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Lufthansa's CEO sees no "Greta effect" on the number of passengers

ZURICH (Reuters) – German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DEExpects the number of passengers to increase by about 4% this year, said its chief executive in a newspaper, downplaying public support for the teenage climate activist. , Greta Thunberg, could curb travel by plane.

FILE PHOTO: Carsten Spohr, CEO of German airline Lufthansa AG, speaks at the annual meeting of shareholders in Bonn, Germany on May 7, 2019. REUTERS / Wolfgang Rattay / File Photo

"At that time, we do not see restraint, quite the opposite," Carsten Spohr told the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag in the interview published Sunday.

"Compared to last year, already a record year, we expect a passenger growth of about 4%, (Lufthansa unit). Swiss International Air Lines is also growing. The discussion on climate change does not lead to restraint with reservations. People want to fly. "

The media reported that a "Greta effect" could reduce demand for air travel, referring to the 16-year-old woman who has attracted worldwide attention for her efforts to convince people to reduce carbon-emitting activities.

On Saturday, a group of about 80 protesters staged a "flying strike" at Zurich Airport, near the facilities of Swiss International Air Lines, singing songs, distributing leaflets and encouraging people to take action. To commit to not taking the plane in 2020.

There was no arrest and the demonstration dispersed without the intervention of the police.

Spohr quoted figures from the International Energy Agency that air travel produces 2.8% of the carbon dioxide of human origin.

He is frustrated by the fact that airlines are on the defensive for their contribution to reducing climate emissions.

"We have failed to explain that air transport positively influences the world: we connect countries, economies and societies," Spohr, an experienced pilot, told the newspaper. "In addition, we have been able to reduce our CO2 emissions per passenger for years."

Spohr said flights offered by discount or cheap airlines for only a few dollars hurt the image of the sector.

"They are making our industry the target of airspace criticism and congestion, as artificial demand is stimulated that would not exist if prices were realistic," he said. .

"There should not be flights under 10 euros."

He defended the Eurftings unit of Lufthansa which proposed flights under 35 euros, citing the need to defend its domestic market.

Friends of the Earth estimates that aviation emissions more than doubled between 1990 and 2016, while overall emissions decreased by 43%. In Europe, reduced aviation taxes, a proliferation of low-cost airlines like easyJet (EZJ.L) and Ryanair (RYA.I) and the rise of Airbnb have led to a boom in air travel.

Countries such as the Netherlands and France are trying to convince other European countries to end tax exemptions on airline and fuel tickets.

Reportage of John Miller; Edited by Mark Potter

Our standards:The principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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