Aviation in Canada: airline choices are limited as flight shaming expands

25 October, 2019

Airlines worldwide are taking flight shaming seriously, and although the movement is most prevalent in Europe, IATA has warned that it could spread to North America in the not too distant future.

As flight shaming prompts concerned activists to urge use of alternative means of travel, Canada's WestJet believes that Canada's geography does not easily lend itself to other travel choices.

"I honestly think people will look at flying, and say 'Do I have an alternative? Can I take a viable alternative?'" WestJet CEO Ed Sims told CAPA TV at the recent CAPA Canada Aviation Summit in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

But one thing that gives Mr Sims great comfort "in a market as vast as Canada is the sheer geography will mean that flying for many is a necessity of the way in which we move around this huge expansive land, rather than a luxury".

WestJet's CEO believes "it is probably the luxury and discretionary end that will feel the downdraft of flight shaming before those for who flying is simply an everyday fact of life".

But even if Canada's unique geography prevents travel alternatives available to consumers in other countries, Mr Sims said that North American and Canadian aviation needed to start at the forefront of development of biofuel and synthetic fuel alternatives.

Improving efficiency in day-to-day operations is also a key element of sustainability, Mr Sims added. He cited using required navigation procedures and approaches "that save hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel every single day on approach to a busy air space like Calgary".

It is fair to say the issue of flight shaming and sustainability has probably come later to the shores of Canada and the US, MR Sim concluded. But it is fair to say "there's a greater groundswell on the focus of sustainability focus on recyclables on emissions in Europe", he stated.

The CTC-CAPA Corporate Travel Gathering - Australia will tackle this topic head on, also discussing the impact to corporate programmes. To register visit, sydney19.capaevents.com