Finnair study finds travelling public would pay extra to reduce environmental impact of flights
Half of Finnair's long-haul fleet is now comprised of the fuel-efficient Airbus A350
Mon 13 Aug 2018 – According to a consumer research study by Finnair, almost all Finns – 94% – want to reduce the emissions from their air travel and three-quarters are willing to pay extra as part of the ticket price, but want the charge to be used directly for environmental purposes. Respondents supported the use of biofuels (55%) and carbon capture (28%) from forests and other biomass as the best alternatives for reducing the environmental impacts of flying. Only 11%, however, were in favour of a tax on flights, with 73% responding such a tax should not be introduced if the proceeds could not be directly attributed to environmental efforts. The study also showed the majority of Finns were unaware of international market mechanisms to address aviation emissions.
A majority of the respondents (60%) to the survey – which was conducted earlier this summer by Innolink Research and Spring Advisor, and involved interviewing around 1,200 Finns – did not know aviation was part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme or the global CORSIA emissions scheme.
Of the 76% of respondents who were willing to pay more for a flight ticket or alternatively pay an additional charge towards reducing the environmental impacts of their journey, there was a wide variation in what was considered the appropriate amount to pay. The majority were ready to pay around five to 20 euros ($6-23) extra for a one-way flight within Europe, with almost 20% willing to pay more than that.
“The study – as well as direct feedback from our customers – shows that environmental awareness has clearly increased,” said Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo. “It was great to see that so many customers are ready to invest in more responsible air travel and developing this responsibility is a common objective for us all.”
Finnair does not currently operate a passenger carbon offset scheme, believing in the ‘polluter pays’ principle and that it is up to the airline to take steps to reduce its emissions. However, Finnair says it is in discussions with potential partners following the results of the survey and from early 2019, customers will be able to purchase biofuel to be included and blended on a later flight, or support a carbon capture project with a sum of their choice.
“It is very important for us that the alternatives we offer will actually help to reduce the carbon load,” said Vauramo, who is due to leave the company shortly. “Investment in new fuel-efficient aircraft is our most important and impactful environmental action, but we also work with the environment in mind in our daily flight operations, and we participate in international initiatives to reduce emissions.”
According to its 2017 annual report, Finnair’s jet fuel consumption and CO2 emissions increased by 47,000 tonnes, or 5.4%, last year compared to the previous year as a result of traffic growth. However, fuel efficiency improved by 6.7% and CO2 emissions from flight operations fell from 26.53 in 2016 to 24.76 kg/100 revenue tonne kilometres in 2017. This was largely due to the continued replacement of Airbus A340 widebody aircraft with A350 XWB aircraft, which are meant to be an average 25% more fuel efficient.
“Fly with airlines that have a modern fleet, fly the shortest route, pack light and combine air travel with other traffic modes,” advised Vauramo. “In the future, our customers will also be able to support carbon footprint reducing projects easily through Finnair.”