Airline encourages passengers not to fly

View on the wing with the KLM airline name on the wingtip seen from a KLM Boeing 737 airplane flying high in the air

KLM has asked passengers to consider their environmental impact by recommending different forms of transport.

Airline CEO Pieter Elbers has invited air travellers to “make responsible decisions about flying” by advising potential customers to consider catching the train, where applicable.

“When we started 100 years ago, our major concern was your safety. Little did we know about the impact we would have on the environment,” Elbers said in an open letter.

This comes as part of the airline’s Fly Responsibly campaign that encourages airline solidarity to combat the issue of aircraft sustainability and urges airlines to join a corporate biofuel program.

According to figures reported by the not-for-profit Air Transport Action Group, global flights produced 859 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017, with the aviation industry contributing 2 per cent toward all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions.

KLM writes on its Fly Responsibly website that using sustainable fuel, which reduces the CO2 emissions from each flight by up to 85 per cent, is the most impactful change airlines can make on behalf of the environment.

But the airline has also insisted that travellers can be more environmentally conscious by considering alternatives to flying.

“In some cases, railway or other modes of transportation can be more sustainable than flying, especially for short distances such as within Europe,” KLM writes on its Fly Responsibly website. “KLM is a supporter of sustainable alternative models of transport for short distances instead of short-haul flights.”

Fly Responsibly invites airlines and passengers to fly carbon-neutral by using KLM’s CO2 compensation service, CO2ZERO, which reinvests the costs of offsetting emissions into Gold Standard reforestation projects.

According to a 2018 whitepaper by the International Council on Clean Transportation, KLM is currently among the most fuel-efficient airlines flying the transatlantic, but the airline insists that more efforts toward environmental sustainability are needed – and KLM can’t do it alone.

“We invite the aviation industry to join us in making the world aware of our shared responsibility,” Elbers said, adding: “We value competition, but we must work together in sustainable aviation.”

Looking for more ways to help your clients knuckle down on their carbon footprint? KLM has a few other tips to offset the environmental impacts of flying:

  • Pack light to reduce fuel consumption associated with weight
  • Choose eco-friendly accommodations
  • Consider making video calls instead of meeting face-to-face; and
  • Get informed about the sustainability of airlines.

“Even the smallest actions can make a serious impact. Every choice you make matters, so consider them carefully,” KLM writes.

Speaking of going green: Sustainability is the focus of Travel Weekly’s Travel DAZE – the travel industry’s only TED-x style event, with speakers including Former Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown, Australia’s most popular presenter Costa Georgiadis and head of travel at Google Michelle Allen!

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