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Business Travel CEOs Say the Sector is Back as Border Controls Evaporate

Fliers are spending big to get back in the air, and away from Zoom 

A Hepa filter air conditioner unit between empty business class seats on a grounded Airbus SE A340 passenger aircraft, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 30, 2020. 

A Hepa filter air conditioner unit between empty business class seats on a grounded Airbus SE A340 passenger aircraft, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 30, 2020. 

Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

Business travel, contrary to some expectations in the thick of the pandemic, is coming back. While bookings may not have reached pre-Covid levels, there’s mounting evidence of a rebound, the strength of which is taking some by surprise.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said last month that corporate travel is recovering so rapidly, it “makes us feel really, really confident.” Keith Tan, CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board, said “rumors about the decline of business travel are greatly exaggerated,” while Virgin Australia head Jayne Hrdlicka said there’s a “push to reinvest in relationships.”