The sustainability of the travel and transport sectors was in the spotlight this week during the final days of COP26. Transport Day on the 10th of November saw business and world leaders discuss a plan of action for decarbonising aviation, with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) a key agenda item. Meanwhile, the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism was officially launched. The commitment, signed by leading tourism organisations and stakeholders, including the World Tourism Organisation, the Travel Foundation, and the European Tourism Association, will “help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful climate action”, and will set out plans for the responsible recovery of the sector.
In related news, ABTA and Deloitte have partnered to help the travel association’s members manage the changes needed to tackle the climate emergency. Deloitte will work with ABTA to engage senior industry leaders in transitioning to net zero.
The push for a more sustainable travel sector has also been reflected in the actions of airlines this week, with low-cost airline EasyJet joining the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign and pledging to reach net zero by 2050, and Tui committing to its “most ambitious sustainability strategy.” In the same vein, Virgin Atlantic boss Shai Weiss has called on the UK to ramp-up its production of sustainable aviation fuel, noting that the country is yet to develop a SAF production plant.
In other news, the travel retail sector is facing staffing challenges as the industry bounces back from Covid-19. To increase application rates, many are recruiting from outside the industry, providing new opportunities for apprenticeships and career changes. Meanwhile, Heathrow is currently recruiting for more than 600 frontline roles – a sure sign that the industry is on track for recovery.
And finally, in celebration of the reopening of the US for European travellers, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic performed a simultaneous take-off from both Heathrow runways. The matching Airbus A350-1000 aircrafts, both destined for JFK, took-off side-by-side in a historic manoeuvre – with Virgin touching down just ahead of BA on the other side of the Atlantic.