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Can we fly less? Evaluating the ‘necessity’ of air travel

Gössling, Stefan LU ; Hanna, Paul ; Higham, James ; Cohen, Scott and Hopkins, Debbie (2019) In Journal of Air Transport Management 81.
Abstract

Air travel is often justified as ‘necessary’ or ‘unavoidable’, in the sense that trips have purpose and value. Yet it is evident that people travel for reasons that may include forced and voluntary movement, with motives ranging from visiting friends and family, to leisure, or business. In light of the challenge to decarbonise transport, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this paper discusses the perceived necessity of flight from individual and societal perspectives, while considering moral and economic viewpoints. It suggests that travel motives have different degrees of ‘urgency’, and that the ‘necessity of flight’ cannot be generalised. To empirically test this hypothesis in an exploratory survey, we used mixed methods... (More)

Air travel is often justified as ‘necessary’ or ‘unavoidable’, in the sense that trips have purpose and value. Yet it is evident that people travel for reasons that may include forced and voluntary movement, with motives ranging from visiting friends and family, to leisure, or business. In light of the challenge to decarbonise transport, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this paper discusses the perceived necessity of flight from individual and societal perspectives, while considering moral and economic viewpoints. It suggests that travel motives have different degrees of ‘urgency’, and that the ‘necessity of flight’ cannot be generalised. To empirically test this hypothesis in an exploratory survey, we used mixed methods to examine the perspectives of 29 international students at Lund University, Sweden on the perceived importance of their flights (n = 587) over a six-year period (2012–2017). Results show that the value associated with individual flights depends on flight motive, experience, life stage, or situational factors. Notably, almost half of the leisure flights made lack importance. Implications are discussed in the context of climate policy and the future development of the aviation system.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Aviation, Climate policy, Flight shame, Induced demand, Paris agreement, Travel motives
in
Journal of Air Transport Management
volume
81
article number
101722
external identifiers
  • scopus:85072626851
ISSN
0969-6997
DOI
10.1016/j.jairtraman.2019.101722
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
066b55db-11ed-4b85-abb9-d0bde7f0be85
date added to LUP
2019-10-02 14:28:50
date last changed
2020-01-22 07:47:16
@article{066b55db-11ed-4b85-abb9-d0bde7f0be85,
  abstract     = {<p>Air travel is often justified as ‘necessary’ or ‘unavoidable’, in the sense that trips have purpose and value. Yet it is evident that people travel for reasons that may include forced and voluntary movement, with motives ranging from visiting friends and family, to leisure, or business. In light of the challenge to decarbonise transport, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this paper discusses the perceived necessity of flight from individual and societal perspectives, while considering moral and economic viewpoints. It suggests that travel motives have different degrees of ‘urgency’, and that the ‘necessity of flight’ cannot be generalised. To empirically test this hypothesis in an exploratory survey, we used mixed methods to examine the perspectives of 29 international students at Lund University, Sweden on the perceived importance of their flights (n = 587) over a six-year period (2012–2017). Results show that the value associated with individual flights depends on flight motive, experience, life stage, or situational factors. Notably, almost half of the leisure flights made lack importance. Implications are discussed in the context of climate policy and the future development of the aviation system.</p>},
  author       = {Gössling, Stefan and Hanna, Paul and Higham, James and Cohen, Scott and Hopkins, Debbie},
  issn         = {0969-6997},
  language     = {eng},
  series       = {Journal of Air Transport Management},
  title        = {Can we fly less? Evaluating the ‘necessity’ of air travel},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jairtraman.2019.101722},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.jairtraman.2019.101722},
  volume       = {81},
  year         = {2019},
}