Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Airlines Are Cutting Corporate Travel Deals

Cash-strapped airlines are more aggressively cutting corporate discounts or pulling contracts entirely if businesses fall short of their air travel commitments, business travel executives said Tuesday.

The disclosure involving mainly U.S. airlines came as corporate travel organizations assessed the impact of the Wall Street meltdown on the global economy and, with it, the 2009 forecast for business travel.

A poll by the global Association of Corporate Travel Executives projected less travel from a majority of 131 members surveyed due to economic factors, high energy costs, or internal changes at their companies.

The business travel unit at American Express delayed release of its annual outlook on Tuesday in order to get a clearer picture of the most recent economic turmoil that includes the prospect of a U.S. bailout of financial institutions.

Executives said the environment, which includes cutbacks in air service and higher fares and new fees for bags and other extras once covered by the cost of a ticket, will be tougher. But they said there are opportunities for companies to save money and do business on the road even in cautious times.

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