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The significance of environmental responsibility on airline customers' intention to purchase
Operating in an energy intensive industry, airlines’ environmental performance is under constant scrutiny of the regulators and authorities. By contrast, it seems that not many airlines have considered gaining competitive advantage in by differentiating as an environmentally responsible carrier. The commissioning company for this Master’s Thesis was Finnair, and the intention of this study was to find out whether factors related to environmental responsibility affect Swedish airline passengers’ intentions to purchase from an airline. In addition, the study intended to offer Finnair suggestions for a suitable sustainability marketing-mix that could be used to target the intended consumer segments with an environmentally responsible air travel. The theoretical framework was built on a modified Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), which assessed the airline passengers intended purchase behavior by their attitudes towards pro-environmental behavior (PEB), past purchase behavior related to PEB, perceived behavioral control and self-identity with regard to PEB. The results of this study show that environmental responsibility is not the primary driver for most of the airline passengers in their intention to purchase from an airline. Moreover, the respondents seemed not to acknowledge the determining association between environmentally sustainable flying and flying with a modern fleet. Finally, the results also indicated that the brand recognition increased the respondents’ perception of the airline’s environmental performance. Finnair should diffuse the theme of environmentally responsible flying in its promotion campaigns on their fleet renewal with explicit messages communicating consumers about the interconnection between environmentally responsible flying and modern fleet. Finnair’s Frequent Flyer program would be a feasible channel to engage the environmentally conscious Swedish airline passengers to use the shortest flight routes from Sweden to Asia with Finnair’s modern eco-efficient aircraft. ...
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