12 October 2018

Research pick: A flight of fancy - "Consumer willingness to pay for new airports that use renewable resources"

Given the environmental pressures that society faces today, is there room for the concept of an eco-airport? And, if so, might airline passengers be willing to pay more to fly from such an airport if it means that the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of their journey are somehow offset by the airport’s “green” credentials? Researchers in the USA have carried out a study with over 1100 participants in an attempt to find out.

They found that most participants were willing to pay for the development of a green airport if it was to have significant environmental benefits. Indeed, anger and disgust were felt towards the idea of having to for a new airport that did not use renewable resources. The team reports that “As awareness of climate change, and its consequences, continues to grow, support for eco-friendly practices have steadily increased. Current behavioural trends indicate that consumers favour eco-friendly businesses utilising green initiatives.”

The team suggests that the findings should be reflected in new design procedures for future airports and even for the upgrading of existing airports. “Developers can [thus] accommodate a changing attitude in the current and future society while cutting operational costs,” the team concludes.

Walters, N.W., Rice, S., Winter, S.R., Baugh, B.S., Ragbir, N.K., Anania, E.C., Capps, J. and Milner, M.N. (2018) ‘Consumer willingness to pay for new airports that use renewable resources’, Int. J. Sustainable Aviation, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.79–98.

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