There’s no doubt that the pandemic has taught us that business travel isn’t always as important as it used to be. A lot of business can be conducted over Zoom or some other form of video conferencing.
But virtual hookups still can’t fully replace the face-to-face meetings, handshakes, and in-person trust-building that typically need to happen to attract new customers, build long-standing relationships, and close big deals. business.
That’s why it’s so encouraging to know that Indianapolis Airport Authority officials are working with Delta Air Lines to restore the direct Indianapolis-Paris flight lost during the pandemic, or perhaps even another direct destination like London. .
As IBJ’s Mickey Shuey reported last week, nothing firm should happen until 2023 or 2024, when business travel is expected to resume. It may never return to pre-pandemic levels. A Bloomberg survey of 45 large companies last summer found that 84% planned to spend less on business travel even after pandemic threats ended.
As Greg Hayes, CEO of jet engine maker Raytheon Technologies Corp., told Bloomberg Radio, business travel has “changed forever” as sophisticated communications technologies make it possible to meet virtually anyone in the world, with no disruption to productivity and no jetting. gap.
But, as the Society for Human Resource Management reported this week, many companies are starting to embrace certain types of business travel again, particularly for the purpose of finding new clients or sending key employees on business opportunities. training in order to retain them.
Direct flights to business hubs around the world would create better opportunities for Indiana businesses to land customers and build business relationships in those cities.
A study by economists from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Zurich found that cities connected by at least one direct flight weekly have significantly higher levels of business connectivity than those that are not connected by a weekly flight. “The movement of people promotes the movement of capital: the ability to establish direct contact between people is an important factor that enhances the ability to do business,” the study found.
When the direct flight from Indianapolis to Paris launched in 2018, it became the state’s first-ever nonstop transatlantic air service. It was only one robbery, but it greatly expanded the city’s global reach. Those traveling to Charles de Gaulle airport were able to connect to flights to more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India.
The pandemic has taken those global connections away from us, and we need them to continue building a better economic future.
We encourage airport, city and state officials to continue pushing for more direct flights to major international destinations. It is essential for economic growth. And we’d be the first to agree that it would also be nice to fly direct from Indianapolis for a European vacation.
We all need a break in this pandemic.•
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