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taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:22 pm
Posted by wrencat1873 on Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:22 pm
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With air travel said to be the highest contributor to greenhouse gasses, should we all be taking fewer flights each year.
In direct conflict of any "green policy" the government is "stepping in" to save Flybe and to avoid conflict with competition rules etc, it would appear that all airlines will benefit, making air travel cheaper for all of us.
While the employees and customers of Flybe will be delighted that there is a stay of execution, are they (Flybe) so critical to connectivity in the UK and are they so much more important than the steel industry which is facing job losses and probably even more challenging trading conditions.

A cynic could be forgiven for thinking that the government is helping it's friends (again) and (still) doesn't give a toss about job losses "up north".
Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:38 pm
Posted by Scarlet Pimpernell on Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:38 pm
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They are only getting involved because it looks like they are protecting the North. Flybe do a large number of internal flights which the government know will not be taken over if they had failed. This would leave businesses unable to quickly travel between major cities.
We pay the highest air passenger duty (surprise surprise) but I doubt we take more flights per head of population than many others.I will not stop flying because I do not like staycations. When it comes to green policies this government always take the view that the best way to curb it is to tax it. We have the highest fuel tax, we now pay for plastic bags in addition to the APD. What do they do with this money also was it not the Conservatives that stopped subsidising the fitting of solar panels and housing insulation.
Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:41 pm
Posted by sally cinnamon on Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:41 pm
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Yes, far too many flights are unnecessary. Skype/video conferencing now means you don't need to fly to all these business meetings. I've worked at a firm that Skyped in regular meetings with staff in offices around the world. The only inconvenience was sometimes you'd need to attend outside regular office hours to accommodate time zones.

Of course you hear arguments like 'ah but what about the conferences'....how often does a conference really add anything to business productivity. It's mostly just a chance for bigwigs to do networking and get exposure.

The big problem with excessive flights is these superfluous business flights, usually execs who see 'frequent travel' as a perk of the job; and the proliferation of budget airlines which means everyone flies abroad as a default rather than holidaying in the UK.

And yes the milennial generation has to make serious changes here. I notice amongst the younger generation that I work with that whilst they are willing to go vegan, cut out single use plastic to help the environment, the non-negotiable that they won't give up is their capacity to fly cheaply to tick off different countries and get their instagram pics. It seems now to be accepted as a life duty of the younger generation to 'tick off every country' which means flying 4 or 5 times a year. In the early days its to go budget backpacking and then when they get more income and get a settled partner its shopping the best deals for 'weekend city breaks'.

This is one area where they could learn from the experience of the boomer generation, who probably spent their holidays while younger, in Brighton, Bournemouth, or parts of the Lake District, Scotland or Wales.

Much higher air passenger taxes are needed so people only fly when absolutely necessary.
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Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:18 pm
Posted by TrinityIHC on Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:18 pm
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sally cinnamon wrote:
Yes, far too many flights are unnecessary. Skype/video conferencing now means you don't need to fly to all these business meetings. I've worked at a firm that Skyped in regular meetings with staff in offices around the world. The only inconvenience was sometimes you'd need to attend outside regular office hours to accommodate time zones.

Of course you hear arguments like 'ah but what about the conferences'....how often does a conference really add anything to business productivity. It's mostly just a chance for bigwigs to do networking and get exposure.

The big problem with excessive flights is these superfluous business flights, usually execs who see 'frequent travel' as a perk of the job; and the proliferation of budget airlines which means everyone flies abroad as a default rather than holidaying in the UK.

And yes the milennial generation has to make serious changes here. I notice amongst the younger generation that I work with that whilst they are willing to go vegan, cut out single use plastic to help the environment, the non-negotiable that they won't give up is their capacity to fly cheaply to tick off different countries and get their instagram pics. It seems now to be accepted as a life duty of the younger generation to 'tick off every country' which means flying 4 or 5 times a year. In the early days its to go budget backpacking and then when they get more income and get a settled partner its shopping the best deals for 'weekend city breaks'.

This is one area where they could learn from the experience of the boomer generation, who probably spent their holidays while younger, in Brighton, Bournemouth, or parts of the Lake District, Scotland or Wales.

Much higher air passenger taxes are needed so people only fly when absolutely necessary.


I don't know about that, plenty of people on low incomes slave away all year to afford a week in the sun. I don't think they are the problem. Maybe some sort of frequent flyer tax would be more appropriate, that would discourage big business from flying all over the place.
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Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:27 pm
Posted by sally cinnamon on Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:27 pm
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If the tax goes up then if you slave away all year for a week in the sun then you only have to pay the tax once a year, frequent flyers pay it more often.

It gets harder to administer if the rate of tax you pay depends on checking how many times you've already flown in the year.

In any case, climate change is going to make the UK hotter so may as well sun it up in Scarborough or Skegness.
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Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:49 pm
Posted by WIZEB on Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:49 pm
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Flashman is our forum aviation expert.
What do you reckon pal?
Re: taking less flights
Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm
Posted by Cronus on Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm
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I'll be interested in hearing what this 'Flashman' has to say. In the meantime, I'll give my view.

All the government has done is defer payment of Flybe's APD bill, which was the crux of the issue in the first place. They're not throwing cash at them, though as part of the agreement Flybe's owners (including Virgin) will provide a relieving cash injection. Seems a reasonable outcome for a mostly viable airline - which many other the others lost recently weren't.

Sally - I can tell you now, "execs who see 'frequent travel' as a perk of the job" are few and far between. A cycle of airports, flights, taxis, hotels, meetings, conference, airports, flights, taxis, hotels gets VERY tiresome VERY quickly. Most of the time travel is a necessary evil. Those flying Business Class, taking limos and staying at top hotels might enjoy some of the perks, but the vast majority are in economy, taking taxis and staying in the cheapest reasonable standard hotel they can find, all the time counting the hours until they get home.

I do agree with you that people taking multiple flights a year is an issue. A 2-week holiday, a stag do, a weekend city break, Lapland at Xmas, and the rest. Some youngsters I know will 'do Ibiza' twice a summer. Of course some business flyers are equally guilty - I couldn't tell you how many flights I've taken for conferences and training courses across Europe and North America, most of which were not necessary at all. Some conferences can be useful, however I would certainly question the need for many.

And it's not just corporations. The volume of travel at universities and other academic institutions might surprise you. The biggest UK universities EACH spend between £10-14m a year on travel, of which approx £6-8m is on flights. Mid-sized universities are each spending £6-10m a year of which approx £3-6m is flights. There are a lot of universities. Is all of that 'necessary'?

The problem for businesses is that while Skype and the like have their place, in reality they deliver blo0dy awful and awkward meetings and there's a reason face-to-face remains the preferred option by a country mile.

Anyway back to Flybe. I'd have to check but I believe the nature of Flybe's smaller aircraft means they emit fewer GHGs per seat km than most commercial aircraft, certainly than older legacy aircraft. Airlines are working and investing as quickly as possible to decrease their carbon footprint, from using biofuels to hybrid or fully electric engines, electric airport vehicles, carbon offsetting programmes, carbon-neutral HQs and other initiatives, they know they need to improve enormously or face a backlash - which has already been seen in low numbers in some Scandi countries.

But there's a very long way to go and in the meantime if we're serious about emissions we need to ask whether the perpetual drive for economic growth is a positive, as it means more aircraft, more routes, ever expanding airports and all their associated emissions. Similarly, do we simply allow more and more leisure routes? My belief is airline routes must at some point be limited and schemes to limit and punish frequent flyers introduced. An steeply increasing FF tax for each flight taken in a year, for example.

Flybe are a pretty small airline but for those who use them, they are essential. They fly to and between destinations not available with most other carriers. For a short period I had to travel to Southampton a couple of times a month. Flybe were a godsend. I've also used them to overseas destinations not available by air from my departure point with anyone else. For those who rely on Flybe, they are more important than Thomas Cook. TUI and Jet2 and the rest are filling Thomas Cook's shoes (just as they did with Monarch) whereas the loss of Flybe would leave a damaging void in many areas.

And it's not just flying between small destinations - they also provide connectivity into some key international hubs, with onward codeshare agreements on some major international scheduled carriers. Other regional airlines have been lost in recent years, it makes sense to retain Flybe if possible.
Re: taking less flights
Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:35 am
Posted by Sal Paradise on Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:35 am
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sally cinnamon wrote:
Yes, far too many flights are unnecessary. Skype/video conferencing now means you don't need to fly to all these business meetings. I've worked at a firm that Skyped in regular meetings with staff in offices around the world. The only inconvenience was sometimes you'd need to attend outside regular office hours to accommodate time zones.

Of course you hear arguments like 'ah but what about the conferences'....how often does a conference really add anything to business productivity. It's mostly just a chance for bigwigs to do networking and get exposure.

The big problem with excessive flights is these superfluous business flights, usually execs who see 'frequent travel' as a perk of the job; and the proliferation of budget airlines which means everyone flies abroad as a default rather than holidaying in the UK.

And yes the milennial generation has to make serious changes here. I notice amongst the younger generation that I work with that whilst they are willing to go vegan, cut out single use plastic to help the environment, the non-negotiable that they won't give up is their capacity to fly cheaply to tick off different countries and get their instagram pics. It seems now to be accepted as a life duty of the younger generation to 'tick off every country' which means flying 4 or 5 times a year. In the early days its to go budget backpacking and then when they get more income and get a settled partner its shopping the best deals for 'weekend city breaks'.

This is one area where they could learn from the experience of the boomer generation, who probably spent their holidays while younger, in Brighton, Bournemouth, or parts of the Lake District, Scotland or Wales.

Much higher air passenger taxes are needed so people only fly when absolutely necessary.


People especially families go abroad for two reasons - the weather and cost. Two week in a hotel with a pool in the Lake district would be financially prohibitive - Centre parcs anyone!! The weather is very unpredictable too and anyone who has had kids nothing worse than miserable kids on what is supposed to be the highlight of their year.

I agree about business flights - many are completely unnecessary - but if you want to win work - Skype simply doesn't cut it. Its OK for internal communications and updates but that's it.

In terms of carbon air travel contributes a tiny amount 2/3% - its yet another rich-bashing exercise and the usual suspects on here have waded in.
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Re: taking less flights
Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:52 am
Posted by IR80 on Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:52 am
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Sal Paradise wrote:
its yet another rich-bashing exercise and the usual suspects on here have waded in.

yup, it will never change.
Re: taking less flights
Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:53 am
Posted by bren2k on Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:53 am
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Cronus wrote:
But there's a very long way to go and in the meantime if we're serious about emissions we need to ask whether the perpetual drive for economic growth is a positive, as it means more aircraft, more routes, ever expanding airports and all their associated emissions. Similarly, do we simply allow more and more leisure routes? My belief is airline routes must at some point be limited and schemes to limit and punish frequent flyers introduced. An steeply increasing FF tax for each flight taken in a year, for example.


I couldn't agree more with the first point; it's perverse to persist with the notion that GDP can continue to grow - given that growth is naturally constrained by the planet we live on and the resources available. There is a school of thought that talks about continued growth, but through investment in environmental projects - hence the Green New Deal - but I can't personally see anything other than a future in which constant production and consumption has to be curtailed.

Cronus is, by the way, in step with environmental campaigners in respect of frequent flyers and a progressive tax:

Environmental groups are calling on policymakers to constrain the total number of flights and limit further expansion of airports.

Policy proposals include a “frequent flyers’ levy” which would increase progressively with every flight a person takes in a year while minimising the impact on those who fly only occasionally.

“We don’t want to penalise hardworking families that perhaps travel abroad once a year for a holiday,” says Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth UK.

Childs cited a 2014 survey by the Department for Transport which revealed that 15% of the UK’s population took 70% of flights.

“We need to recognise that aviation is a luxury and we need to share that luxury fairly.”


It's juvenile to label this is being about envy or targeting the wealthy - it's much bigger than that.
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