Last week in travel: European air industry pledges to reach net-zero emissions

48.9 million Americans to travel for Independence Day, while airlines might remove no-show clauses from tickets, and Malaysia is set to open a 1,140m waterslide

European airport industry has made yet another step towards a more sustainable future of travel. At the latest ACI Europe Annual Congress & General Assembly in Cyprus last week, major airport operators have pledged to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. 

 

194 airports run by 40 airport operators across 24 European countries support the pledge — Shutterstock. Last week in travel: European air industry pledges to reach net-zero emissions
194 airports run by 40 airport operators across 24 European countries support the pledge — Shutterstock

Based on current traffic volumes at Europe’s airports — 2.34 billion passengers welcomed in 2018 — and estimated carbon footprint, the new net-zero commitment could eliminate a total of 3.46 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions as of 2050.

194 airports run by 40 airport operators across 24 European countries have supported the new commitment.

“Europe’s airports have been leading climate action with annual reductions announced every year for the past decade,” said Michael Kerkloh, president of ACI Europe and CEO of Munich Airport.

“43 of them have actually become carbon neutral, supported by the global industry standard Airport Carbon Accreditation. However, the commitment brings a new dimension to this — no offsets. Crucially, with its NetZero2050 commitment, the airport industry is aligning itself with the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the vast majority of EU countries.”

The new pledge is not the first time European airports have committed to climate protection. In 2017, the industry pledged to have 100 carbon neutral airports by 2030. 

“Europe’s airports have already started delivering, and I am confident that many will reach net zero before 2050,” Kerkloh added.

“There are already 3 net-zero airports in Europe: Luleå, Ronneby and Visby – operated by the Swedish airport operator, Swedavia. Swedavia aims to achieve net zero emissions for all its airports including Stockholm-Arlanda by 2020 along with Hamburg airport by 2022 — while Amsterdam-Schiphol, Eindhoven and Copenhagen airports have set this goal for 2030.”

Airlines urged to get rid of no show clauses 

Last week might have meant some real changes in the whole air travel industry in general. Apart from the greener vision mentioned above, major players in the sector might also significantly change conditions for customers. 

To protect passengers from getting charged by airlines in case of the missed first leg of a return flight, British agency Which? is urging the Civil Aviation Authority to ban rip-off no-show clauses. 

Currently, airlines can charge passengers for no show if they miss the first leg of their trip. Apart from the additional charge, the carriers cancel their returning leg. In many cases, the carrier then resells the cancelled seats to other passengers with no refund provided to the original traveller. 

Caroline Normand, Which? director of advocacy, said: “It’s totally unreasonable for an airline to cancel a passenger’s return flight — often without warning — simply because they’ve missed the first leg of their journey.

“Airlines have been able to cash in with this tactic for too long – leaving people miserable, stranded and hundreds if not thousands of pounds out of pocket.

“If airlines are not going to do the right thing and stop this disgraceful practice on their own, the Civil Aviation Authority should step in and ban these rip-off clauses.”

Record 48.9 million Americans are set to travel for Independence Day

Americans planning to travel for Independence Day should expect unprecedented traffic volumes.

 

This year’s much-loved family road trip time will be one for the record books — Shutterstock Last week in travel: European air industry pledges to reach net-zero emissions
This year’s much-loved family road trip time will be one for the record books — Shutterstock

According to a recent report by AAA, this year’s 4 July will be the busiest so far. More than 48.9 million Americans are expected to hit the road, which is an increase of about 4.1 per cent over last year.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much-loved family road trip, and this year, it will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. 

“This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast-to-coast are eager to travel.

One of the main reasons why more Americans are expected to travel over the coming weeks could be lower gas prices. 

“Gas prices are, on average, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July 4th holiday,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA’s gas price expert.

“More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”

Malaysia to open world’s longest water slide

1,140 metres and more than four minutes of adrenaline and joy. Welcome to Escape in Penang, Malaysia — home to the world’s new longest water slide.

The new permanent attraction will open this summer. It is based on a 70m slope covered in natural forest and tree canopies. With its unprecedented length, the slide beats current record holder — Action Park in New Jersey — by more than 500m.

 

Being situated on the top of a hill, guests will have the option to go up by a cable car, saving hundreds of steps. 

“I’m always baffled by how rides are made so short and quick. I wanted to build rides that last a good few minutes with non-stop smiles and giggles as visitors fly through the rainforest,” Sim Choo Kheng, CEO Sim Leisure Group which runs the Escape park, said in a statement. 

The Sim Leisure Group added that they aim to preserve the environment as as much as they can. That is why they didn’t use any heavy machinery to create the new rides, with most of the work being done manually.