easyJet has published its Corporate and Social Responsibility Report which
outlines its strong environmental credentials and includes three “promises” to help
balance aviation’s huge social and economic contribution with its impact on climate
change.Andy Harrison, easyJet Chief Executive, said:
“It’s hard to see how anybody who has read the recent IPCC report and the Stern
Review can deny that global warming is a clear and present danger and that this
generation has a responsibility to take action now. Most within the aviation
industry recognise that aviation pollutes and that we must improve the environmental
efficiency of today’s operations and work on tomorrow’s technologies.
“It is time for a proper debate of the sort that has been largely missing of late.
Given that aviation CO2 only accounts for 1.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions,
grounding every aircraft in the world would have a miniscule impact on climate
change yet a vast impact on our economies. So, airlines have a responsibility to do
what they can and governments have a responsibility to ensure that their policies
incentivise the right behaviour.
“It is for this reason that easyJet has today published its Environmental Code,
which contains three promises - that easyJet will be efficient in the air, efficient
on the ground and will help shape a greener future for the industry.
“The same business model which gives us low fares (new aircraft, high occupancy
rates, direct flights) also gives us environmental efficiency in the skies - easyJet
emits 27% fewer greenhouse gasses per passenger kilometre than a traditional airline
on an identical route. In addition we recognise that we can and we will expect more
of our ground suppliers at airports.
“We also intend to play a leading role in improving the future environmental
performance of our industry - reforming Europe’s famously-inefficient air traffic
system, implementing a meaningful European emissions trading scheme, working on the
next generation of aircraft, giving customers the most comprehensive range of
environmental information available for travel to a particular destination, and
helping them to offset the carbon emissions of their flight.
“I believe that we are on the cusp of major advances in aircraft and engine
technologies which will lead to dramatic reductions in emissions, which have not yet
been factored into the environmental forecasts about our industry.
“In the meantime airlines have an obligation to maximise their environmental
efficiency (particularly by operating the cleanest available technology). For their
part, Governments must ensure their policies balance the vast economic and social
benefits of flying with its impact on climate change, particularly by mandating
minimum environmental standards for aircraft to operate in Europe.
“Governments should also recognise that some airlines are already more efficient
than others - something that the UK’s Air Passenger Duty dramatically fails to do.
APD provides no incentive for airlines to operate the cleanest aircraft; it
completely omits airfreight and private jets; the proceeds are not allocated to any
scheme to improve the environment; and it is disproportionate - on a UK domestic
return flight, the £20 APD is now 25% of the average fare and about 10 times the
cost of off-setting the carbon emitted on an easyJet flight.
“Surely, it would be better to incentivise consumers to choose airlines, like
easyJet, operating the cleanest aircraft available. In fact, last year we removed 22
older aircraft at a cost of over £275 million as part of our drive for efficiency
and in the coming four years we will buy 100 brand-new Airbus A319s - surely this
substitution is the very definition of the “Green growth” that was foreseen in The
easyJet’s Environmental Code contains three promises for a greener future. The first
promise reflects easyJet’s current environmental credentials; while the second and
third outline the full and leading role that easyJet can play to improve the
environmental performance of the industry.
1. easyJet strives to be efficient in the air
* Since 2000, easyJet’s CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre has reduced by 18%
* Each of easyJet’s A319s carries 26% more seats than the norm and carries up
to 57% more passengers per flight than the European norm meaning that the “typical”
European airline operating an Airbus A319 would burn 27% more fuel per passenger
* easyJet only operates direct point-to-point flights, without the wasteful
“hubbing” operations associated with other European airlines
* Only 2% of easyJet’s flights could be undertaken by city-centre to
city-centre rail journeys in less than four hours. All London to Scotland routes are
over four hours - if included, still less than 10% of our flights could be
considered in any way substitutable by rail.
2. easyJet strives to be efficient on the ground
* easyJet’s use of local, convenient airports connected to good, transport links
means surface journeys are kept to a minimum. While at the airport, easyJet uses
airport infrastructure efficiently with short dwell time, minimal use of ground
equipment and prefers simple airport infrastructure.
3. easyJet aims to lead the way in shaping a greener future for aviation
* easyJet has long led the way in campaigning for the inclusion of aviation in the
European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and on publication of the legislative
proposal on 20th December 2006 called for ETS to be brought into “as wide as
possible and as soon as possible” - anything else would be gesture politics
* In addition, it is estimated that the implementation of the EU’s Single European
Skies programme could lead to a 12% reduction in flying distances by reducing the
patchwork of European traffic control centres, which is why easyJet is actively
engaged in the programmes to make SES a reality.
* easyJet is actively engaging with airframe and engine manufacturers on the
application of new technologies for the next generation of short-haul aircraft.