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No need for climate 'flight shame', Swedish govt says
No need for climate 'flight shame', Swedish govt says
by AFP Staff Writers
Stockholm (AFP) Feb 27, 2024

Six years after the term climate "flight shame" was coined in Sweden, the country's government said Wednesday there was no need for it, unveiling investment to help its airline industry.

"There are few reasons to feel flight shame and as the (green) transition increases there will be even fewer," Infrastructure Minister Andreas Carlson told reporters.

His remarks came as his right-wing government, in power since 2022 and propped up by the populist Sweden Democrats, announced plans to invest more than one billion kronor ($96 million) to boost the airline industry's competitiveness.

Flight shame, or "flygskam", became a buzz word in Sweden in 2018 that spread internationally, referring to feeling guilt over the environmental impact of flying.

It contributed to a trend that saw people increasingly opting to travel by train to ease their conscience, a movement spearheaded by Sweden's own Greta Thunberg, the 21-year-old climate activist who refuses to fly.

The Swedish government said in a statement the investment was aimed at helping the airline industry recover after being battered in recent years by the Covid-19 pandemic, high fuel prices and the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine.

The money will go to Sweden's so-called GAS redistribution system for airports' security and baggage handling costs, which are paid per passenger but which remained unchanged during the pandemic despite drastically reduced passenger numbers.

"A billion kronor debt has accumulated in this system. This debt is now being paid off by the state's capital injection," Carlson said.

The cost will thereby not be passed on to airlines and passengers.

"Sweden is a sparsely populated and oblong country that is greatly dependent on transportation that makes it easy for both people and companies to travel," Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson said, adding that airlines were in a "tough economic situation" after the pandemic.

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