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Business Travel News: The Latest

Coronavirus to continue to impact tourism into 2021

The coronavirus has been the cause of major disruptions in global tourism, manufacturing, and imports. ING has estimated it will cost Asia $115bn in tourism alone.

 

Meanwhile, Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s Chief Executive Officer said he expects the impact of the coronavirus to last between six to twelve months. Predicting the cost to Hilton to range from $25 million to $50 million.

 

In the second week of February, 75% of travellers cancelled their February and March departures to Southeast Asia. Main drivers for this are not wishing to be 'close to the outbreak' or ‘getting stuck with cancelled flights if other hub became infected.’

 

It is assumed that the effects of the virus will take us through to 2021. The future of Southeast Asia’s tourism market is currently unknown. However, strong preparation for the future has begun. It is safe to assume once the Coronavirus reaches “recovery” status, there will still be uncertainty surrounding Southeast Asia as a travel destination, with tourism boards working hard to regain the trust of travellers.

Take a look at the Fit For Travel NHS website for information on the virus.

HS2: delayed and costing over £106bn

The Prime Minister has confirmed plans to build HS2, the high-speed rail link which will connect London to Birmingham. However, the project is faced with delays due to concerns over costs and route plans.

 

Set to carry over 1000 passengers per train, the Department for Transport, suggests the project will ‘triple the capacity of trains across the entire route’. The first phase of the railway, connecting London to Birmingham, was due to open in 2026. However, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that it could be between 2028-2031.

 

In the 2015 Budget, the price for HS2 came in at just under £56bn. However, according to an official review which was leaked to the Financial Times in January, HS2 is now expected to cost £106bn. Following this leak, it is suggested ‘management issues and unrealistic land valuations’ have been the causes of budget increases and delays to the project.

Extreme weather and the disruptions to UK travel

Storm Dennis has caused major disruptions to towns across the UK, including train and bus services. The Environment agency claims that over 400 homes and businesses across the country have flooded. Accountancy firm, PwC, estimate costs of up to £200m in insurance claims.

 

The Heart of Wales line between Shrewsberry and Llanelli was one of the lines closed due to weather damage.The Conway Valley Line was also affected, resulting in cancellations. At this stage, we recommend checking Transport for Wales services before travelling.

 

In London, there were cancellations between Gospel Oak and Barking, after damage to 4 kilometres of its track. In Scotland, disruptions are still underway between Kilmarnock and Dumfries.

 

Keep updated with the latest rail disruptions via National Rail Enquiries, and for the latest weather updates visit the Met Office website.

What sustainable aviation fuel means for air travel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is derived by refining organic or waste substances and it is set to create greener fuel for planes. BP suggest using SAF in aircrafts could see a reduction of up to 80% in CO2 emissions, compared to fossil jet fuel.

 

Zürich Airport explains that this new fuel costs 3-4 times more than traditional fuel, and is in short supply, meaning this isn’t a feasible option for many airlines.

 

The goal is in electric aviation travel. It is thought that short-range electric planes could enter the aviation market in this decade. Larger-range commercial plans will require liquid fuels, which means SAF will still be required.

 

Boeing’s McElroy suggests the industry are making progress, but puts no defining date on carbon neutral air travel. "Boeing and the industry have made significant progress reducing emissions, but we have more work to do. Each new generation of our airplanes is 15-25% more efficient than the previous one. Our long-term goal is to reduce emissions to zero."

Is the traditional plane model about to change?

Airbus have been trailing a new ‘blended wing body’ design that differs from the traditional ‘detached wing’ style. The ‘MAVERIC’ (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimental of Robust Innovative Control) boasts reduced aviation waste, up to 20% saving on fuel and increased cabin space. After 3 years in development, the Airbus completed a successful test flight in June 2019.

 

Adrien Bérard, joint head of the programme at Airbus, suggests “MAVERIC’s blended wing body configuration is a potential game-changer.”

 

Further testing will take place to see how it performs in various conditions. It is safe to assume that further testing is required before we see this design used across commercial flights.

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