As Joe Sharkey writes in the New York Times today, the Ebola virus disease’s “practical effects on business travelers have been minor so far.”
We mentioned last week that new screenings were being put in place and would affect a very small amount of travelers, perhaps 150 total across the five U.S. airports that are screening passengers (JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and O’Hare). And as Sharkey points out in his piece, no U.S. carriers fly to or from the countries most affected by the virus: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
“You look at the scenario of things that potentially could happen and the potential impact on the travel industry and there is cause for worry,” said Michael W. McCormick, the executive director of the Global Business Travel Association. “But given the source of the disease and the destinations you’re talking about, from a business travel perspective, it’s been a relatively small impact so far.”
As a reminder, the risk of contracting Ebola through the course of normal business travel outside of West Africa is very low. This is not an airborne virus, so infection rates among non-West African countries is very low.