‘Flight shaming’ could slash air traffic growth

By Sasha Wood, published 4/10/19

Climate change awareness and the Swedish concept of ‘flygskam’ or ‘flight shaming’ could have a major impact on air traffic growth, according to a new report from Swiss bank UBS.

The bank’s Global Aerospace and Airlines report surveyed the habits of more than 6,000 people in Europe and the US and found that over the last year around 21% had reduced their flights due to environmental concerns.

At 16%, the UK had the lowest number of travellers reducing their air travel by at least one or more flights in the last 12 months, while 23% of passengers in France and Germany said they had taken flights less frequently.

The report suggests that concern over carbon emissions and the recent campaign by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg that spawned the concept of ‘flygskam’ could lead to passenger growth slowing from 4-5% per year to 1.3-1.5%.

A recent forecast from global TMC BCD Travel had similar findings. It reported that air passenger numbers between Stockholm and Copenhagen had fallen 7% in June 2019 compared to the previous year and attributed it to the flygskam trend.

Meanwhile, industry forecasts from aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing predict growth will remain within its historical average.

But if UBS’ forecast is correct, it could mean 110 less narrow-body planes ordered from the manufacturers per year, plus a loss in profits of around £2.5billion.

UBS said pressure on the industry to reduce its carbon emissions could lead to a faster uptake of green technology and the development of the first 50-70-seater hybrid-electric plane by 2028.

Among recent emissions reporting developments, TripActions this week launched carbon impacting reporting for clients.

ubs.com