4% Decrease in Air Passengers in Sweden

4% Decrease in Air Passengers in Sweden

2019 saw an unprecedented decrease in airline passengers in Sweden, that’s according to figures released by Swedavia, the organisation that owns and operates the country’s 10 airports.

40 million passengers took to the skies in Sweden in 2019 compared to the all-time high record of 42 million in 2018.

The decrease was primarily in domestic travel, while international travel overall decreased to a lesser extent.

The number of international passengers decreased 2 per cent to nearly 28 million, while the number of domestic passengers totalled about 12.4 million, a 9 per cent decrease compared to 2018.

In a statement from Swedavia, the organisation was keen to point out the sustainability measures it takes as part of its work, amidst a growing ‘flight-shaming’ movement in the country.

The statement said, ‘All ten of its airports shall have zero emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from their own operations by 2020. Swedavia also works actively to promote the industry’s transition to bio- fuel and has the goal that five per cent of all fuel used to refuel aircraft at Swedish airports shall be fossil-free by 2025.’

‘Flight-shaming’ first emerged in 2017, when Swedish singer, Staffan Lindberg committed to quit flying. The movement gained further momentum with Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg’s example of not flying in a bid to reduce her carbon footprint. Thunberg, named Time Magazine’s person of the year for 2019, hasn’t flown since 2015, preferring to travel around Europe by train.

Thunberg has famously chosen to sail across the Atlantic to attend climate change gatherings instead of flying.

In what has been dubbed the Greta-effect, it now appears that many Swedes are following the example of the teen activist.

Over the course of 2019 the terms flygskam (flight-shaming) and tagskryt (train-bragging) have become part of the vernacular in Sweden.

In November of last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global representative group for the airline sector, said it was planning a campaign to improve the sectors reputation and to combat falling passenger numbers in Europe, where passengers are showing concern over the environmental impact of flying.

According to ACI Europe, the European airport trade association, passenger numbers began slowing down in January 2019. Latest figures from the association show October marked the weakest monthly performance across Europe for passenger travel, with an increase of just 2.1 per cent.

Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of IATA told Reuters that his organisation’s campaign would explain what steps the industry is taking to reduce its environmental impact, countering what he described as ‘misleading information.’

Commenting on the scale of the problem he said, ‘It’s difficult to measure and beyond European borders we have seen nothing but it will come.’

(Image by avriette via creativecommons.org)




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