There are different theories that suggest that tourism is unsustainable. Tourism especially air travel causes environmental degradation and harms the biodiversity. Since the tourism, especially the airline industry is expanding at a rapid rate, the preservation of the environment and maintaining ethical standards by the airline companies are under questionable grounds. A multitude of companies exists that supports the ethical behavior and standards to prioritize the lofty goals of environmental preservation and world peace (Dritsakis, 2012). The role of ethics in the tourism sector and most particularly in the airline sector has no rigid codes but it is up to the airline companies like United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Brussels Airlines and Emirates Airlines to behave responsibly and impose a high degree of respect for environment and society.
Ethics play an important role in sustainable tourism which is evident from the project of CO2 offsetting by Brussels Airlines which is in line with the ethical standards. Some of the ethical standards that these projects are in line with are committing to an excellent travel and tourism experience through motivated and experienced staffs. The airline companies like Virgin Atlantic and JetBlue have been engaged in respecting the values and aspirations of the host communities.
Virgin Atlantic even has the UK registered charity named Virgin Atlantic Foundation and they have collaborated with WE, a movement that integrates people (Virgin Atlantic, 2017). Thus, the project of sustainability, especially carbon emission reduction project, is in line with the ethical standards (Paek and Chathoth, 2013). The project by Emirates Airlines known as Carbon Offsetting encompasses investment in conservation-based tourism development like the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (Emirates, 2017). This shows that the project by Emirates Airlines is in line with ethical standards of achieving tourism development by protecting the natural, cultural and aesthetic heritage.