Discover more from Sustainability in the Air
Deutsche Bahn reported to join Star Alliance in sustainability move
Issue #19 of Sustainability in the Air Newsletter
Will the newest member of the airline grouping Star Alliance be a train company?
A common demand by environmental groups, and increasingly also by politicians seeking to highlight their 'green' credentials, is that domestic air travel in Europe is moved onto the rail network.
In Germany, Lufthansa already offers "Lufthansa Express Rail" services from over 20 German cities to its FRA hub. This includes from Berlin (home of the new and much delayed BER), and Hamburg - cities also served by domestic flights from FRA. Other European countries have likewise tried to move domestic flights onto rail.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, KLM and the Thalys high speed train network are further developing their joint AirRail product with a view to making it more appealing to customers. The aim is to increase the number of passengers with connecting KLM flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol who travel from Brussels – and back – by train.
Could Thalys (which also runs to Paris and has SNCF as a major shareholder) be next to join SkyTeam?
Our take on this is that airlines will over the next decade be increasingly coaxed to cut out domestic services where there is a fast and viable rail alternative.
So the Deutsche Bahn move is smart (DB has its own lounge network, you imagine Star Alliance silver / gold members will have access), as it's where things are heading anyway.
Of course, this will only work in places where there is a modern, fast rail network, largely in continental Europe.
For example, looking at the UK, you couldn't easily replace BA's daily MAN - LHR feeder flights, despite them only taking 45 minutes, as getting from Manchester Airport to Heathrow Terminal Five by train involves several changes, including in Central London.
However, UK climate change and noise activists (supported by a think tank) are now saying that London City Airport should close and that the land be used for housing.
The reason? They argue that the new "Elizabeth" train line which connects LHR with central and East London, makes the case for LCY redundant.
Positive story of the day
Japan's ANA Expands Its Sustainable Fuel Program (Simple Flying)
easyJet Optimizes Flight Route To Demonstrate CO2 Savings (Simple Flying)
CAPA, Envest Global Benchmark Airline Sustainability for Corporate Buyers (Business Travel News)
Can the tracking of in-flight catering improve airline sustainability? (Military Aerospace Electronics)