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The number of people flying in Sweden dropped by 4 per cent last year, suggesting that the home-grown “flight shame” movement is starting to have an impact.

Official statistics from Sweden’s airport operator, Swedavia, show that more than 40 million people flew through the country’s 10 airports in 2019, a 4 per cent drop year on year.

In 2018, a record high of more than 42 million people flew through Swedish airports.

The decrease in 2019 was primarily in domestic travel, said Swedavia, and international travel decreased to a lesser extent.


In 2019, 12.4 million domestic passengers flew through Sweden, a 9 per cent year on year drop.

International traffic declined by 2 per cent to nearly 28 million.

The Swedish concept of flygskam, which translates as “flight shame”, is an anti-flying movement that originated in Sweden in 2018. It encourages people to stop taking flights to lower carbon emissions.

It was originally championed by Olympic athlete Bjorn Ferry and has gained momentum thanks to teenager Greta Thunberg, who has given up flying. 

In Gothenburg airport, Sweden’s second biggest airport after Stockholm Arlanda airport, international traffic actually increased.

By contrast, there was a 4 per cent year-on-year decrease in traffic through Stockholm Arlanda.

The most recent global passenger data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) shows that 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018, an increase of 6.9 per cent from 2017.

Additionally, more Britons travelled abroad in 2018 than any other nationality, according to the international trade body for aviation.

In 2018, 126.2 million passengers were British – totalling 8.6 per cent, roughly one in 12, of all international travellers.

Read why The Independent’s Helen Coffey is going flight-free for 2020 here.



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