Mexico travel demand fueling major airport expansion in San Antonio

Mexico travel demand fueling major airport expansion in San Antonio

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Amex GBT: Large Client Travel Demand Accelerating

American Express Global Business Travel has upped its revenue outlook for this year as business travel recovery has shown “strong momentum,” CEO Paul Abbott said in an earnings call on Tuesday.

For the first quarter, Amex GBT reported $350 million in revenue, up 179 percent compared with the first quarter of 2021 and half of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Transactions for the quarter were at 46 percent of pre-pandemic levels, but they began to pick up quickly in April, according to Abbott. For the last three weeks of April, transactions reached 72 percent of 2019 levels, an improvement of 11 percentage points compared with recovery levels in the last week of March, he said.

Comparisons include adjustments accounting for Amex GBT’s acquisitions of both Egencia and Ovation Travel Group.

Small and midsized companies have been leading the recovery, but travel from larger customers also has begun to “really accelerate,” Abbott said. In April, recovery among large global clients improved 8 percentage points compared with March.

International travel recovery also is catching up to domestic recovery as restrictions lift, Abbott said.

Demand for smaller meetings has been “particularly strong,” which Abbott attributed to workforces remaining more spread out rather than concentrated in central offices. “More distributed teams increase the need to bring people together to collaborate, to innovate, to motivate and learn,” he said.

Amex GBT reported a client retention rate of 95 percent over the past 12 months, and Abbott noted that since 2015 the company has averaged a $2.50 gain in new customers for every dollar of business lost. Recent new customer wins have included Honda Motors Europe, Novum, Raytheon Technologies and The Ferraro Group, Abbott said.

Given the pace of recovery, Amex GBT has added $150 million to its total expected revenue for 2022, which it now expects will be about $1.75 billion. Amex GBT reported a net loss of $91 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $135 million in the first quarter of 2021.

Amex GBT also noted that it expects its merger with special purpose acquisition company Apollo Strategic Growth Capital to be completed later this month, at which point it will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

RELATED: Amex GBT Q4 earnings

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Ahead of summer travel boom, demand and soaring costs are pushing up airfares

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Airfares have increased by 25% just in the last year, according to the Consumer Price Index.

One key factor pushing up prices: Demand for travel is high.

For the first time, passengers screened at TSA checkpoints across the U.S. have risen to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

In April alone, prices went up nearly 20%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The high cost of fuel and a shortage of pilots is also raising the cost of a ticket.

Jerry Agrusa, UH Travel Industry Management professor, said that if you see a decent price for a trip you need to grab it right then ― before it goes up.

“What happens is they follow your IP address,” Agrusa said. “So you go to the website, you’ll see the flight for say $400. You go back to that site, it knows you and they might raise it by 10%. Or they could raise it up to 40% because they know that you’re interested in it.”

He said it’s a good time to use miles or look into airline credit cards. You also might want to use a travel advisor.

“Travel advisors have their own resources for booking and selling airline tickets,” said Wendy Goodenow, the owner of HNL Travel Associates. “And we also use all the other sources just to compare, just to make sure that we’re not off base.”

Goodenow said there really isn’t a specific day you should buy or fly.

The best thing to do is to book your ticket early. The more seats that are filled, the higher the cost of the ticket on that plane.

“That changes, seconds by seconds,” she said. “Every seat on every plane has at least 15 to 20 prices based on the full picture.”

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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TSA prepares for summer travel demand and higher passenger volumes

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for a busy summer travel season with anticipated passenger volumes that will match and may occasionally exceed those of 2019 for the first time since the pandemic began.

The continued recovery from the low travel volumes during the pandemic may require more patience and planning than was necessary before the pandemic. Checkpoint environments and procedures have changed to enhance screening operations, ensure the safety and well-being of the traveling public, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  

“Daily passenger volumes at TSA checkpoints show that people are traveling again, and TSA is ready for their return. Our airport security checkpoints include 47,500 highly-trained security professionals and new technologies that enhance security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to recruit, retain, train and equip a highly-skilled workforce, and we work continuously with our airport and airline partners to anticipate and prepare for higher traffic patterns.”

Earlier today, six airport and airline partners joined Pekoske during a media roundtable at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to discuss their operational preparedness for anticipated summer season travel volumes and key changes implemented to ensure safe, secure and healthy travel. They include Sean Donohue, Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport CEO; Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America; Kevin Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International – North America; Todd Hauptli, President and CEO, American Association of Airport Executives; Paul Doell, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Air Carrier Association; and Faye Malarkey Black, President and CEO, Regional Airline Association.

The summer travel season, which begins in late May and extends beyond Labor Day weekend, covers three full months and four major holidays, which includes Juneteenth as the newest federal holiday. Juneteenth will be recognized on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Recent security enhancements at airport screening checkpoints include two new technologies. TSA deployed Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners to improve identification verification, and in some airports, enable digital identification verification at the Travel Document Checker podium and the scanning capabilities for carry-on bags. Both of these technologies enhance security and reduce physical contact within the checkpoints.

To date, TSA deployed 1,621 CAT units to 176 airports. Among those, 90 CAT units are modified and equipped to read and verify digital identification. TSA also deployed 402 CT units to 163 airports nationwide. In March, the agency announced the award of two orders for the procurement and maintenance of additional base and full-size CT scanners to be installed at checkpoints during the summer months.

The CT units provide TSA officers the ability to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to search the bag’s contents. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their travel-size liquids bag or electronics.

The new CT units are currently being installed at Billings Logan International Airport in Montana, Albany International Airport in New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.

For those who choose to travel this summer, follow these five simple tips to get through the TSA checkpoint quickly and efficiently.

Tip 1: Face masks are optional, but recommended. The CDC recommends face masks for passengers aged two and older in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs as an effective precaution for those who seek to avoid exposure to COVID in higher risk public spaces. CDC provides heath recommendations for domestic travel during COVID-19 and for international travel on its website at

Tip 2: Pack smart; start with empty bags. Airline passengers who pack for travel with empty bags are less likely to bring prohibited items through a TSA checkpoint. Technology and modifications help reduce the need for physical contact with TSA officers, but those who take time to come prepared for the TSA checkpoint are far more likely to avoid delay and physical contact. Check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on

Tip 3: Know before you go. Airports, like highways, have high traffic surges and construction delays. Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in, check bags and complete security screening in time to avoid stressful sprints to the departure gate. At the TSA checkpoint, have a valid ID card readily available and follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.

Tip 4: Contact TSA for help if there are questions or concerns. Those who are preparing to travel and may have special circumstances, considerations or general questions about airport screening can get live assistance by tweeting questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.

TSA also offers TSA Cares, a helpline for travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances. You may submit a request for assistance by calling TSA Cares at 855-787-2227, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. TSA Cares are open 365 days a year. Passengers may also use the TSA Cares form available on the TSA website which can be found at

Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck® to “Travel with Ease.” By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, airline passengers can avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. Most new enrollees receive their known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years. In April, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at the checkpoint.

For additional information about security screening or more travel tips before a summer trip, visit  


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U.S. Q1 Hotel Pipeline Steady as Demand Grows

The total number of U.S. hotel construction projects in the development pipeline at the end of the first quarter was 2 percent higher than one year prior, but the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline declined 3 percent, according to a new report from Lodging Econometrics.

The total first-quarter U.S. hotel construction pipeline stood at 5,090 projects, representing about 606,300 rooms. About 960 projects representing about 128,800 rooms currently were under construction, down 27 percent and 28 percent year over year, respectively. Conversely, about 

Meanwhile, projects and rooms in early planning comprising 2,218 projects and 254,500 rooms were in the early planning stages, a first-quarter record and up 24 percent and 12 percent year over year, respectively. 

“New projects and development planning that was previously on hold are now getting the green light from investors and developers with buoyed confidence thanks to rather robust domestic leisure travel during the first part of the year,” according to Lodging Econometrics. “With stronger domestic leisure travel in the U.S., along with the albeit slower revival of corporate and group travel, there is growing confidence in the recovery.”

Pipeline Highlights

About 63 percent of the total U.S. hotel construction pipeline is concentrated in the upper and upper-midscale tiers, a typical share, according to Lodging Econometrics. However, the renovation or conversion pipeline totaled 1,420 projects representing 184,700 rooms, an all-time high and up 59 percent and 48 percent, respectively, from the first quarter of 2021.

Marriott International in the first quarter had more U.S. projects in the pipeline than any other hotel company, with 1,359 projects representing about 171,800 rooms. It was followed by Hilton Worldwide, with 1,287 projects and about 146,600 rooms, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, with 785 projects and about 79,000 rooms. Together, these three companies account for 67 percent of the projects and 66 percent of the rooms in the total U.S. construction pipeline.

Dallas led all U.S. markets with 165 projects and 19,700 rooms in the first-quarter pipeline, followed by Atlanta with 135 projects and 17,600 rooms, Los Angeles with 123 projects and about 20,200 rooms and  New York with 122 projects and about 20,800 rooms.

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IATA: March Air Demand Rebounds at Slightly Slower Pace

Despite a slowdown in the pace of year-over-year total increases, passenger air traffic in March was the closest to 2019 levels since the pandemic began, according to the International Air Transportation Association. 

March passenger air volume was 58.7 percent recovered compared with March 2019 levels, versus February’s 54.5 percent. Revenue passenger kilometers in March were up 76 percent year over year, compared with an increase of nearly 116 percent in February.

Effects on air travel from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine were “limited.” However, the Covid-19 omicron variant spread in China has affected domestic air travel, though not international traffic for Asia-Pacific carriers, according to IATA.

[Report continues below chart.]

2022-03 IATA

“With barriers to travel coming down in most places, we are seeing the long-expected surge in pent-up demand finally being realized,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we are also seeing long delays at many airports with insufficient resources to handle the growing numbers.”

Total global capacity was up 46 percent year over year, representing a slowdown from the increase of 68.4 percent in February 2022. Capacity was down 35.5 percent compared with March 2019. Europe led both traffic and capacity changes, at 246.9 percent and 162.8 percent, respectively. Asia-Pacific continued to report year-over-year declines for both categories, at 17.9 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively. Total load factor was 74.7 percent.

March domestic air traffic continued its recovery, increasing 11.7 percent year over year, representing a 23.2 percent decline from March 2019 levels. Domestic capacity was up 1.5 percent year over year and was down 18.4 percent from 2019 levels. Brazil showed the strongest year-over-year traffic increase at 99.1 percent. China’s domestic traffic declined 59.1 percent, due to “drastic lockdowns” and travel restrictions following the spread of omicron in the country.

Still, Asia-Pacific airlines saw international traffic increase 197.1 percent year over year in March, up from the 146.5 percent increase in February, following relaxed restrictions in South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand. Every region except Africa reported triple-digit percentage increases in international traffic, with Europe leading the regions at a 425.4 percent gain as well as a 224.5 percent increase in capacity. 

“The ongoing recovery in air travel is excellent news for the global economy, for friends and families whose forced separations are being ended, and for the millions of people who depend on air transport for their livelihoods,” Walsh said. 

RELATED: IATA: February Air Demand Rebounds After Omicron Dip

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Booking Holdings Prepares for Busy Summer on Europe Travel Demand | Technology News

(Reuters) – Online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc beat estimates for first-quarter earnings on Wednesday and said global travel trends pointed to a busy summer season, especially in Europe, sending its shares up about 7% in extended trade.

The Norwalk Connecticut-based company’s gross travel bookings saw a near two-fold rise to $27.3 billion in the quarter from a year earlier, while room nights – a measure of occupancy at any property – more than doubled.

“Despite an uncertain macroeconomic environment, we have seen continued strengthening of global travel trends so far in the second quarter of 2022, and we are preparing for a busy summer travel season ahead,” Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel said in a statement.

However, Bernstein analyst Richard Clarke said although summer demand was strong, a rise in marketing expenses could be a drag as the company’s forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization was below consensus.

Pandemic-weary travelers are shrugging off an inflation-induced hit to their wallets from rising air fares and hotel tariffs to visit their favorite tourist spots, driving demand for leisure travel globally.

Vacation rental firm Airbnb Inc on Tuesday forecast second-quarter revenue above estimates, as it expects strong summer travel demand.

Major U.S. airlines including American Airlines Group, United Airlines and Alaska Air Group Inc said their revenue in the current quarter would surpass pre-pandemic levels on travel boost.

Booking’s chief financial officer, David Goulden, said on a post-earnings call that April room nights, a hotel industry metric for calculating occupancy, increased about 10% from the same period in 2019, driven primarily by demand in Europe.

“International demand, driven mainly by travel plans in Europe, accounted for most of the improvements in room nights in April versus Q1,” he added.

Excluding items, Booking’s profit came in at $3.90 per share, compared with analysts’ estimates of 90 cents per share, according to Refinitiv data. Revenue of $2.69 billion beat estimates of $2.54 billion.

(Reporting by Nilanjana Basu and Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Anil D’Silva)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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Hilton buoyed by increased business travel and meetings demand

Hilton Worldwide has been boosted by substantial contributions from business travel and group bookings during the first quarter of 2022, as the market showed signs of recovery after an overall “choppy start” to the year.

The global hotel company reported net profit of $211 million for the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $109 million in 2021. 

Hilton said that revenue per available room (revpar) from business travel in March was only 9 per cent below March 2019’s figures, during the company’s first quarter earnings call on Tuesday (3 May).

President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said there were “improving trends” for bookings from large organisations, with revenue in March from these accounts down by just 12 per cent on 2019, alongside “continued strength” from SMEs.

Nassetta said that currently business travel accounts for 45 per cent of Hilton’s overall business mix, compared to 55 per cent pre-Covid. He projected this gap would close by the end of 2022 due to rising corporate profits, rebounding demand from larger businesses and reduced travel restrictions. 

Hilton’s revpar for groups reached more than 75 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of March, led by an increase in smaller events and social gatherings. 

“Group revenue booked in the first quarter for all future periods was down just 4 per cent relative to 2019 levels, and total lead volume for all future periods was up 3.5 per cent,” added Nassetta.

Hilton is projecting that revpar from groups will recover to around 90 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of 2022.

But the company warned that organisations can expect to pay higher prices this year compared to 2019, with rates for company meetings rising by more than 13 per cent and new group bookings up by “high single digits” on pre-Covid rates.

Hilton’s first-quarter global occupancy reached 58.1 per cent – a 14.6 percentage point improvement on the same period in 2021. In Europe, Hilton’s properties improved occupancy to 47.9 per cent in the quarter, which was an increase of 29.2 points on a year ago.

Hilton’s worldwide average daily rate was $139.17 for the quarter, a 35.2 per cent increase year-on-year, while revpar reached $80.84, which was up by around 80 per cent on last year. 

In Europe, Hilton’s average daily rate was $120.70 during the first quarter, up by 75 per cent on 2021, while revpar increased by 350 per cent year-on-year to reach $57.70.

Hilton added 13,200 rooms to its global portfolio in the first quarter, contributing to a net increase of 7,800 rooms during this period. 

The company also approved 22,200 new rooms for development, increasing Hilton’s current pipeline to more than 410,000 rooms. 

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