Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, April 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
An airline's record on green issues is a minor point for travel managers when choosing which carrier to use.69% gave little thought to it with 41% saying it was a minor point and 28% saying it did not play a part in their decision.Research by the Business Travel Research Centre at the UK's Cranfield University found that only 5% of travel managers regarded a green stance as critical in making a decision although 27% said it was important.The travel managers took a similar line regarding the age and type of an aircraft which would have a bearing CO2 emissions.62% said this was either "minor" or "not part of the criteria" while just 5% said it was critical and 35% classed it as important.The figures were revealed by Dr Keith Mason, director of the Business Travel Research Centre, at a one day seminar on business travel and climate change in London.It was run by Omega, an organisation which studies aviation sustainability, and the Icarus Project, the environmental scheme launched by the UK and Ireland Institute of Travel Management (ITM). More than 70 people attended the seminar including travel managers and suppliers.Dr Mason said that the main drivers in the choice of an airline were which destinations it served, which airports it flew from, its prices and the frequency of its flights.Dr Mason also spoke on the drivers to persuade companies to use video- and web-conferencing more often.These included improved technology, Corporate Social Responsibility, the risk of sending some abroad, like terrorists attacks and environmental concerns caused by travelling the Cranfield research showed there were three areas where travel managers regarded travel as necessary: new business relationships which 57% said they mostly travelled to, conferences (67%) and customer servicing (34%). Ares where the travel managers said they used a mix of travel and video-conferencing were: internal meetings (78%), training (56%), customer servicing (56%) and new business relationships (39%). Dr Mason said the crucial questions facing travel managers were whether it was viable to make a straight swap between flying and video-conferencing.There was also the problem of where travel managers put video-conferencing as an alternative: was it at the point of trip decision, of booking or of authorisation?
Earlier at the conference, Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation, an organisation which looks into the environmental effects of aviation, said Britons flew more miles per head than other countries. British adults were responsible for 603 kg of CO2 emissions per year, compared with the next highest country, Ireland with 434.The US (275) and France (243) were the next highest.Mr Johnson said the UK was committed to a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 but radical solutions to cutting carbon were "decades away."He said a "steady decline" in emissions would make a "big difference" compared with waiting until 2050 to make a major reduction. With current aircraft efficiencies, the CO2 reduction was about one to two per cent a year."But while the industry is getting leaner, it has a 45% rate per annum. There are more passengers and they are flying longer distances each year," he said."Airlines might be getting leaner but overall we are putting on weight year after year." * see BTE Analysis
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