Concern for the environment means that travellers are starting to turn their backs on air travel amid a spread in so-called ‘flight shame’, a new study claims.

One in five of the people surveyed by Swiss bank UBS had cut the number of flights they took over the last year because of the impact on the climate.

UBS said the expected growth in passenger numbers could be halved if these trends were borne out.

High-profile campaigns – like the example set by Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, which has helped push the climate crisis up the political agenda – could trigger a change in flying habits in wealthier parts of the world, particularly in the US and Europe, the survey suggests.

The poll of more than 6,000 people in the US, Germany, France and the UK, found that 21% had cut the number of flights they took over the last year, the BBC reported.

But only 16% of British respondents said they were cutting back on flying.

Almost a quarter of US travellers were worried enough to change their flying habits.

The survey was first conducted in May this year and UBS said there had been a marked change since then.

The bank now expects the number of flights in the EU will increase by just 1.5% a year – half the rate expected by aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The bank forecasts that growth in US flights would fall from the 2.1% expected to just 1.3%.

UBS estimates it could reduce the number of smaller aircraft ordered from Airbus and rival Boeing by 110 a year.

The bank said that would reduce revenues at Airbus, which controls around 57% of the market, by around €2.8bn (£2.5bn) a year.

Global air travel has grown by between 4% and 5% a year, meaning that the overall numbers are doubling every 15 years, UBS said.