The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) hosted its 16th annual Legislative Summit last week. Over 130 GBTA members representing 23 states attended, calling on lawmakers to pass a five-year FAA Bill ensuring a long-term plan for the future of aviation and to ensure the entire 9-11 Aviation Security Fee is used for airport security and passenger facilitation.
Key Issues GBTA Members Discussed with Congress:
- Business Travel as an Economic Driver: Congress should understand business travel’s important to the overall economy, given the industry contributes roughly 3 percent of U.S. GDP, equivalent to the automotive industry.
- Pass the FAA Bill: Congress needs to pass this bipartisan bill now and not pass another extension. The final bill should maintain a 5-year authorization, it should maintain its no cell phones on planes language and should continue to reject efforts to increase the passenger facility charge.
- Keep the 9-11 Security Fee for Security: As part of the last two budget deals, Congress voted to funnel part of this fee to go towards federal deficit reduction. GBTA members are asking members of Congress to co-sponsor the FASTER Act to support using the entire fee for airport security and passenger facilitation to keep air travel safe.
“There is no question that business travel is critical to our economy – every 1 percent increase in business travel spending creates an additional 74,000 jobs, nearly $5.5 billion in GDP and $3.3 billion in wages,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “We need lawmakers to adopt policies that support our business travelers and help our industry grow. I’m pleased to see so many members flying in to D.C. to advocate for our industry and share their stories with their elected representatives.”
The Legislative Summit kicked off with a full day of discussions with top lawmakers, industry insiders and political strategists on key travel issues. Former Reps. Al Wynn (D-MD) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) led a discussion on navigating the partisan divide in today’s politics. Anthony Bedell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) discussed the DOT’s current priorities, planned investments in infrastructure and the not-so-distant future featuring autonomous vehicles and drones.
GBTA also honored Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) with the GBTA Navigator Award for their efforts as strong champions for business travelers and the business travel industry. Each also gave remarks during the Summit.
Rep. Graves reviewed the House’s current priorities and upcoming legislation and spoke extensively on the misuse of car rental taxes. Rep. Katko discussed transportation security, airport screening, funding for CT scanners and the drawbacks of managed inclusion in PreCheck. Sen. Markey discussed air travel and the initiative to keep in-flight calls off planes. Rep. Watson Coleman spoke on the importance of safe and secure travel and discussed not having those funds diverted from the 9-11 security fee.
GBTA first introduced the bi-annual Navigator Award in 2016 for members of the 114th Congress championing business travel. The award was driven by the creation of GBTA’s Rules of the Road – a declaration of travel reform to guide industry, business leaders and policy makers in creating a travel ecosystem that fosters growth, jobs, safety and efficiency around the globe.
Through the GBTA Legislative Summit, business travel professionals from across the country have an opportunity to advocate for the future of the business travel industry and meet with lawmakers to share their opinions on key industry issues. This two-day event included 135 visits with Senators and Members of Congress.
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