EasyJet cuts emissions to lowest rate in response to pressure on airlines
11 May 2017
EasyJet has cut the carbon emissions of its flights to the lowest-ever rate, according to the airline.
The Luton-based carrier said it achieved the reduction through measures such as lighter seats, using only one engine while taxiing and giving pilots tablets instead of laptops and printed navigational charts.
Its emissions for the year ending September last year were 79.98g/passenger km, down by 1.3% on the previous year and 31% lower than in 2000.
Pressure has been growing on the aviation industry to take action on greenhouse emissions from flights to curb temperature rises.
Latest figures for other airlines' carbon emissions include British Airways' parent company IAG with 93.7g/passenger km, Air France KLM with 85g and Lufthansa with 96.9g.
EasyJet's head of carbon efficiency, Chris Foster, said: "We want to make sure we take our passengers where they want to go with the lowest carbon emissions. Through our efficiency programme, we continually look for ways to reduce fuel usage and emissions.
"We are very pleased to have delivered emissions below 80 grams for each passenger kilometre for the first time and look forward to reaching our target of 77 grams by 2020.
"By using modern aircraft and flying them efficiently, we will have successfully reduced the carbon impact of our flights by a third in 20 years, delivering a step change in the environmental impact of our flights."
An international deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from air travel was agreed in October last year.
The agreement, secured at International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) talks in Montreal, Canada, will come into effect from 2021 with 65 countries. including all European Union nations, signing up to "offset" emissions from international flights.
The scheme aims to cap aviation emissions at the level reached in three years, and there is a review mechanism to strengthen its ambition.
Airlines will have to buy permits that deliver reductions in pollution elsewhere to cover emissions above 2020 volumes.
EasyJet has set a target of reducing emissions to around 70g/passenger km by that time.
It is developing a hybrid plane that would use a hydrogen fuel cell stowed in the aircraft’s hold.
The concept would enable energy to be captured as the brakes are deployed on landing, which would power the jet when it is on the ground, similar to the kinetic energy recovery system used in Formula One.
The airline is also working with Wright Electric on designs for a commercial plane powered by electric batteries.
James Beard, from conservation charity WWF, said: “All efforts to cut carbon emissions are welcome, so it’s pleasing to see easyJet flying more efficiently.
“However, aviation remains the most carbon-intensive way to travel and one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions in the world.
“We need much more action than just airlines tinkering around the edges.”
Mr Beard called for investment in “cleaner ways to keep connected” such as international rail links and video conferencing, and urged UK ministers to come up with a “credible plan for dealing with aviation emissions” before new runways are built, such as the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
Gareth Fuller/PA Wire