International business travelers should be pleased to learn that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced an expansion of the Global Entry program to an additional 13 international airports: Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sanford (Orlando), San Francisco, San Juan, and Seattle. Global Entry began in June 2008 with seven international airports: Atlanta, Chicago (O’Hare), Houston (Intercontinental), Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Miami and Washington (Dulles).

I have to admit, I haven’t yet signed up for the Global Entry program, and look upon the Global Entry kiosk at O’Hare with envy – practically empty – every time I return from an overseas trip (especially after the 8+ hour flights), and I am standing in queue for the U.S. Customs line. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that 16,000 members have enrolled in Global Entry, reducing average wait times by 70% with more than 75% of travelers processed in under five minutes. Learn more about how you can take advantage of the Global Entry program.

Other business travel news this week…

In business travel airline news, the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) announced that it is backing legislation for S 1451 FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (Introduced in the Senate, July 14, 2009). The legislation would serve as an airline passengers’ bill of rights, requiring airlines to provide comfortable conditions while a plane is deplaned on the ground. However, the bill does not impose stiffer timelines than the current three hours allowed to keep passengers on a tarmac.

Speaking of airline news, European airlines have experienced a huge jump, according to the Wall Street Journal. During the past month and through Wednesday (August 12), Air France-KLM shares have shot up 24%, Deutsche Lufthansa 23% and British Airways 40%. Over the same period the pan-European Stoxx 600 index has risen just 15%.

Continuing with a focus on business transportation, a recent study in the UK revealed that business travel has increased by 9% during the last six months alone, according to Enterprise Rent-A-Car sponsored the survey which found that half of all small businesses (46%) reported they have employees that regularly travel for business purposes. Seven in ten said their transport costs have increased in the last six months. One in five of those businesses reported an increase of 20% or more to their transport costs.

Originally published August 14, 2009