WORLD / EUROPE
European business travelers set to fly less after pandemic
Published: Apr 12, 2021 07:13 PM
Four in 10 European business travelers plan to fly less after COVID-19 travel restrictions are fully lifted, a survey showed  Monday, with many intending to stick to video conferences.

Passengers board Ryanair flight FR2190 to Malaga at London Southend Airport on July 1, 2020 in Southend-on-Sea, England. Photo: VCG

Passengers board Ryanair flight FR2190 to Malaga at London Southend Airport on July 1, 2020 in Southend-on-Sea, England. Photo: VCG


Changing habits during the pandemic and worries over climate change are likely to reduce business flights in the long term, suggested the YouGov poll for the philanthropic group European Climate Foundation, which supports a goal of zero emissions. "Flying for business meetings burns up time and money, as well as our climate," said Alethea Warrington, campaigner at climate action charity Possible, which was not involved in the poll.

"This polling shows that after a year of quick and easy virtual meetings, travelers aren't planning to go back to business as usual." Looking ahead, 40 percent of some 1,400 poll respondents said they would take fewer business flights when restrictions were lifted entirely, 38 percent would return to the same frequency, 13 percent would take more flights and 5 percent said they would stop flying for business.

The aviation industry has been hammered by new coronavirus restrictions, and is also coming under increasing pressure from climate campaigners to reduce its carbon footprint. Airline emissions, 2.5 percent of the global total, are set to triple by 2050.

After companies banned or severely restricted movements to protect staff and save on costs, flight bookings are starting to pick up with vaccine rollouts, but leading industry groups expect business travel globally to take years to recover.

Restrictions on air travel had no effect on job productivity for 55 percent of respondents - who were based in Britain, Denmark, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany - and worsened it for 26 percent and improved productivity for 19 percent. Forty-two percent of business travelers said they would fly less, 42 percent would fly just as often.
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