Travel chaos: can your business stay safe?
If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you’ve probably heard of the chaos at European and American airports. Air travel appears to be back, but airports and airlines can’t keep up. After laying off thousands of workers during the pandemic (10,000 cabin crew for British Airways, 4,000 ground service agents at Frankfurt airport), rehiring them was not easy. British airline BA plans to rehire only a third of the 10,000 employees made redundant during the pandemic.
The shortage of labor explains the thousands of flights canceled from the largest European airports. None of the main hubs have been spared. The usual suspects – London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol – have all made headlines this month for the same reasons: canceled flights, abandoned luggage, hour-long security queues.
And the turbulence observed in airports is not about to subside. Airport executives predict normality will not return for a few months. The Dutch carrier KLM has just announced that until August 28, 10 to 20 return flights to European destinations will be canceled each day.
Meanwhile, ticket prices are silently rising. Britons in love with Spain saw their beloved Route London-Alicante price tripled since last year. Companies will also start to feel the effects. The intra-European fares in business class reserved to date for the months of July to September 2022 are 33% higher than in 2019. Transatlantic passengers in business class will have to pay 16% more in the third quarter of this year, compared to 2019. Maintaining reduced levels of business travel seems a particularly good – but also easy – way to reduce the costs.
The two main culprits for rising ticket prices are wage increases and soaring oil prices. The world’s leading airline trade association, IATA, said tight labor markets and skills shortages are contributing to upward pressure on wages. As a result, they expect a 7.9% increase in payroll in 2022, compared to last year.
The carbon-intensive aviation industry has also been hit hard by rising oil prices. IATA calculates that airlines will have to pay a total of $192 billion for fuel in 2022, about a quarter of overall costs, up from 19% last year. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said he expects oil prices, coupled with environmental burdens, to push up average ticket prices by at least minus 25%.
Business travelers may not always notice the price hike, but business travel managers certainly have. They will also deplore the turbulence at the airport. Canceled flights and airport delays are a headache for businesses and business travelers as productivity and time are lost unnecessarily. Cancellations leave travelers stranded, sometimes having to add extra days onto trips before they’re back in the office or home. The additional stress on the employee also accumulates.
The privileged few have paid and polluted to get by. Recent reports show that the use of private jets has exploded. During the pandemic, private jet users preferred this mode of travel to avoid airport security, crowds and COVID risks. More recently, the airport chaos explains the rise in private jet bookings.
But the environment cannot support such a luxury trip.Transport & Environment Finds that private jets are 5 to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger, emitting two tons of CO2 in a single hour.
The practice is proprietary and hyper-expensive, and favors the C suite over other employees. It highlights the huge disparities between the C-suite and the base. Reports show that in the United States, spending on private jets for executives hit a decade high last year. It increased by 35% for $33.8 million among S&P 500 groups in 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg standing out among the top spenders. The damage to the reputation of companies, and in particular of their leaders, and the exorbitant costs are unsustainable in the long term.
All of these factors add to aviation’s fundamental sustainability dilemma. Between 2005 and 2019, air traffic in Europe increased by 67%leading to an increase in its emissions at a time when they need to decrease – and emissions are expected to increase by a further 38% by 2050. Business travel is a major contributor to the problem as it accounts for around 30% of all travel in airplane in Europe.
The pandemic has seen the number of flights drop dramatically and we have learned how we could live and work better. With significantly fewer flights, companies continued to complete projects and maintain ties with customers and other business partners. So why stop now?
Surveys now show that employees are reluctant to return to their pre-pandemic business travel habits. In 2021, half of all respondents in a McKinsey study said they wanted to fly less after the pandemic.A 2022 survey shows that 73% of world trade travel buyers favor encouraging or requiring fewer trips.
As things stand, it seems that reducing business travel is a solution to many problems, including saving employees the chaos of airports. Fewer business flights and more remote meetings will also save companies money, protect employee well-being, reduce emissions and help Europe reduce its oil consumption. Russian. There are simply too many good reasons to stick with the lower levels of corporate theft seen during the pandemic. Large companies are already doing this, such as Lloyds Banking, which has committed to maintaining a 50% reduction in its travel-related emissions.
It’s never been easier to protect your business from airport havoc and a hefty corporate travel expense bill. It’s about taking a smarter approach to travel: making every meeting count by traveling less and achieving more. A new approach to targeted flight can only help companies weather current and future travel storms.