The attempted bombing of an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight on Christmas Day is not keeping business travelers on the ground, according to a just-released survey of 152 travel managers by the National Business Travel Association. The vast majority of respondents—81 percent—said they would not cut back on air travel as a response to the attack, and only 2 percent said they would reduce their international business travel.
Just as telling, the number of respondents who said the attempted attack raised new concerns about the safety of air travel was nearly equal to the number who said they had no new concerns resulting from the incident (43 percent versus 42 percent).
The only issue seems to be with the new security directives implemented by the Transportation Security Administration on January 4. Travelers are concerned about delays caused by tougher screening measures for passengers traveling to the U.S. from four countries considered state sponsors of terrorism—Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria—and 10 countries designated “countries of interest”—Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen.
These measures could include full-body pat-downs, physical inspections of personal property, or additional screenings by the advanced-imaging machines located in 19 U.S. airports, according to the TSA. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents to the NBTA survey said they were concerned about how the new measures would affect their comfort or convenience; 48 percent of survey respondents had no concerns.
The 152 survey respondents were from among NBTA's travel manager membership. The average NBTA member oversees a corporate travel budget averaging more than $16 million.