May 20, 2024

Coronavirus: 80% of companies changing travel plans

As the impact of coronavirus spreads globally, a poll from the GBTA has shown 80% of travel managers believe their colleagues will change their plans to avoid flying and making business trips.

The poll of nearly 250 members of the Global Business Travel Association revealed only 1% believe that it is ‘not at all likely’ that employees’ business travel plans will be affected.

Eight in ten travel managers also report that their senior leaders are either ‘very concerned’ (40%) or ‘somewhat concerned’ (40%) about the virus and its impact on business travel and employee safety.

Business travellers are also concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, with seven in ten travel managers saying their employees have expressed ‘a lot’ (27%) or ‘some’ (42%) concern about the disease’s spread.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Business Travel Association (BTA) said in a statement this week: “The outbreak of the coronavirus is of significant concern. The BTA is supporting its members in their communications and actions in delivering precautionary measures and support to protect their customers and travellers’ health and safety.

“We would advise our members and the business travellers they serve to regularly review the travel advice being provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.”

Up to 185 flights and 35,000 passengers could be affected by the suspension of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic services to China over the next month.

Peter Morris, Chief Economist at Ascend by Cirium, a flight data specialist, says: “Cirium data clearly shows the dramatic impact that coronavirus is having, with nearly 10,000 scheduled flights to, from and within China being suspended between January 23 and 28.

“While the industry is playing its part to help prevent the spread of the virus, the outbreak will inevitably cause significant disruption of schedules and travel patterns in the short and medium term.”