Short haul flying to become 'socially unacceptable' for many


Concerns about the environmentt will make short haul flying 'socially unacceptable' for many people in the near future, a poll for Eurostar shows.

More than a third (37%) 'agree or strongly agree' that, in a few years’ time, environmental concerns will rule out short flights where there is an alternative of going by train.

The independent YouGov survey of 2,246 people shows that more than half the UK public (57%) is concerned about environmental impact when planning a journey of 300–400 miles.

One-third (33%) say environmental concerns about a short-haul journey are more or much more important to them than a year ago - compared to just 3% who say environmental concerns are less or much less important than before.

One in 20 (5%) say that, over the next year or so, environmental concerns mean they plan to switch from flights to trains for journeys within the UK or to closer European destinations.

The survey results were unveiled as Eurostar reported a 21.3% rise in passengers to 2.17 million in the first quarter over the same period in 2007. Revenues were up by 25.2% to £178.4 million during the first full three-month period of journeys on High Speed 1 - the new 186 mph line between St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel.

Eurostar said it achieved record punctuality of 93.6% of trains on time or within 15 minutes of schedule. The company said the on-time performance compared with an average of 68% during 2007 for airlines competing on its routes.

The number of travellers using Eurostar for high-speed journeys to mainland Europe from the regions has gone up since the introduction - last November - of through fares from 68 towns and cities.

The number of travellers from East Midlands and Yorkshire more than doubled, compared with a year earlier.  Demand from counties north of London, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Scotland all increased 'very significantly'.