Terror Plot's Implications for Corporate Business Travel and Security

Aug. 10, 2006
Business Travel Coalition forecasts security changes, new procedures in business travel

The Business Travel Coalition, a loosely affiliated group working for the needs of business travelers, released its assessment this morning of what the foiled UK-to-US aircraft terror plot will mean for business travelers. Relevant to corporate security, notes the group is the ability to know where traveling employees are, and not solely when they're overseas. The group also forecasts a spike of interest in the Registered traveler program and increased support for more funding or staffing levels for the TSA.

The coalition's "10 implications" are reprinted below:

1. This development will reinforce for corporations the importance of knowing at all times where their travelers are. This has become a travel management best practice for global corporations. The Air Canada Tango controversy and U.S. travel distribution reform both point to the threat of content fragmentation and the implied consequence of travelers booking flights outside their corporation's managed travel program at "airline.com" wherein information regarding their whereabouts is lost.

2. Foreign flag carriers will likely see an immediate boost in traffic, as U.S. carriers were the apparent targets.

3. A considerable amount of business travel to the UK will be cancelled for today, and the rest of the week due to security concerns as well as airport hassles.

4. Business travel to the UK will likely remain off if corporations and travelers are not confident that the threat has been eradicated.

5. Business travel demand will likely be dampened, at least somewhat, if additional security measures are perceived to be truly onerous. This has implications for domestic U.S. travel as well as U.S.-to-UK travel.

6. A falloff in business travel demand could blunt the upward pressure on U.S.-to-UK Business Class fare levels, which have been very strong this year.

7. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and some Members of Congress, will likely use this opportunity to argue for the removal of the cap on the number of airport screeners.

8. Registered Traveler program (RT) detractors will likely seize on this opportunity to argue airport security is serious business, and as such, resources, including TSA management time and attention, should not be diverted for the benefit of a small segment of the flying public. RT proponents will look at new levels of airport hassles and delays and argue the development only underscores the importance of the RT program.

9. New momentum will likely build behind Secure Flight. Some will argue (per the above point) that TSA resources devoted to RT should be immediately redirected to Secure Flight.

10. Fractional jet and corporate flight department options will receive greater interest from corporate security executives and senior management for security and executive productivity reasons.

The BTC is online at www.businesstravelcoalition.com.