Good morning from Skift. It's Thursday, June 30 in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Delta CEO’s finger pointing, corporate travel’s blah feelings about sustainability, and a $20 billion greenwashing project in central Asia.
U.S. travelers have already endured a chaotic summer due to the massive number of flight disruptions, a problem that shows no signs of slowing down. But what’s causing the turmoil? Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian blames the Federal Aviation Administration for the chaos, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Bastian said in a webinar on Wednesday that problems pertaining to air traffic control, which is managed by the FAA, were the leading cause of flight disruptions in the U.S. Air traffic control-related flight cancellations are up close to 200 percent this year compared to 2021. Bastian called on the government to step up and tackle the problems causing widespread flight disruptions.
However, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier this week that air traffic control issues weren’t the driving force behind the wave of flight disruptions. Buttigieg called out, among other things, airlines for offering early retirement packages during the pandemic that have reduced staffing levels.
We head to Kyrgyzstan next. Officials in the Central Asian nation have unveiled plans for an ambitious $20 billion eco-city project, which environmental activists have condemned as being an egregious form of greenwashing, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Asman, the eco-city project, would — according to the president’s office — comply with the principles of a green economy, including using environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. The city would be designed for about 500,000 residents and be built over the next 10 years.
But the project has been blasted by environmentalists who argue that building a brand new city is, in no way, eco-friendly. In addition, experts have warned that Lake Issyk-Kul, where Asman would be located, is already an environmentally vulnerable area due to climate change and unregulated construction.
Finally, corporations have been increasingly vocal in recent years about the importance of sustainability. However, a new survey reveals that only 6 percent of corporate travel managers say their companies allow more spending on greener travel, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
More than 80 percent of corporate travel managers said in a survey by Uber for Business and the Global Business Travel Association that sustainability was at least somewhat important in their company’s travel program. But Parsons writes the biggest barrier to greener business travel is the higher costs it entails. Corporate travel managers have also had difficulty deciphering the increasing amounts of carbon emissions data they’ve received from agencies. Only a quarter of the 200 travel managers surveyed in the U.S. and Canada said their companies were considering allowing employees to spend more on greener travel.
Meanwhile, 29 percent of respondents said their company had raised its spending limit or per diem for meals.