Twitter conversations reveal issue salience of aviation in the broader context of climate change

Susanne Becken, Bela Stantic, Jinyan Chen, Rod M. Connolly

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Growing concern about the climate crisis comes with increased scrutiny of flying as an emission-intensive activity. This study conceptualises a modern communication system and draws on social media data to examine pre-COVID-19 (September to December 2019) public conversations about aviation and climate change. The analysis of >326,000 Twitter posts reveals that issue salience can be considerable at times, especially during key events such as United Nation climate summits and for users from countries such as Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, France and Spain. Topic modelling identified five key frames: economy and industry, public opinion, fairness and conflict, consequences and responsibility. The fairness and conflict frame recorded the largest number of tweets, and was noteworthy for its negative sentiment. It also had the highest retweet rate and the densest network in terms of average users per community. The responsibility frame was interesting for its positive sentiment, and perhaps the opportunity for aviation stakeholders to contribute proactively to the conversations by sharing climate action success stories. Given the importance of public opinion (voters and consumers), and the link between media activity and policy decisions, the ongoing monitoring of issue salience, frames and peer groups related to flying and climate change seems beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102157
JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
Early online dateOct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aviation
  • Climate change
  • Frames
  • Issue salience
  • Social media
  • Topic modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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