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Comment on British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group Q1 results from American Express Global Business Travel’s Chief Commercial Officer, Drew Crawley:

06 May 2022

“These results cover a quarter in which governments began to dismantle the restrictions imposed on cross-border travel. Businesses were quick to respond in going international again.

This matters. It is corporate travellers – making the trips which power trade, investment and global commerce – who underpin the airline model and allow them to offer ‘aviation for all’ with fares and route networks that have made international travel widely accessible, be that for business or pleasure.

The airline industry has battled against headwinds and undoubtedly faces challenges in the coming months – but global business confidence is returning as borders have re-opened, and we are starting to see corporate travellers make the journeys required for our economies to recover from the shock of the pandemic.”

Key data points:

  • Industry data points demonstrate the return of business travel:
    • International travel has jumped, with 74% reporting in April that their company now allows it (up 26 percentage points from GBTA’s February 2022 poll)
    • Companies continue to resume international business travel, with only 45% saying they have canceled or suspended most or all international business trips (27 points less than the 71% in February)
    • Companies reporting they at least sometimes allow non-essential domestic business travel has increased to 86% (up from 73% from GBTA’s February poll)
    • International travel likely to return to pre-pandemic levels by next year (WTTC Oxford Economics forecast).

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  • Amex GBT data points evidence the acceleration of corporate travel recovery:
    • Across six different expert predictions on the return of business travel, the consensus is ~90-100% recovery at the end of 2023; +10pts versus previous expectations
    • Recent booking trends show strong progress, transactions have increased 300% since mid-January, reaching 61% of 2019 levels for the week ending 2 April 2022, and we see headroom for continued growth
    • As of week of 26 March, SME up 13ppt above GMN.
  • If governments continue to open up and remove travel restrictions, travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP could be $8.6 trillion in 2022, close to 2019’s $9.2tn.
    • The travel and tourism sector could create 58 million jobs this year, nearly restoring pre-pandemic levels (of more than 330 million jobs)
    • The pandemic inflicted a $4.5tn hit on travel and tourism, equivalent to a drop of nearly 50% in the sector’s contribution to world GDP.
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