In the past, air transport’s practicality and the lack of realistic substitutes for medium and long-haul travel have made aviation the sector of choice for enabling connectivity. However, recent years have been marked by a blow to public perception of air transport, prompted by the environmental concerns regarding climate change. The notion of “Flygskam” -or flight shaming- emerged from Sweden in 2019 (where a 9% fall in domestic air passengers and a 4% drop overall was recorded in the same year) and spread across western Europe.
COVID-19 then plunged the aviation industry into an unprecedented crisis, with various governments stepping in to support manufacturers, airlines, airports, and ANSPs alike. However, many are calling for aviation to use this period of reduced demand and enforced change to accelerate green initiatives, even to the extent of attaching conditions to support financing packages.
In this paper, we lay out the issues that aviation is facing with regards to emissions, how these issues are changing mindsets amongst consumers and policy makers, trends in alternative modes of transport and their disruptive potential, the place of aviation in the global economy, and a way forward for businesses, governments, and regulators alike.