SAS to end inflight duty-free sales to cut weight, emissions
5 June, 2019, 10:19 pm
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Scandinavian airline SAS will stop selling duty-free goods on board its flights to save fuel and inch closer to its goal of cutting emissions by at least 25 percent by 2030, it said on Tuesday.
The airline industry says it is working to shrink its carbon footprint as it battles a growing campaign launched in Sweden to encourage people to take fewer flights and take “greener” transport options, such as the train.
This has added to the challenge facing an industry that is already battling higher fuel prices and stiffer competition. SAS has also struggled with a pilot strike that grounded 4,000 flights earlier this year.
SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson said in May that SAS had seen some impact from the growing climate debate, with some Swedish companies encouraging employees to take the train instead of short-haul flights.
To show its commitment to tackling emissions blamed for global warming, the company said on Tuesday it would end tax-free onboard sales from the autumn to reduce fuel consumption of its planes by cutting the weight of its flights.
“Every step on the way to sustainable travel is important. Every initiative to reduce weight and thereby cut fuel consumption helps,” SAS executive vice president for commercial activities, Karl Sandlund, said in a statement.
A SAS spokeswoman said inflight duty-free sales had been falling and SAS was looking into alternative ways for passengers to buy goods that would have been bought during a flight.
The move by SAS, whose rivals includes Norwegian Air and Ryanair, follows a similar decision by Dutch airline KLM, which had cited a change in consumer demand patterns for ending duty-free sales.
SAS is also taking other initiatives, such as modernizing its fleet, examining the potential of biofuels and supporting efforts to develop electric and hybrid aircraft in partnership with Airbus.
Several airlines have in recent years attempted to reduce fuel costs through initiatives, including lighter seat products or, as in Finnair’s case, removing inflight print newspapers and magazines.
SAS said it would take other measures to reduce weight in coming months.