Airline CEO Panel and "Saturday Night Live" Star Seth Meyers Brings Insight and Entertainment to 2012 GBTA Convention Attendees

Jul 24, 2012, 17:50 ET from Global Business Travel Association

GBTA Reveals Findings on Global Spend and Announces GBTA Award Winners

BOSTON, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – continued to bring great panel discussions and entertainment to a record breaking number of attendees while also breaking news on the opening day of the 2012 GBTA Convention. GBTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Michael W. McCormick, broke the latest findings on global spend from the GBTA Business Travel Index (BTI)™ on CNBC's Squawk on the Street revealing that business travel spending in developed economies is slowing down however emerging markets are growing fast.


Monday's discussions began with the highly anticipated Airline CEO panel made possible by the Boeing Company which included David Barger, president & CEO of JetBlue Airways Corporation, Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, and Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways, sharing the stage with moderator Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS News. The session was lively and informative, as the executives shared their views on the airline industry and their businesses.

David Barger, president & CEO of JetBlue Airways Corporation, in a discussion of government regulations on the airline industry said, "Instead of legislating against us, how about investment in air traffic control?" When discussing new growth areas for business travel, Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said, "More airlines are looking farther east." On mergers and consolidation in the industry, Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways said, "Mergers are about long term benefits through the synergies they bring."

Social media dominated the later part of the panel with moderator Peter Greenberg diving into the ways airlines are using media channels from pilots using iPads in flight to using social media to improve the customer experience. Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways said, "We use information from social media to learn about what the customer wants and needs so we can respond." Bjorn Kjos CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said they were able to respond directly to travelers during the ash cloud crisis. "They knew Norwegian was coming," he said.

The afternoon continued with the general session sponsored by Sabre Travel Network, Get There & Travelocity Business. Scott Solombrino GBTA president Allied Leadership Council and president and CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network revealed the Allied Award winner was Billy Bos of Best Western International. The GBTA Direct Member of the Year Award went to Shelly Lewchuck of Canadian Natural Resources Limited. GBTA gave a round of applause to videos of the winners' colleagues speaking. They shared their overwhelmingly positive experiences working with the winners.

Monday's general session keynote featured Saturday Night Lives' head writer and comedian Seth Meyers who entertained a packed house by poking fun at room service, airline fees and fellow travelers making the business of travel fodder for his humorous routine.  Meyers amused audience attendees with stories of his travel adventures in the United States and abroad.  His session elicited roars of laughter.

About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA's 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 17,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy.  For more information, visit

SOURCE Global Business Travel Association