by Stephanie Faris
Though a block is in effect, last weekend’s highly publicized travel ban may affect an important source of income for airlines. Some companies unsure how this ban will affect their own travel plans will likely reduce overseas travel in the coming months. A survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives revealed that 36 percent of businesses would reduce their own employees’ travel “somewhat.” Only three percent said they would significantly reduce travel plans. Reasons they cited for travel cutbacks include fear of traveler harassment and uncertainty regarding Green Cards and visas.
To be clear, only twenty percent of companies responded to the survey. Thirty-nine percent of the 260 respondents stated the travel ban has the potential to reduce corporate travel.
Buffet is Bullish on Airlines
Despite the travel ban jitters, Warren Buffet has reversed his long-held position on Airlines. In November, securities filings showed that Berkshire Hathaway slashed its stake in Wal-Mart Stores and added positions to five major airlines. According to Barron’s that’s a sign the airline industry is finally addressing structural problems that Buffett called out for years. One reason Buffet is bullish on U.S. Airlines is reduced competition in the space. The number of major U.S. air carriers dropped from seven in 2000 to four in 2015.
Technology and Regulations May Soon Prevent Lost Planes
Planes lost at sea may be a thing of the past thanks to a combination of technology and new regulations. One change was a pilot reporting requirement, instituted by the International Civil Aviation Organization last year, which mandates that pilots must report their position every 15 minutes when they’re out of radar range. Planes manufactured after 2021 will also be required to transmit minute-by-minute location reports once they’re in distress. In addition to these regulations, a company called Aireon recently launched the first 10 of 66 satellites that will be able to track all airplanes equipped with current satellite surveillance technology.
Facetime, Periscope or Phone Calls from Planes? Sure!
As previously reported in Concourse, the FAA’s is considering allowing phone calls at 35,000 feet, just as long as passengers make those calls over Wi-Fi . Currently, airline passengers must turn off their cell phones while in flight, but new apps like a Cloud Sim App will get around that limitation, allowing device users to make and accept phone calls over the internet. The app also allows travelers to make calls overseas and add up to four separate numbers in what it calls profile-based calling.
Santa Monica Airport to Close
The Santa Monica Airport will soon begin its transition to a park, resolving years of efforts to close the facility. Area residents have long complained that the airport causes air and noise pollution, asking that it be shut down in favor of a recreational area for residents. The decision requires that the airport continue daily operations until Dec. 31, 2028.
Stephanie is an experienced editor and writer, working on projects that range from books to blogs. She covers such topics as addiction, law, real estate, SEO, and technology. She has experience in many different genres and types of written communication.