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Title: Environmental marketing in the airline sector: an evaluation of market segments, green image and eco-positioning
Authors: Mayer, Robert
Keywords: Airline marketing
Green marketing
Market segmentation
Brand image
Leisure air travel
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: © Robert J.P. Mayer
Abstract: The environmental impacts of air travel have become more prominent. Governments and environmental groups have increasingly focussed on the effect that air transport has on the environment, and airlines have started to respond to the increasing awareness of their environmental impacts. The aim of this research is to develop an understanding of how leisure air travellers perceive the environmental marketing mix of airlines. Resource-Advantage Theory is used to analyse green marketing in the airline sector. This theory will be extended to the airline sector by establishing green market segments, analysing green brand images among air travellers and evaluating Market-Orientation Strategy. The data for this research stems from a large, quantitative survey conducted at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Using attitudinal and behavioural variables, five leisure air travel segments are identified. Some market segments perceive certain marketing initiatives as more effective in addressing the environmental impact of air transport than others and are also more likely to take up certain initiatives. Segmenting the market enables airlines to use their green marketing mix in a more targeted way. Many passengers differentiate airlines based on their environmental image. Some airlines are perceived as more environmentally-friendly than others. Yet, the business model does not affect the environmental image, while having flown with an airline has a positive impact on green image in many cases. Green communication is key for airlines, as actual environmental efficiency does not affect the eco-positioning of the airline. Yet it is important that any environmental claims are substantiated, as environmental groups and government regulators might address these otherwise. Three case studies (Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Flybe) discuss that while all three airlines have applied a green marketing mix, only two (Virgin Atlantic and easyJet) are able to benefit from this in their environmental image. The thesis addresses the importance and relevance of Resource-Advantage Theory in airline marketing research. This theory proves to be an appropriate and necessary underpinning for green airline marketing, an area that has received little attention in theory application. The theory can be used to explain why green marketing segments can be identified in airline leisure markets and why airlines should adopt a green marketing mix to enhance their green brand-equity. These aspects are supported by the data collected and analysed. The research shows that an understanding of passenger perceptions with regard to green marketing is highly relevant for airline marketing managers, in order for them to establish a successful green marketing mix.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/13578
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)

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