Big Dutch companies expect to fly less after coronavirus crisis

Airplane arriving at Schiphol Airport
Airplane arriving at Schiphol AirportPhoto: Schiphol/Twitter

Large companies in the Netherlands expect that they will send their employees on fewer business trips by plane after the coronavirus crisis is over. The experience they gained with video conferencing and webinars during the crisis reinforced their belief that the can save significantly on their business flights, and at the same time mean something for the environment, Financieele Dagblad reports after speaking to large Dutch companies united in the Different Travel Coalition.

The Different Travel Coalition consists of 25 large companies including Arcadis, Philips, ABN Amro and PwC. Their goal is to reduce the number of less necessary flight movements. They also focus on CO2 compensation and innovation, such as electric aircraft and biofuels. Arcadis and PwC are involved in the sustainable kerosene factory in Delfzijl, for example. 

Last year Arcadis purchased 67 thousand airline tickets for an amount of 27 million euros. "We fly around the earth about thirteen times a day. I was shocked," Yoeri Schenau of the engineering firm said. The company expects that it can cut its number of business flights by a third. 

"Employees have experienced the benefits of flying less," Wineke Haagsma of PwC said to FD. "It saves time, you don't suffer from jet lag, it increases your well-being. And together we also see its effects on the environment." She also expects a significant decline in business flights, but did not want to put a number to it. "The question of whether a business trip is really necessary is now much more apparent."

While fewer business travelers may be good news for the environment, it is bad news for airlines already hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and related travel restrictions grounding nearly all flights for months. Business travelers are an essential part of airlines' revenue model - they often book later and therefore usually pay more, according to the newspaper. Business travel is estimated to generate one and a half to twice as much revenue as holiday travel or travel to visit friends or family.