BTA Conference 2019: The Guild of Travel Management Companies relaunch Continued from page 64

Airlines will change if you pull and the government pushes.” Nikki Rogan, global travel

manager at soſtware company Synamedia, told the conference: “Sustainability is high on the roadmap. It’s not driven by travel managers but travellers. A traveller asked me last week, ‘How do I offset?’ It’s not something we’re pushing, it’s something people want.” Outgoing BTA chief executive

Adrian Parkes said: “Sustainability is a challenge for the industry. If we could give beter choices and beter information at the point of sale we could start to future-proof our industry.” Dutch carrier KLM launched

a campaign calling on passengers to ‘Fly Responsibly’ last week, with chief executive Pieter Elbers saying: “Do you always need to meet face to face? Could you take the train? Could you offset [the carbon emissions]?” He insisted airlines “have to

take a different stance” in face of global warming “to keep our licence to operate”. Elbers told Travel Weekly: “We

are not saying don’t fly. We are saying fly responsibly. Do it but do it considerately.” He launched the campaign,

to run online and in major newspapers worldwide, at an event to mark the centenary of KLM’s founding. A KLM spokeswoman said: “Tere is a changing mentality among passengers. We want to be the front runner on this.” However, responding to

demands to remove all plastic from flights, Elbers said: “It is almost impossible. We are looking to develop alternatives, but to be mindful about just removing plastic because it means you carry extra fuel.”

GTMC rebrands as BTA and appoints first woman CEO

Te Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) changed its name to the Business Travel Association (BTA) last week. Te new identity was unveiled

as the association also announced the election of Gray Dawes chief executive Suzanne Horner as BTA chair – the first woman to head the

organisation. Horner succeeds Paul Allan, who stepped down following his sale of family firm Ian Allan Travel in May. Outgoing chief executive Adrian

Parkes hailed the new identity and new chair as signalling “a step change for the association”. “It allows us to more clearly

communicate the board’s broadened strategy,” he said. Parkes argued the name

change would benefit “our work with government, with regulators and promoting the sector across academia”. He said: “When we

talked to an MP or university, we spent the first 15-20 minutes explaining what we do. Business Travel Association explains exactly what we do.”

Industry advised to brace itself for ‘seismic autumn’

Industry leaders have been warned to expect a “seismic autumn”, assured a no-deal Brexit is “unlikely” but told the October 31 withdrawal date “won’t be the end”. Political commentator Steve

Richards told the Business Travel Association (BTA), formerly the GTMC: “Boris Johnson will be next prime minister [despite] being known to have lied many times. He does not want no deal, yet he has said: ‘By October 31, we’re out.’ A lot of MPS think the chances of Britain crashing out are growing.”

Steve Richards

I’m a Remainer who

voted for May’s deal. Why am I backing Boris? My constituency voted to leave

But Richards insisted: “No deal is unlikely.” He said: “I can’t see how Boris will

get no deal through. Most Labour MPs, even those who want Brexit, are against no deal – as are a lot of Tory MPs. Tere will be enough for the Commons to block it.” He added: “Boris won’t want to

begin his premiership with no deal. He says he will renegotiate, but there isn’t time. Tere is a possibility he renegotiates a couple of sentences and says, ‘It’s renegotiated’, but it would be hard for him to sell the deal to Brexit hardliners. “Te alternative is a general

election or a second referendum. Lots of people at Westminster think

62 11 JULY 2019

a general election is imminent, but it would be risky. A referendum would be safer but would overturn everything Boris has said. “If it’s May’s deal, we’ll have a

relatively stable period for two years. Tat is what Boris wants.” Conservative MP James Heappey

agreed a deal is likely but insisted a failure to leave in October would be “worse” than no deal. He told the BTA: “I’m a Remainer

who voted for May’s deal three times. Why am I backing Boris? My constituency voted to leave. Te anger is extraordinary. People feel ignored and patronised. Our democracy is in danger. People say the cost of no deal is bad, the cost of no Brexit is worse. Tere is a breakdown of confidence in Parliament.” Heappey added: “Tere is a mood to get it done. MPs want this over.” However, Richards said: “It will

be the most-seismic autumn, [but] whatever happens by October 31, it won’t be the end.”

Suzanne Horner

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