Air Travel and Consumerism News
Below are links to stories relating to air travel and consumerism.
Consumerism gone mad: Dubai Duty Free smashes all records with 30th anniversary sales of US$30.65 million
To mark its 30th anniversary, on 20th December, Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports set about beating their sales records for their anniversary day. Dubai Duty Free (DDF) set an all-time daily sales record with turnover of US $ 30.65 million. That is 40% more than on 20th December in 2012. They gave their customers up to 30% discounts, to get them to buy more and more. Dubai boasts that some of their customers even"book their flights in order to shop on that day.” By 6pm, DDF sales reached US $23.2 million and an amazing 158,931 transactions. By the end of the day it was US $30.65 million with 208,000 transactions. Sickening. Consumerism out of any reasonable scale. Perfume was the highest selling category with sales of US $8.5 million and representing 27.9% of the total daily sales. Watches & clocks was the second most popular category with sales of US$7 million. Cosmetics in 3rd place, category wise, with sales of US$3.9 million. Alcohol in 4th position followed by cigarettes. Other notable increases were seen in confectionery, which rose by 33% to US$1.2 million and delicatessen, which recorded US$619,000. That's airports and mindless, rampant consumerism for you.
Chiswick group says new hi-tech BA ‘Magic of Flying’ adverts may become ‘tragic roundabout’ if drivers distracted
BA hopes it has hit upon a dramatic new form of advertising, with massive ad billboards, near roads, which can detect the presence of a BA plane overhead. When one is detected, it plays a film of a child looking up excitedly at the plane, and then shows which flight it is, and where from. BA hope this will make viewers ".. dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination." and “We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be” (and get them to buy flights, of course). A bit of slick marketing. They have put one of the massive billboards at the Chiswick Roundabout, which is several hundred yards north of the northern runway approach path and has exceptionally heavy traffic. The local West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, which opposed the building of the advert towers originally, are very concerned the BA ads are a safety issue, distracting drivers. They say when the billboards were approved, the displays had to be "identical at all times and shall be static and two dimensional only with no moving or apparently moving images" etc, Hounslow Council need to decide if the BA ads breach their planning condition
Monbiot on our relentless and unceasing consumerism – and its impacts on us
George Monbiot, writing on the damaging modern phenomenon of accelerating consumerism says that advertising and consumerism dull our capacity for empathy. The Greendex survey in 2012, indicates countries with the highest consumption levels often have some of the lowest levels of guilt about environmental harm done. That includes the UK. Monbiot says the government’s programme for economic recovery depends on unceasing consumption: that if people start repairing things or doing without, the scheme collapses. "Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants." "Are we so bored, so affectless, that we need to receive this junk to ignite one last spark of hedonic satisfaction? Have people become so immune to fellow feeling that they are prepared to spend £46 on a jar for dog treats or £6.50 a bang on personalised crackers ...." Air travel is one particularly high carbon type of consumption; buying a trip by plane is just another product, albeit a particularly environmentally damaging one. .
How high are the carbon emissions from flying, compared to other forms of consumption?
Carbon footprints of manufacture of products, and their life cycle carbon footprints, are not easy to measure – and there are a limited number of figures around. Calculations are complicated, and there are huge numbers of variables and imponderables. But it is illuminating to compare the carbon emissions of some of our regular consumption items. For example, taking the emissions from one person flying, return (including the non-CO2 impacts) from London to Rome, economy class - that is approximately equivalent to leaving a 20 watt light bulb on, all the time, for over 5 years. Or buying more than 500 loaves of bread. Or buying around 500 pints on beer in the pub. Or buying a £600 gold and diamond necklace. Or the manufacturing emissions of making a new laptop computer. Or about a quarter of the average UK household's use of electricity for a year. One person flying return, economy class, to New York would be about the same emissions as 760 machine loads of clothes washed, and dried in a dryer. Or about the same as the electricity to power a modern laptop for 8 hours a day, for 18 years. Or getting on for half of the average UK home's gas usage, or almost the average UK home's electricity usage.
Airport retail now altering ad displays according to the sort of customers passing through
In the departure lounge of Heathrow's Terminal 5, passengers buy over $450 million per year of perfumes, clothing, scarves, sunglasses, jewellery, watches, bags and small leather goods from top expensive brands. A similar scene plays out each day at a plethora of major international airports across the world and the last 20 years, airside retail has undergone a radical transformation.The passengers at airports constitute a captive audience, passing “the magic hour,” between clearing security and boarding their planes. Airports have a lot of information on passengers — who they are, where they are going, on what airline, at what time, in what class. Now by digitising product displays, retailers may soon be able to more rapidly adjust their merchandising strategies, in real-time, to reflect the profiles of much larger numbers of customers currently passing through the airport. eg. if you have got the English going through in the morning and they like their Johnny Walker Black you will put it on the advertising screens, and if later there is a Chinese plane coming through, you advertise something else that they like buying.
Airlines selling expensive meal upgrades to economy class passengers, for foie gras, duck confit etc, to boost profits
Airlines are always keen to find new ways to extract money from their customers. Now several airlines have begun selling gourmet food to the passengers in the cheap seats, for a price. In February Air France has started tempting economy-class customers with paid-for meal upgrades featuring foie gras terrine. eg. duck confit with mushrooms and sauteed potatoes, followed by Opera cake for dessert, costing €18. So-called ancillary sales ranging from food to overhead-bin space have jumped more than tenfold to $36 billion since 2007, amounting to 5% of the total $680 billion earned by airlines in 2012. They are expected to rise to $50 billion per year by 2019 or so. “The low-cost carriers have taken ancillary revenue from a normal way of doing business and turned it almost into an art form.” Revenue streams that remain untapped -- in-flight entertainment, wireless access and shopping -- could be worth $5 billion. “When people get on board an aircraft, they’re actually in a great retail mindset. About an hour into the flight, they start to relax and their mind opens.Opening their wallets, too, has become a major ambition of airlines". So much for the fake concern about the odd few $$s or €€s in aviation taxes on their "hard working family" passengers.
Our love affair with consumerism and consumption is damaging the planet at an increasing rate …
Our love affair with cars, consumerism and consumption is damaging the planet at an increasing rate. The last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were as high as they are now, around 3 - 5 million years ago, humans had not even evolved. The level reached 400ppm this year, for the first time, and the rate of increase in emissions is accelerating. Little has been done to reduce pollution from agriculture or road transport, or aviation. Much of the CO2 is emitted by factories producing goods for customers in the UK. Phasing out oil and gas and investing in green technology could provide a huge boost to the economy, while numerous studies have shown that living simpler, less materialistic lives make us happier. But society's focus is increasingly on material consumption. Consumerism is not only the buying of physical objects: it extends to the buying of experiences. Consumer activities include things like eating at a restaurant, buying local handicrafts, buying 'tourist' experiences such as a camel ride or a picture with a tango dancer, and clocking up travel destinations as form of one-upmanship.
Airports and airlines eyeing up passengers to increase their retail spend
If the airlines can't make enough profit from flying their passengers from A to B, then they want to extract every bit of cash they can from them, in the airport shops. An anna-aero article discusses how airports and airlines might work more effectively together, to get passengers to buy more stuff. The airlines have more personal data about the passengers, and the airports want this data in order to maximise the retail earnings in their shops. But the airlines don't want to share the chance of profit with the airports. The Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group said – “airport retail is vital precisely because airport charges paid by airlines are already well below the cost of the infrastructure they use.” The airports and airlines don't see eye to eye on this. There is a problem for retailers, with the low cost airlines that limit baggage, and the 'one-bag rule’, which is a disincentive to buy a lot at the airport. An ACI conference next spring will look at actual practical solutions to enhance “Airline-Airport Cooperation to Increase Passenger Spend.”
Heathrow award for top airport for shopping for 3rd year. Net Retail Income per passenger £6.21 in 2012 (£5.64 in 2010)
For the third year, Heathrow got the award (within the airports industry) for the top airport for shopping. Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets. Heathrow overtook Dubai International to win the title of “World’s Best Airport for Shopping” for 2012. Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea. Figures from the Moodie Report in February 2013 said that Net Retail Income per passenger at Heathrow was £6.21 (up 4.4% on 2011, partly due to the Olympics) in 2012 and £5.95 in 2011, while it was £5.64 in 2010. (By comparison the Net Retail Income at Stansted in 2012 was £4.27 per passenger). At Heathrow in 2012 the gross retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million
Greenhouse gases hit record level …. and threaten tourism … while tourism threatens climate
The Doha talks are taking place at present, on global carbon emissions. The UN has confirmed that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to record levels last year, reinforcing scientists' warnings that the world is on course for dangerous global warming. TravelMole reports that this will cause more pressure to minimize tourism-related carbon emissions - principally from air travel and accommodation. Global warming will also threaten tourism destinations - principally small islands, delta destinations and winter sports destinations. Global CO2 was at 391 ppm in October, compared to the pre-industrial era level of 280 ppm. About 375bn tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial era in 1750, and much of it remains there for centuries. Temperatures have already risen 0.8 C and stopping an increase of over 2C is not likely. The carbon emissions from global aviation are around 5% of anthropogenic climate change, taking into account the non-CO2 impacts. World Tourism Organisation says tourism accounts for about half of all global air passengers