“Flygskam” is Swedish for “flight shame,” a rising headwind for the airline industry that is particularly strong in Sweden and Scandinavia. Climate studies show that airlines are a major factor in the increase in greenhouse gases. A European Commission study noted that someone flying from Europe to New York, and back, generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for an entire year.
Because of flying’s substantial cost to the environment, Europe has been experiencing activist and political opposition (flight shame) to flying, and a push toward trains and buses.
One big problem. In Europe, flying is far cheaper than trains. Ryanair, and its budget competitors, are offering intra-Europe flights for as little as $11 dollars. Moreover, even in Europe, where travel between major destinations is shorter, flying generally takes a fraction of the time.
While investors would be right to be concerned about the potential impact on airline investments, to date, there is no evidence of a slowing in demand for air travel.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA