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May 20, 2009
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News for government travel professionals

  Government Travel Update 
  • FAA nominee Babbitt testifies on NextGen, safety issues
    The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote today on Randolph Babbitt, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Federal Aviation Administration. In confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Babbitt stressed the need for a strategic rollout of the NextGen air traffic control system, starting with congested areas "where we would gain the biggest advantage in terms of reducing delays." The former president of the Air Line Pilots Association also said he would review training rules at regional airlines, where pilots typically have less experience than their peers at major airlines. Jones Newswires (5/19), (5/19) Email this Story
  Travel Industry News 
  • Column: This summer is time to travel
    Columnist Scott McCartney says that for travelers who have the means, this summer offers a great opportunity to get away. After years of travel-related frustrations, the outlook this summer is smooth sailing, and "staycations" are looking to be a thing of the past. "The weak economy has led to significant price cuts at hotels, airlines, resorts and cruises," McCartney writes. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/19) Email this Story
  • Survey: Passenger satisfaction with carriers rises
    For the first time in several years, according to a University of Michigan survey, passengers were increasingly satisfied with airlines despite rising luggage fees and other charges. Claes Fornell, founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, said the improved sentiment is related to fewer passengers. "It certainly looks like most of these increases, if not all, are due to lower passenger load," Fornell said. Fewer passengers "means more seat availability, shorter lines, more on-time arrival, fewer lost bags, and all that probably adds up to a slightly higher level of satisfaction." USA TODAY (5/19), Google/The Associated Press (5/19) Email this Story
  • Municipalities consider travel-related tax increases
    Budget writers across the U.S. are considering a range of travel-related taxes to make up for shortfalls. Hoteliers and other travel suppliers have opposed such changes, but Todd Hagerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures said tourism industries are not being targeted. "I think what you are seeing here is that the states are in such a tough situation," Hagerty said. "On the revenue side, you are seeing select taxes, fee increases and also broad-based taxes. I think the situation is tough enough in the states that everything is on the table." Travel Weekly (5/19) Email this Story
  International Monitor 
  • CDC updates travel advisory for Mexico
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has downgraded its advisory for traveling to Mexico to a Travel Health Precaution. The CDC's updated information says "there is evidence that the Mexican outbreak [of the H1N1 virus infection] is slowing down in many cities, though not all. In addition, the United States and other countries are now seeing increasing numbers of cases not associated with travel to Mexico. Finally, the risk of severe disease from novel H1N1 virus infection now appears to be less than originally thought." The State Department also removed its travel alert. USA TODAY (5/15), TravelPulse (5/18) Email this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • Lawmakers eye separate authorization for TSA
    For the first time since its creation in 2001, the Transportation Security Administration could get its own budget authorization next year, though both TSA and Homeland Security officials appear lukewarm to the idea. "The TSA authorization act is the product of extensive bipartisan discussions," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. "It reflects input from members, GAO, the inspector general and transportation stakeholders from across the spectrum. ... Regrettably, input from TSA was hard to come by." Government Executive (5/13) Email this Story
  GTG News 
  • Renew your GTG membership today!
    June 30 is the deadline to renew your membership at the discounted cost of $45. Don't let this amazing opportunity pass you by! Contact GTG to learn more and to become a member today! Click here. Email this Story
  • Scholarship opportunity for NBTA annual convention attendees
    As part of NBTA's Stimulus Package to Advance the Business Travel Industry, NBTA has already awarded scholarships to more than 60 qualified NBTA member travel and meetings buyers to help defray part of the cost of attending the 2009 NBTA International Convention & Exposition. You can still apply! Deadline is June 2. Please note that the maximum amount that can be awarded to a GTG member is $450. More information can be found at: Email this Story
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American humorist

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Heather Townsend, Manager, Government Travel Group:
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NBTA has created the Government Travel Group (GTG) to provide government travel professionals with access to the member benefits that have long set NBTA apart as the leading association for corporate travel professionals, in addition providing unique benefits that focus on the needs of the government travel manager.

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