rising airfare, the Associated Press is predicting that travelers can expect «a tiny bit of relief» on prices this summer. The average roundtrip U.S.-based domestic ticket this summer, including taxes, now stands at $454, down less than a percent from last summer. People traveling to Europe will fare better with the average ticket down 3 percent to $1,619, about $50 less than last summer.
On the other hand, the article notes that while flights to Hawaii, Florida and New Orleans are cheaper, travelers heading to New York, Denver and San Francisco can expect to pay more. For Europe, overall fares are down, but ticket prices are expected to rise for international travel to cities like Amsterdam; London; Budapest, Hungary; Lisbon, Portugal; Frankfurt, Germany or Reykjavik, Iceland.
Last month, the GBTA joined several traveler groups in support of Airlines for America’s opposition to the proposed near doubling of the Passenger Facility Charge – or Airport Tax – which would also increase automatically every year. “Some groups want to increase the PFC to $8 per boarding,» McCormick said at the time. «That, along with other taxes and fees, means that a business traveler could see an increase of $58.20 for a round trip ticket. Travelers don’t need to be the piggy bank. Beyond the investments made by airlines, airports have more than $11 billion in unrestricted cash and investments while bringing in more revenue every year – a record-high $24.5 billion in 2013. In addition, two-thirds of GBTA members surveyed have said they oppose a PFC increase.
The ever-changing airlift scene has a significant impact on business travel as new destinations open up and others become increasingly remote.
And sometimes those remote destinations become a bit easier to reach: Perhaps seeking to compete with Australian flag-carrier Qantas (which flies nonstop between Sydney and Dallas), Air New Zealand announced earlier this month that it will launch nonstop service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) starting in December this year.
At the same time, they can often get farther away as well: Hawaiian Airlines filed an application January 5 with the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin daily, non-stop service between Tokyo International Airport at Haneda (HND) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawaii Island. In March, the DOT denied the request, opting instead to review the public interest served by Delta’s Seattle-Tokyo route after Delta reduced its frequency from daily to seasonal, determining that should Delta’s planned service continue to fail, the Haneda slots will be assigned to American Airlines.
By: INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS REVIEW