Coronavirus lockdowns and the grand work-from-home experiment killed the business travel industry — and, just like everything else, it's not going back to normal anytime soon, if at all.
Why it matters: Traveling for work is a USD 1.5 trillion industry that encompasses transportation, hospitality and much more, and this moratorium is threatening countless firms and jobs.
"There is no doubt that COVID-19 has a devastating impact on global business travel, with business travel almost grounding to a halt overnight," says Dave Hilfman, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, a trade group with around 9,000 members, including many airlines, hotels, ride-sharing and rental car companies.
Since March, the industry has lost around USD 518 billion, the group estimates.
By the numbers: American professionals took more than 464 million business trips in 2019.
Business travelers make up around 10% of airline passengers across the major global carriers, but they account for 55%–75% of revenue, because they're typically more willing to spend big on last-minute tickets or book premium seats, reports the New York Times' Jane Levere.
Experts tell the Times that business flights won't be back to normal for a few years or longer.
Michael Derchin, an airline analyst, described the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on carriers as “Sept. 11 and the Great
There are glimmers of hope. "For the first time since the start of the pandemic, we are now starting to see some positive signs of recovery," Hilfman says. He tells Axios that his trade group's members are reporting upticks in bookings in the last few weeks.
But even as travel slowly comes back, business travel looks like it'll be the last to recover.
Read original article