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Experiments on consumer preferences for sustainable airlines

sustainable airlines

Through purposely designed experiments, this PhD project explores ways for airlines to engage with customers, supply chain partners, investors and regulators and incorporate new insights into their sustainability strategies as the industry transitions into the age of carbon neutrality.

Global aviation today accounts for 2.5% of all human-induced CO2. This proportion is expected to increase significantly by 2030 as aviation lacks the short-term technological solutions to decarbonise. There is growing concern from new generations of customer, supply chain partners, investors and regulators in the acceleration of climate change and aviation’s role in the world’s transition.

Whilst the industry is focusing on creating long-term solutions such as electrification and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) strategies, this project argues there is an opportunity for the industry to reduce emissions by examining its engagement with stakeholders in real-time as it paves way for the technological transition.


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Project background

Aviation is one of the most significant contributors towards climate change when calculated at an economic output level. Unlike the trajectory seen in road transportation, many technological solutions for airlines to decarbonise are still in early stages of development and won’t reach commercial scale until late 2020s. To meet ambitious emission reduction targets, airlines are increasingly pursuing carbon offset as part of their strategy.

However, the consumer adoption rate of carbon offset programs has remained low, due to the lack of transparency, credibility, knowledge, and standardisation as key barriers. Growing evidence suggests that the continued reliance on carbon offset could expose airlines to increased external pressure and be perceived as climate inaction which could negatively affect stakeholders’ attitude towards airlines.

The sentiments of a new generation of consumers, supply chain partners, lessors and investors and regulators are fast-changing. Relying on status quo while waiting for a technological solution is simply not an option.

Project objectives

Building on the existing knowledge, this proposal seeks to explore other non-technological solutions that can be incorporated into practical strategies to deliver measurable sustainability outcomes, including decarbonisation for airlines.

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