Escalating pressure from investors is pushing airlines to address environmental concerns, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which acknowledged that the trend toward “flight-shaming” could weigh on the industry’s future growth.
Speaking at a conference in London where airlines vied to demonstrate plans to decarbonise, Iata said the climate was now “top of the agenda” for investors.
Citing HSBC research, Iata’s chief economist, Brian Pearce, said climate issues came up an average of seven times on each call between European airlines and investors in 2019, compared with an average of less than once per earnings call between 2013 and 2017.
Pearce said: “Climate change is not just an issue for protesters or scientists. You can see the spike this year. This is on the top of the agenda for mainstream investors now. We’re getting pressure from all quarters.”
He said flygskam, or flight-shaming – the trend towards making air travel socially unacceptable due to its carbon cost – “could be a factor slowing growth in the future”.