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

Gössling, Stefan, Hanna, Paul, Higham, James, Cohen, Scott and Hopkins, Debbie (2019) Can we fly less? Evaluating the ‘necessity’ of air travel Journal of Air Transport Management, 81.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Authors :
Gössling, Stefan
Higham, James
Hopkins, Debbie
Date : October 2019
DOI : 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2019.101722
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 17 Oct 2019 07:54
Last Modified : 17 Oct 2019 07:54

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