Despite having its roots in the Nordic countries, Finish national flag carrier Finnair is yet to see the impact of flight shaming. Born in Sweden and often referred to as the “Greta effect” after 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, the flight shame movement wants to highlight the role commercial aviation has on climate change.
The idea is for people to travel by boat, bus, car, and train, whenever possible, rather than fly as these forms of travel produce fewer carbon emissions than a plane.
Flight shaming may not be as popular as you might think
While flight shaming is gaining ground and making people think about their carbon footprint, in reality it might not be as popular as you think. A point in case is Nordic airline Finnair who claims not to have seen any impact or a change in passenger numbers due to flight shame.
When speaking to analysts on Tuesday following the release of Finnair’s third-quarter results, Skift.com quotes the airlines CEO Topi Manner as saying:
“There are many questions and customers are very interested about how to make aviation more sustainable. And we are definitely working on that one all the time. But as you see from our traffic figures, we don’t see any impact on our traffic figures or the number of passengers coming out of the flight shame movement.”
Manner pointed out that rather than seeing passenger numbers decline they were in fact up 12% which he described as being a record for the airline.
“As such, we are one of the fastest-growing, if not the fastest-growing, pan-European airlines for the time being. So I guess that tells the story. But at the same time, we do realize that we have an obligation to work with more sustainable aviation, both short and long-term and that we will be certainly doing,” he added.
Finnair is working with Scandinavian Airlines to develop electric aircraft
The Finnair boss isn’t just saying these things to please the environmental lobby either, as Finnair is involved in the development of electrically powered planes.
Earlier this year, Finnair together with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and several other smaller Nordic carriers set up a body called Nordic Network for Electric Aviation (NEA). All of this is a step in the right direction, but even as technology advances we are still a long way from having large electric aircraft.
Governments are trying to get people to take the train
Not a month seems to go by without Simple Flying running a story about how one airline or another is using biofuel or looking for ways to offset their carbon footprint. This also comes at a time where governments are stepping in and introducing taxes on cheap airline tickets to try and get people to take the train rather than fly.
The idea of traveling by rail rather than flying will not make sense to people in the United States due to a lack of high-speed rail, but in Europe and China taking the train can often beat the plane.
If you had the option of taking the train or flying and the costs were similar, which one would you choose? Please let us know in the comments.