How the US 2020 election might change the travel industry

(CNN) — Airport enhancements, simpler entry to sure destinations, making aviation much less harmful ecologically — and a railroad revolution.
OK, the approach we travel is not precisely the burning query that can resolve the US election, however a second time period of Donald Trump’s presidency or the first time period of a Joe Biden administration might have radical variations in the industry’s growth — not simply in the United States, however globally, too.

Trump, famously, is the solely President to have owned an airline — Trump Shuttle. It related Boston Logan, New York LaGuardia and Ronald Reagan airport in Washington, DC, from 1989 to 1992.

Meanwhile, Biden has been a rail commuter for many years, and his much-noted bid to make the United States go greener may have implications for the aviation industry.

Neither has targeted on transportation throughout their marketing campaign. In the center of a pandemic, there are larger issues on which to pay attention. But with the travel industry decimated by Covid-19, the presidential response may decide whether or not the industry revives or is crushed past restore.

And that goes past holidays.

“One of the most important things about the travel industry is its huge impact on the economy,” says Tori Emerson Barnes, government vp of public affairs and coverage for the US Travel Association.

“It’s not quite as tangible as manufacturing, but any new or renewed administration needs to prioritize it, as it’s the hardest-hit industry. The travel industry has suffered almost 40% of job losses nationwide. Nearly four million travel jobs have been lost in the US since the pandemic, and if we don’t get a relief package by the end of December, we’ll lose another million. We need action quickly.”

So what are the two candidates providing, and the way do industry figures imagine every may change travel in the United States?

What the candidates say

Joe Biden has been a longstanding fan of trains. He commuted each day on Amtrak from Delaware to Washington when he was a US senator.

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Trump got here to energy in 2016 on a ticket promising infrastructure enhancements, having known as each a few of the nation’s airports and its rail system “Third World” while campaigning and once more as President. He has not launched any plans for travel or aviation in his 2020 marketing campaign, nonetheless, and the White House didn’t reply to an emailed request for data.
Meanwhile, Biden covers roads, rail and aviation in his “infrastructure” plan. His “clean energy” plan additionally touches on transport. There’s no clear timeline or value projections in his plans, nonetheless, and the Biden marketing campaign didn’t reply to emailed requests for remark both.
“There’s nothing very concrete in what the Biden-Harris campaign team has proposed,” says Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of travel industry analysis and advisory agency, Atmosphere Research. He additionally as soon as labored for Trump Shuttle.

“There’s nothing wrong with what they’ve said, but the challenges facing the US are numerous and aviation matters are not at the top of the list. That’s not what he’s campaigning on.”

Responding to the pandemic

For years, the US aviation industry has been in want of airport upgrades and infrastructure enhancements, however for Harteveldt, the solely factor that issues proper now for the industry is getting the pandemic underneath management.

“The travel industry is reliant on the public health environment being safe enough for people to feel comfortable about traveling,” he says.

“Will there be availability of accurate rapid-result Covid-19 tests that will reduce or eliminate the need for restrictions or quarantines on arrival? Will travelers feel confident enough to make a trip — especially an international trip — if they’re concerned about how their destination is managing the virus?

“If an American in Europe was planning to go house to the US for Thanksgiving, would they nonetheless wish to take that journey proper now?”

Brett Snyder, founder and writer of the airline industry weblog Cranky Flier, agrees.

“The travel industry wants two issues. First, it wants the Covid disaster to be managed higher, after which it wants borders to open. Those go hand in hand. So I believe the prospects of borders reopening sooner are prone to be higher with a President Biden,” he stated.

Experts agree a testing system needs to be in place for travel to take off again (pictured: Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport)

Experts agree a testing system must be in place for travel to take off once more (pictured: Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport)

Antonio Masiello/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

Snyder says the European Union, adopted by the United Kingdom, must be the priorities for opening borders.

“There’s a option to work on testing regimes, try to mitigate the disaster and dealing in the direction of reopening borders so folks can begin touring. We’ve put ourselves in a reasonably unhealthy place, however underneath a President Biden, I believe the much less adversarial method can be higher.”

Emerson Barnes reckons a Trump administration would concentrate on reciprocity when reopening borders, while a Biden one would be keen to repair international relations — but would ultimately be led by the science. “But if both president had been threat ranges, I do not understand how a lot distinction there’d be — if it is a high-risk nation, we would not allow them to in.”

There is praise for the Trump administration in the emergency money they have given to the travel industry so far, however.

“I wish to give them credit score for his or her concentrate on the payroll assist plan for airways and airports as a part of the CARES Act,” says Harteveldt, who also praises Trump for supporting US airlines in an “open skies” disagreement with Middle Eastern airlines dating back to 2015.

Emerson Barnes says that the CARES Act money was assigned when “Congress thought this could be a a lot shorter timeframe, we would have a shutdown after which all the pieces would reopen and we would be OK. We want them to react shortly.”

Her priorities are getting more money for the industry, reopening inbound travel and a stimulus package to get people traveling — with tax breaks.

Border lines

President Trump's travel ban on numerous Muslim-majority countries in 2017 made headlines.

President Trump’s travel ban on quite a few Muslim-majority international locations in 2017 made headlines.


Harteveldt sees one other potential border-related change underneath a Biden presidency.

“It’s unlikely to occur underneath a Trump administration, however US airways would very very similar to an ‘open sky’ settlement with China” — where governments give airlines from both sides unlimited rights to fly between the two — says Harteveldt.

For passengers, this could end up reducing fares by increasing capacity, and it could open up routes from regional airports to China’s major cities. For the airlines, it would open up cargo capacity — particularly crucial at a time when passenger numbers are at a historic low.

“If a Biden administration had a extra cooperative view, perhaps we would see the framework for an settlement created inside 4 years,” Harteveldt reckons. Snyder isn’t so sure, however, citing Biden’s potential concern about human rights violations in China.

“He hasn’t achieved something that is essentially dangerous directed at aviation itself, however a few of his insurance policies have made travel tough, beginning with the ban on folks coming from Muslim-majority international locations, and making it harder to get visas to come back to the US,” says Harteveldt.

Emerson Barnes agrees: “I believe that, Covid apart, the visa-processing points and guests’ capacity to get into the US would positively be simpler underneath a Biden administration,” she says.

Infrastructure revamps

JFK (pictured), Newark and LaGuardia airports have been called 'Third World' by Donald Trump.

JFK (pictured), Newark and LaGuardia airports have been known as ‘Third World’ by Donald Trump.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Aside from the pandemic, each Harteveldt and Snyder agree that aviation infrastructure must be improved — and quick.

After all, both candidates have called US airports “Third World.” Trump singled out New York’s LaGuardia, Newark and JFK, while campaigning in September 2016 and repeated it in the first half of his presidency, whereas then-Vice President Biden had made the same remark about LaGuardia in 2014, in a speech calling for infrastructure enchancment.

“When demand is again to regular, the actual bottleneck can be airport infrastructure,” says Snyder. “Before Covid, the largest airports had been very congested, and airways eager to serve them could not get in.”

Trump hasn’t released any plans for airports, and while Snyder says the President has “indicated he is a fan of infrastructure, he hasn’t achieved something about it.”

President Trump proposed privatizing air traffic control operations as a solution for lagging technology. This is the first of several infrastructure initiatives the White House is planning.

Trump did make an attempt to privatize the air traffic control system in 2017, but it was rebuffed by Congress the following year. And in January 2018, he took credit in a tweet for the lack of aviation-related deaths in 2017. Both Harteveldt and Snyder dismiss this claim.
But they also say that Biden’s plans listed by his campaign — to “make our airports the finest in the world” by doubling funding for the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program and backing the ongoing NextGen technology system — don’t mean much by themselves.

“Either president would wish to concentrate on airport infrastructure,” says Harteveldt. “Lots have rebuilt terminals, nevertheless it’s the runways and taxiways that want restore. LaGuardia Airport is having its terminal rebuilt, however the runway configuration hasn’t modified. JFK, LAX, SFO — all of them want further runway capability. All it means is that you simply stroll by a beautiful [new] terminal to then sit in a line of two dozen airplanes ready to take off.”

Emerson Barnes reckons that a Biden win might also mean a narrow victory for the Democrats in the Senate, now controlled by Republicans. Coupled with Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives, “you get more cash on infrastructure — extra {dollars} for infrastructure and extra assist for giant initiatives — that will be optimistic,” she says.

“Under Trump, you’d nonetheless get infrastructure, however I simply do not suppose it might be as large.”

Making aviation less destructive

Biden’s plans mention green technology in aviation as part of a plan to invest $400 billion in clean energy research over a decade. He talks of making planes more fuel efficient, but as Harteveldt notes, “the industry has already begun that” — albeit not at a pace that is providing breakthroughs in the time that is needed as the climate crisis worsens.

But both Harteveldt and Snyder agree that a Biden presidency would focus on “greening” the industry. What’s up for debate is how he’d do it.

“If he adopted the UK and launched an APD [air passenger duty, a tax levied on passengers flying out of the UK] and tried to limit issues as an alternative of encouraging the growth of inexperienced know-how, and investing in analysis and growth, I believe it could most likely not succeed. But if the focus goes onto working with Boeing, Airbus and anybody else in creating inexperienced know-how and offering funding if essential, that might be a useful path ahead,” says Snyder.

A rail revolution?

Joe Biden wants to revolutionize the rail system in the United States, which is decades behind extenstive, high-speed systems in much of Europe and parts of Asia.

Joe Biden desires to revolutionize the rail system in the United States, which is many years behind extenstive, high-speed programs in a lot of Europe and elements of Asia.


Biden’s plans embrace a piece on rail travel, by which he vows to make America’s rail system “the cleanest, most secure and quickest in the world.” Given that the network remains pretty much unchanged since 1971, that’s a bold proposal.

And although it couldn’t be achievable in a two-term presidency, let alone one, Jim Mathews — president and CEO of the Rail Passengers Association — thinks that Biden’s ambition is “doable.”

Their plan for Amtrak is to connect “megaregions” across the US — connected suburban areas, such as the Northeast Corridor, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes area — by 2050.

Many of the places that would benefit from new connectivity are cities which have seen their air connections decline in recent years, such as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Memphis, Tennessee. And the Rail Passengers Association says they have evidence to show that investment in rail pays off in terms of the economy for the communities involved.

Althought Trump has not released plans for transportation in this election cycle, over the past four years he hasn’t exactly seemed rail-friendly.

“President Trump campaigned [in 2016] on bringing high-speed rail to the US however has achieved nothing to realize that,” says Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of Policy + Government Affairs at the Rail Passengers Association.

A positive future

However, there is bipartisan support for railway improvements, say the pair — which means that if Trump made good on his 2016 promises, or if Biden went ahead with his plans, it’s likely they would go ahead.

“Every single 12 months the Trump administration has proposed a price range that will zero out, or very badly curtail, long-distance practice service,” says Mathews. “And yearly, the House and Senate has put the a refund. There’s assist coalescing each on left and proper.”

The Biden plans talk about increasing electrification in the railway system, which is not solely environment-focused; it’s also an initial step in preparing a high-speed rail network.

Nobody could build a high-speed rail network, or connect those megaregions in four or eight years, but Mathews says there are things already underway that “might be sped up” — such as electrification in the railway system or improving the Northeast Corridor. “Things may transfer in a short time in locations,” he says.

“Loads of us are responsible of zeroing in on the shiny object,” he says. “Sure, TGV [France’s high-speed rail network] can be cool nevertheless it’s not essential to see dramatic enhancements. With focused funding throughout the community in rails, ballast, straightening curves or putting in new signaling, you may get common speeds of as much as 79 mph. At the second there are locations the place the common is 25 mph.”

The aviation experts agree. Harteveldt thinks a Biden presidency “could discover creating a extra complete transport coverage.”

Big brother technology

Global Entry might use extra biometrics underneath a Trump administration.

Global Entry might use more biometrics under a Trump administration.

Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Emerson Barnes thinks there’s one other thing that distinguishes the two candidates — something that’s not in either manifesto. Biometrics.

Frequent travelers enrolled on the Global Entry program generally have their passport and fingerprint checked on entering the country, but 15 airports use facial biometrics instead — and in January, it was announced that this would be rolled out across the country.

She thinks it could go even further, being used at TSA lines and potentially as part of a Covid-free travel app to get the world moving again.

“I’m hopeful that one [positive] of Covid can be to advance our use of biometrics as a result of folks will need touchless options,” she says.

“But I believe a Trump administration would go additional. There’s extra concern round privateness from Democrats.”

Traveling diplomacy

So although travel may not be at the top of the agenda for the politicians, there’s still much to play for, whoever wins the election.

But in the meantime, they’re sure of one thing: The industry needs support.

“It even goes past the economics — it is about diplomacy,” says Emerson Barnes. “[Travel’s] capacity to assist bridge between international locations and folks is actually vital.”

Source link

About The Author