News For Planners

FAA shutdown doesn't bode well for business travelers

Friday, 7/29/2011  4:10:20 PM

The Aerospace Industries Association indicated on Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shutdown would have "a broad and deep negative impact on [both] aviation and our economy." The shutdown was a direct result of the U.S. Congress' lack of ability to pass an authorization extension that would enable the FAA to continue its operations.

While the shutdown does not mean an end to air travel, it poses the threat of seriously skyrocketed prices, which will reduce the amount of flights booked for the duration. Not only will this move cause the aviation industry to lose out on a projected $7 billion, but businesses that rely on their executives' ability to travel long distances will also be negatively impacted.

For sales-based businesses, face to face meetings are a fundamental part of day-to-day operations. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 48 percent of travel in the U.S. is done by business people, who spend an estimated $246 billion each year on related expenses. If business people are hindered in their arrangements, not only will they see a decrease in their own revenues, but the economy will take the hit for money that would previously have been spent on travel.

Face to face meetings are still an important ingredient in the success of any business. They allow sales people and clients to form real, transparent relationships based on mutual trust and benefit. By making personal connections with clients and prospects, sales people are more likely to understand their needs and provide adequate solutions.

Traveling for business also helps give companies an edge because it gives them the opportunity to gauge their success against competitors in other areas. While a corporation might have a lockdown on business in its own backyard, a truer indication of success is how well they're able to perform outside their own arena.

By traveling, business people also get the opportunity to learn about the people and cultures in other parts of the world, which could help them pinpoint sales strategies and solidify deeper and more meaningful relationships.

The FAA has indicated that the shutdown is temporary, but even so, businesses all over the country are likely to feel the impact. In order to thwart the effects as much as possible, business travelers may consider using alternate means of transport where possible, such as traveling by train or by car.

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