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Kabul airport ready for international flights: Afghanistan civil aviation body

Afghanistan‘s civil aviation body said that the Kabul airport is ready for international flights and technical issues have been resolved in recent days, a media report said.

The country’s civil aviation authority announced on Saturday that Kabul airport is completely operational, domestic flights have started at the airport and the facility is ready for international flights to resume normal activity, according to TOLOnews.

In recent days, the airport has received some flights from Qatar, Pakistan and the UAE.

Mohammad Naeem Salehi, a spokesperson for the country’s civil aviation body, said that the department has written to neighbouring countries and the international community asking them to resume flights at the airport.

“Technically, there is no problem ahead of international flights. We are looking to find answers from neighbouring countries about whether they will start flights to Kabul airport or not. Currently, domestic flights are continuing,” TOLOnews quoted Salehi as saying.

Meanwhile, some Afghans — who obtained Iran and Pakistan visas — have complained that the ticket prices have severely surged recently in Kabul.

Locals have complained that either the tickets are not available and if available, the cost is very high.

Some operators of tourism companies have also said that the prices of air travel have increased in Kabul.

Masoud Bina, head of the Afghanistan tourism companies union, said, “Prices for international flights have increased. The price of Pakistan tickets was USD 150 to 200 and now they have climbed to $1,200 dollars.” 


Tourists, industry in limbo after EU drops US from safe travel list

It is up to individual countries to decide whether to follow the EU’s recommendation.

The EU’s decision to take the United States off its approved travel list, just months after it was included, has upset the travel industry — but it doesn’t bring transatlantic travel to a crashing halt.

EU countries agreed to take the U.S. off the list Monday, in a decision that also saw Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia dropped.

The move means U.S. travelers could once again face restrictions on nonessential trips to Europe, although countries can lift that ban for fully vaccinated tourists.

The “decisive” factor was a surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S., an EU diplomat said. The country, which is dealing with a daily average of 155,000 newly reported infections, had previously been placed on a “watch list” as a result of climbing case numbers, according to two diplomats.

The EU last year recommended that countries put a temporary stop on nonessential trips from outside the EU, arguing that a coordinated approach was crucial in convincing governments to lift travel restrictions within the bloc.

Its list of non-EU countries from which travel is nonetheless considered safe is updated every two weeks, based on an assessment of criteria such as the countries’ health status, their approach to the pandemic, the trustworthiness of their data and their willingness to reciprocate. 

Because the EU’s recommendation is nonbinding, the impact of the decision to remove the U.S. from the list will depend on whether individual countries choose to follow it — something that is not yet clear.

It’s in countries’ interest — and that of the EU’s free-travel zone — that they follow EU travel measures, for the sake of coherence, but “it is, and remains, a recommendation,” one EU diplomat said.

Croatia, for instance, has taken a more liberal approach to travel from outside the EU, allowing third-country nationals traveling for tourist reasons to enter with a negative test or proof of vaccination or recovery. SPONSORED BY CECIMOabout:blankSCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Mato Franković, the mayor of Dubrovnik, said in an interview earlier this month: “You see that things are pretty much under control … even if we have really a lot of people now in all destinations throughout Croatia.”

For the travel industry, the decision spells trouble.

The decision “is extremely disappointing for Europe’s airlines and our ailing tourism sector,” Jennifer Janzen, of airline lobby group A4E, said Monday, arguing that “with the spread of the Delta variant in communities on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s clear that air travel is not the source.”

The recommendation is “bad news” for travel agents, too, Eric Drésin, secretary-general of industry group ECTAA, said. Besides expected business losses, which risk “further fragilizing the companies,” the decision “shows that we are still in the midst of the pandemic,” he said, warning that it would be a blow to people’s confidence that they can travel safely.

Both called on U.S. and EU decision-makers to lift restrictions for travelers who got vaccinated, tested, or who have recovered from the virus.


We urgently need to kickstart tourism’s recovery but crisis offers an opportunity to rethink it

  • With vaccination advancing in most developed economies, we would have expected the tourism situation today to be significantly better than this time last year. Sadly, it is not.
  • Less than 10 years away from our global goal of ensuring shared prosperity by 2030, we need to kickstart tourism’s recovery for the millions who have been left struggling.
  • We must look beyond the immediate restart of tourism – this crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism policies and management.

This should be the time of year when people are packing suitcases and travel documents for their summer holidays – at least in the northern hemisphere. For many economies, these months are critical, and millions of businesses and workers are eager for tourists to return, especially given how badly the sector has already been hit.

Last year was catastrophic for tourism and the millions of people who depend on it. After six decades of extraordinary growth, the sector was brought to a near-complete standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic.

International tourist arrivals fell to levels not seen since 1990. We estimate that the crisis has cost the world about $4 trillion and placed over 100 million direct tourism jobs at risk. The impact is so big because of the numerous suppliers and businesses that are linked to the core sector. To put these numbers into perspective, the impact is almost equivalent to the GDP of France.

Slow progress

With vaccinations being rolled out in most developed economies, we would have expected the situation today to be significantly better than this time last year. Unfortunately, it is not.

So, what has happened? On the one hand, relatively slow progress in vaccination puts many tourism workers at risk, thus affecting the supply side. Tourism workers in developing economies, including destinations such as small island developing states, where tourism is a lifeline and a key driver of development, are particularly at risk.

On the other hand, travellers’ confidence is affected by the ever-changing travel restrictions that cannot be eased or lifted right now, particularly in light of new variants of the virus emerging and in the absence of sufficient roll-out of vaccinations.

Added to that, we have the costs of tests, a lack of coordination and clarity over regulations in place at destinations, limited international cooperation, the cancellation or rescheduling of flights, and general uncertainty about the evolution of the virus. It is small wonder so many people remain wary of travelling.

But tourists – and their money – are so needed right now. International tourism is a vital source of income for many countries. The foreign exchange earned through tourism is in many places a critical source for funds to finance public spending, investment for much-needed payment of relief and recovery measures, and for servicing debt repayments that have been piling up.

Tourism’s impact goes beyond economics. The sector is a key pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a unique ability to contribute to most – if not all – of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including through providing opportunities for youth and women, and helping preserve and promote natural and cultural heritage.

Kickstarting the recovery

We are now less than 10 years away from our global goal of ensuring shared prosperity by 2030. The pandemic has put our joint progress on hold. We thus need urgent action. We need to kickstart tourism’s recovery for the millions who, for more than a year now, have been left struggling.

First and foremost, we need to collectively ensure that vaccination is equitably available across the world. One key concern is that developing countries, many of which are highly dependent on international tourism, are bearing the heaviest brunt of the uneven vaccination roll-out. Addressing this will require unprecedented levels of cooperation. However, while leaders have pledged their commitment to international solidarity, their words are yet to be backed up by actions.

On our side, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the UN World Tourism Organization are leading the way in providing clear, updated and trusted data and analysis used by governments and businesses to inform recovery policies and decision-making.

Countries should also ensure that their tourism businesses of all sizes can survive the current crisis so that the power of the sector can be tapped when tourists return. This requires measures such as credit lines for tourism businesses and the provision of social protection for tourism workers.

In addition, digital technologies need to be used to increase security and boost travellers’ confidence. It is also time to step up digitalization among companies and the tourism workforce, upskilling the sector to become more resilient. Aviation

What is the World Economic Forum doing to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint?

As other sectors proceed to decarbonize, the aviation sector could account for a much higher share of global greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century than its 2%-3% share today.

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) can reduce the life-cycle carbon footprint of aviation fuel by up to 80%, but they currently make up less than 0.1% of total aviation fuel consumption. Enabling a shift from fossil fuels to SAFs will require a significant increase in production, which is a costly investment.

The Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) Coalition is a global initiative driving the transition to sustainable aviation fuels as part of the aviation industry’s ambitious efforts to achieve carbon-neutral flying.

The coalition brings together government leaders, climate experts and CEOs from aviation, energy, finance and other sectors who agree on the urgent need to help the aviation industry reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The coalition aims to advance the commercial scale of viable production of sustainable low-carbon aviation fuels (bio and synthetic) for broad adoption in the industry by 2030. Initiatives include a mechanism for aggregating demand for carbon-neutral flying, a co-investment vehicle and geographically specific value-chain industry blueprints.

At the same time, we must look beyond the immediate restart of tourism. This crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism. For instance, so-called “overtourism” had been a concern in many places prior to the pandemic.

Now is the moment to redesign and adjust tourism policies and management, including through greater diversification, more innovative products and the revitalisation of rural areas. Across the world, people have started to rediscover their own countries through domestic tourism and this offers an opportunity to spread the sector’s benefits more widely.

As we enter another peak travel season with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, we need to face up to the fact that the crisis confronting tourism is far from over.

Last year, we set out three possible scenarios for the pandemic’s expected impact on the sector. The worst-case scenario turned out to be too optimistic. And this year, even in the most optimistic scenario, we will still be 60% below the levels of 2019.

But again, this should be seized as an opportunity to realign the sector towards greater sustainability and inclusivity rather than simply going back to the way we were before. Tourism is the sector with the broadest economic value chain and the deepest social footprint. Herein lies the opportunity to rethink, restart and to grow back better. But first, we need to restart tourism.



Global demand for passenger air travel (measured in paid passenger-kilometers, RPK) was down 66.7% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, showing the difficult situation of the global airline industry considering the pandemic. The data was released last week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA disclosed that demand for international air travel in June fell by 80.9% compared to June 2019. On the domestic side, which has shown to be stronger, demand fell 22.4% taking the same basis of comparison.

The sector’s positive side continues to be cargo transportation, whose demand grew by 8% in the first half of this year compared to 2019. In June, the growth in demand for cargo was 9.9% compared to June 2019.

IATA director-general Willie Walsh stressed that the industry is in a period of recovery, but still has many challenges.

“Demand for cargo is at a good moment. I believe air carriers are responsible for sustaining supply,” he said in a reference to the smaller space to carry parcels in the belly of aircraft given the drop in passenger flights.

Walsh said the international scenario is still quite short of the ideal. “I don’t think it’s what we expected. We know how important international demand is for this sector. But there is evidence that vaccination is succeeding. We see the disparity between people vaccinated and those in hospitals. The evidence is clear that fully vaccinated people should not be prevented from traveling”.

Despite the growth of vaccination against COVID-19 around the world, nations have shown resistance in reopening borders. According to data compiled by IATA, three out of four countries have put in place international traffic restrictions by June 2021 – either through full lockdown, quarantine measures or a ban on travelers entering from higher-risk countries.

An association survey of 182 countries said 23 had the market completely closed to international traffic in June and 60 had restrictions on higher-risk regions. In addition, 52 required quarantine measures for travelers originating from countries with high contamination. Only 46 presented an open market to travelers, imposing measures such as proof of vaccination.

The figure is very similar to an identical survey done in January this year, where 28 nations were completely closed, 67 had restrictions in some regions, 44 enforced quarantine measures in regions with higher risk, and 43 did not enforce restrictions.

The similarity between the numbers stunned the association, as the number of people vaccinated was zero in January. By June, many countries had already administered around 70 doses of the vaccine for every 100 inhabitants. “It is illogical to prevent vaccinated people from travelling”, Walsh said.

According to the IATA director-general, opening up the international market is key. “International air travel is not just a holiday. It connects people and routes. It connects business. This has a big effect not only for the airline industry or tourism,” he said.


Tourism officials warn new restrictions on air travel will cripple industry

Seeking to curb the Delta variant Israel adds 18 countries, including the US, to its COVID-19 travel warning list. Tourism industry official: This is collective punishment over the government’s failure to enforce other restrictions.

Tourism industry officials warned Tuesday that the government’s decision to add a host of popular travel destinations to the list of COVID-19 watch would cripple the sector, which has barely begun recovering from being virtually paralyzed during the height of the global pandemic, which saw most countries close their skies and ban all nonessential air travel.

In its effort to stop the spread of the Delta variant, Israel’s so-called coronavirus cabinet added 18 countries to its travel warning list.

The move means that all those returning from these countries, including vaccinated individuals, will be required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days, pending two negative COVID-19 tests.

The newly added countries are Ukraine, Italy, Iceland, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), the United States, Botswana, Bulgaria, Germany, Netherlands, Tanzania, Greece, Malawi, Egypt, Czech Republic, France, Cuba, Rwanda, and Tunisia.

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee approved the list on the recommendation by the Health Ministry.

The measure was originally supposed to go into effect on Friday but was postponed until Wednesday, August 11.

The 18 new travel destinations join a host of previously flagged countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Guatemala, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Fiji, Colombia, and Cambodia.

The Health Ministry has approved removing Uganda, Seychelles, Zambia, Liberia, Panama, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Kenya from the list of high-risk travel destinations as of Friday.

Currently, the list of countries to which Israelis are barred from traveling altogether over their morbidity rates includes Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.

Traveling to these countries requires the permission of the government’s Exceptions Committee. Traveling to these destinations sans said approval carries a fine of 5,000 shekels ($1,500).

Senior tourism industry officials leveled harsh criticism at the government over the decision, telling Israel Hayom that it was akin to “collective punishment” over the government’s failure to enforce other restrictions placed on public life.

“We weren’t even told this [additional air travel restrictions] was up for discussion. Everything happened within two to three hours and they [the ministers] just made this decision under everyone’s noses,” one official said.

Calling the decision “delusional,” he further warns it would trigger mass layoffs.

“The problem isn’t with people flying, the problem is that the Health Ministry doesn’t know how to deal with people who violate quarantine and outline an orderly policy, so they punish everyone. Why were there no representatives of the [tourism] industry in this meeting? Something is happening here in contrast to what is happening in most other Western countries.”

Eshet Tours CEO Ephraim Kramer also panned the decision saying it spells “the de-facto shuttering of Ben-Gurion International Airport.”

He, too, criticized the fact that the Health Ministry had not made the criteria by which countries are flagged as high-risk COVID destinations public, saying, “Where’s the transparency vis-à-vis the industry and the public? What was the basis to bar travel to Germany and Bulgaria, where morbidity is lower than in Israel?

“The government is undermining its own interests by infringing on Israeli’s freedom of movement as well as the freedom of occupation of travel agents.”

Nir Mazor, vice president of Aviation Links, said that “expanding the list of countries that require quarantine even for vaccinated individuals deals another blow to the Israeli aviation and tourism industries.

“It is precisely against the backdrop of the important discussion about [health] awareness and the importance of motivating young people to get vaccinated, they [the government] chose to eliminate one of the main benefits stated at the beginning of the vaccination campaign – being exempt from quarantine.

“This decision is in stark contrast to the global trend of tourism opening again,” he explained. “The Western world, the United States, Britain, and Europe are currently maintaining air travel routines that are very close to pre-corona numbers, with an emphasis on free movement for vaccinated individuals, while the ‘world’s most-vaccinated country’ does the opposite.

“At the very least, the state must create an assistance mechanism for the companies and the thousands of workers who are again left behind without any lifeline,” he said.


Virgin Atlantic rolls-out Covid-19 testing to crew

Virgin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to introduce Covid-19 pre-flight testing at its Heathrow base for its cabin crew and pilots.

Launched on flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong, the airline plans to extend the trial to Barbados and select services later in October, before a wider roll out to test every operating crew at least once per month. 

In partnership with GeneMe UK, the official distributor of the Frank test, the airline trial is offering crew and pilots a rapid Point of Care Covid-19 RT Lamp test.

Through integration with the digital ID platform Yoti, the test process is fast, secure, paperless and does not require a lab.

After a swab is taken on-site, results are processed and delivered on the Yoti app within 30 minutes. 

Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: “The introduction of onsite pre-flight Covid-19 testing for our crew and pilots ensures we remain at the forefront of the aviation industry’s safe return to the skies.

“As testing technology and Covid-19 requirements around the world develop, we want to utilise technology that is relevant, accurate and available to keep our teams and customers healthy and safe.

“While the Covid-19 testing landscape evolves, we continue to be in discussions with multiple providers offering different technologies to guarantee the best solution possible, while absolutely ensuring that we do not compete with the NHS for vital resources.”

He added: “This trial is a first step in our phased plan to introduce regular testing for all of our teams in the air and on the ground, in order to instil confidence in flying.

“However, we continue to call for the swift introduction of a wider coordinated passenger testing regime.

“We need urgent action from UK and US governments to introduce pre departure testing, to remove the need for quarantine and to minimise travel restrictions, while protecting public health and half a million UK jobs associated with the sector.”

UK’s easyJet cuts capacity as quarantine restrictions widen

British airline easyJet is reducing its flying schedule after demand has been hit by frequent changes in government restrictions on travel, including quarantine measures.

The airline said on Tuesday it expected to fly slightly less than the previously planned 40 percent of capacity in the three months ending Sept. 30, its fiscal fourth quarter, and that it could not give earnings guidance for either this or next fiscal year.

It had said only last month that it had been encouraged by higher-than-expected bookings following the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, and as a result had decided to expand its schedule for the current quarter.

England has imposed a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from countries including France and Spain, and it added seven Greek islands to the list on Monday. Other countries in the United Kingdom have taken similar measures.

“Following the imposition of additional quarantine restrictions to seven Greek Islands and the continued uncertainty this brings for customers, demand is now likely to be further impacted and therefore lower than previously anticipated,” easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said.

“We know our customers are as frustrated as we are with the unpredictable travel and quarantine restrictions,” he added.

Shares in easyJet, which have lost 55 percent of their value since the start of 2020, were down 6 percent at 591 pence in early deals.

Lundgren said it was difficult to overstate the impact on the industry of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government policies.

He said the aviation sector needed specific support, including the removal of air passenger duty for at least 12 months and the alleviation of air traffic control charges.

EasyJet is cutting 4,500 jobs across Europe and is closing its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle airports as a result of the pandemic. 


Emirates and flydubai renew codeshare partnership

Emirates and flydubai customers can now access a wider range of travel options around the world.

Following the progressive resumption of passenger flights to global destinations, the two Dubai-based airlines have revived their strategic partnership to offer customers increased connectivity.

Emirates customers can now travel on codeshare flights to over 30 destinations on flydubai, while flydubai customers have over 70 destinations they can travel to on Emirates.

Some of the favourite flydubai destinations for Emirates passengers include Belgrade, Bucharest, Kyiv, Sofia and Zanzibar.

Commenting on the renewal of the partnership, Adnan Kazim, Emirates chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted to announce that our customers can once again take advantage of the complementary strengths of Emirates and flydubai to access an enhanced network of cities on a single ticket and integrated loyalty programme.

“The partnership has crossed a number of successful milestones since its inception in 2017 and over the coming months, Emirates and flydubai will be working together to re-open even more of the world for our customers.”

Emirates and flydubai will offer travel experiences reflecting their individual brands while keeping the health and safety of customers and employees on the ground and in air as their top priority.

The two airlines have each implemented extensive safety measures to combat Covid-19 at every step of the customer’s journey including enhanced sanitisation of all touchpoints and advanced HEPA filters fitted in aircraft cabins to eliminate dust, allergens and germs from the cabin air.

Hamad Obaidalla, chief commercial officer at flydubai, said: “We are confident that the demand for travel will continue to increase as more countries gradually start to lift restrictions on international travel.

“flydubai has restarted operations to 32 points around the network since June and we expect the number to steadily grow over the next few months.

“Dubai has put strong health and safety protocols in place which has encouraged well-informed passengers to travel, whether for business, leisure or to reunite with their loved ones.”

He added: “We remain agile in our approach to maximise the utilisation of our fleet by supporting government efforts to operate repatriation flights and increasing cargo-only operations.

“Our partnership with Emirates will continue to facilitate a more seamless flow of passengers and cargo across our combined networks in the recovery phase.”


How Can Tourism Boards Attract Airlines?

Both airlines and airports have access to a lot of data. Whether that’s from their own knowledge base or industry tools, they already know on paper whether a route will work or not. But does that tell the whole story?

We discussed route development at the recent AviaDev Europe conference, and in particular how tourism boards can get involved in the process. Although traditionally conversations about new routes will happen between airlines and airports, more and more we’re now seeing tourism boards becoming involved in order to increase the attractiveness of the destination to airlines.

Moreover, a new airline route ticks so many boxes for a tourism board too, why wouldn’t they want to be involved in developing new routes?

The things tourism boards know that airlines want to know

Airlines know a great deal about routes and connectivity. In fact, by the time an airline comes to meet with an airport, they will almost certainly already be fairly confident that, on paper at least, the route could work. However, they are still likely to be touting for business around a number of airports, so what can tourism boards do to sway their opinion?

As Becca Rowland from MIDAS Aviation said at the event,

“Just because you have a great business case doesn’t mean that you’re going to win it. You’re up against everyone else who are also presenting great business cases. Your case has to be more convincing.”

Traffic potential is a big one. It’s easy enough to look at schedules and gaps to be filled, to pore over reams of hard data. But is this really necessary? Becca says not.

“The airlines that airports are talking to also have all of that data; they have bigger computers, bigger teams, they have more analysis and they are analysing every day. What they don’t have is your local knowledge. That’s the bit that makes your business case different.”

Becca gave some examples of the forms of knowledge that tourism boards will often have at the tips of their fingers that airlines will not have and will find hard to get. Things like local festivals, upcoming conferences, new local hotels opening… all these things serve to strengthen the business case and help an airline make the right decision. She said,

“Don’t underestimate the value of your local knowledge.”

Building the business case

Without a doubt, airlines love numbers, but there’s no point in trying to replicate the numbers that they already have at their disposal. Tourism boards and airports should be working towards presenting those numbers that airlines don’t have access to. Managing Director at AviaDev Europe, Juraj Toth, gave some examples:

  • Catchment area: Any airline can draw a circle around an airport and call it a catchment area, but what they don’t know is how easily connected (or not) that airport is. Local knowledge about MRT links, express highways and other infrastructure can suddenly make that catchment area much more appealing.
  • Economic details: A big population doesn’t always mean a great propensity to travel. Knowing more about the buying power of the people in the catchment, things like income data, age and other demographics, can improve the outlook for potential passenger flow.
  • Industry: Tourism boards should present a list of the biggest companies in the local area, showing their need to travel and their connections to other destinations.

Of course, there’s one part that the tourism board can do far better than anyone else in the room, and that’s to sell the destination. As Juraj said at the event,

“People fly to destinations, not airports”

While I know a few people who would happily fly to Singapore just to spend the day at Changi, I guess we’re in the minority here, and most people do indeed fly to destinations. As the face of the destination, tourism boards have a unique opportunity to really sell the attractions and the benefits of their local area to the airline, which will undoubtedly help to convince that airline that selling tickets on their flights is going to be a breeze.

AviaDev Europe will be taking place again in November 2020. In the meantime, Simple Flying is working with AviaDev again towards AviaDev Africa 2020, the premier forum dedicated to growing connectivity to, from and within the African continent.


Does Flight-Shaming Over Climate Change Pose An Existential Threat To Airlines?

Jet aircraft have been flying in airline service since the ill-fated DeHavilland Comet in 1952. Flying was so glamorous that the term “jet set” was coined to described the envied international social group of wealthy people who hop-scotched around the world in what were presumed to be luxurious jet airliners.

Jet travel may no longer be as glamourous, but it’s become vastly more popular. Some 4.6 billion passengers are expected to take wing in 2019, supporting a trillion-dollar travel industry. But not if a growing group of European “flight shamers” and climate change protestors have their way.

Concerned about global climate change, a growing group of Northern European activists have begun to just say no to airline travel. Will such protests gain the momentum achieved by the anti-fossil fuel movement, as over one thousand institutional investors representing $6 trillion in funds have pledged fossil fuel divestment?

The Swedish-born “anti-flying” movement has grown, and its arresting if somber slogans like “flygskam” (“flight shame”) and “tågskryt,” (“train brag”) are being translated into many languages. One flight-boycotting British attorney, who formerly loved to travel, told Reuters, “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but when you look at the issues around climate change, then the sacrifice all of a sudden becomes small.”

“We should all fly less, the future of this planet is at stake,” said actress Dame Emma Thompson. But showing just how difficult such change is, her British Airways flight to London to support the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests reportedly generated two tons of carbon dioxide for each First Class passenger, such as Thompson. A British newspaper noted that the Extinction Rebellion group “insisted that the tons of carbon her flight produced for her to be at their protest was an ‘unfortunate cost in our bigger battle to save the planet’.”

Airline travel is now considered responsible for almost 3% of global carbon emissions today. Left unchecked, emissions will grow along with airline passenger traffic, expected to grow at a 3.5% per year clip through 2036, when 8.2 billion passengers will travel by air.

Anti-airline sentiment seems to have crossed the pond from Europe to America as well. A proposed Green New Deal bill called for the United States to “build out highs-peed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” In an early FAQ, its authors wrote, “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”

The airline industry mocks such sentiment at its own peril. Although it failed this time around, the Green New Deal proposal was signed by Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and 67 Congressional co-signers, and may well be a significant issue in the 2020 US elections.

The response of the airline industry has so far been uncertain. At the just-concluded International Air Transport Association (IATA) 75th Annual General Meeting, IATA head Alexandre de Juniac said “Come on, stop calling us polluters,” to reporters at a news conference launching IATA’s ‘global imitative’ to reduce emissions.

The airline industry is announcing a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreed through the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization. The goal of CORSA is to cap net CO2 emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels, even as passenger and flight growth continues. This is called carbon-neutral growth, or CNG. “Between 2020 and 2035 (CORSA) will mitigate over 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 and generate at least $40 billion in finance for carbon reduction initiatives,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Global initiatives or not, the airline industry has limited options in terms of how it can continue to grow while cutting emissions, at least in the near future. Having attended the “launches” of three non-flying mockups of eVTOL aircraft (electric vertical take-off and landing) in the last few months, it’s clear that battery-powered, hybrid gas/electric and hydrogen-fueled power plants are a long way from propelling light helicopter-like craft, let alone Airbus A380 replacements.

What could fuel big jets and cut carbon emission are the so-called biofuels. But their availability is strictly limited, forcing the airlines to continue using aviation fuel. Nonetheless, IATA has a 2% target for sustainable fuel by 2025, when additional sources will hopefully come  online.

So what’s left? A number of airlines offer piecework “solutions”, such as the opportunity for passengers to pay more money on their ticket to “offset” the carbon emitted on their behalf. As one would imagine, such initiatives are not very popular. Even at the recent IATA conference only a handful of airline executives said they had purchased off-sets for their ticket to Seoul.

The Scandivanaian airline SAS just announced that it is ending on-board duty-free sales to reduce aircraft weight, save fuel and reduce carbon, as part of its overall strategy to cut emissions by 25% by 2030 (compared with a 2005 baseline.) While the announcement didn’t say how much weight would be saved, it’s hard to imagine it was the equivalent of even one passenger.

And what’s next? Will the airlines begin weighing passengers and charging them a carbon surcharge if they are over the prescribed weight for their height, or offer a “offset-discount” for the svelte?

The airline industry needs to proceed on two tracks if it is to continue to thrive. One, of course, is to explore every technological solution to reduce carbon emissions, from alternative fuels to alternative power plants. The second is to convince an increasingly skeptical public that the airline industry is not only doing everything it can to fight climate change, but that it has made measurable and important progress in doing so.

Otherwise, the multi-billion airline industry will prove a tempting target for ever more vehement climate protest.