EasyJet reveals early offsetting progress
By Sasha Wood, published 14/02/20
In its first quarter as a carbon neutral airline, easyJet offset 800,000 tons of carbon from all 9 million passengers at a cost of £25million, making it the biggest purchaser of carbon credits in the world.
Sharing the update at the recent Business Travel Association’s annual winter conference, EasyJet’s Chief Commercial and Planning Officer Robert Carey reported a 7% increase in customer satisfaction and a 7% uptick in repeat business since its decision last November to offset all carbon emissions from its flights.
The airline also recorded 1.5% growth over the winter period, above the 1% industry average.
Speaking about easyJet’s decision to go carbon neutral, Carey said the airline did this as a voluntary measure, without raising fares.
“We thought this was the best thing we can do in the world right now,” he said. “And we’ll get more customers on board because it’s the best choice out there in sustainable travel today.”
Around 20% of easyJet’s passengers are business travellers, and Carey said a survey revealed 80% were concerned about the environment, but 60% felt their employer should offset for them.
Following its move to be carbon neutral, the airline sent 3,000 letters to its corporate customers across Europe and received very positive feedback.
“Corporate customers and travel buyers will go with us based on zero emissions. They are trying to offset, and it’s easier than doing it on their own,” he said.
But he said taking sustainable development seriously also means thinking about innovation and logistics. As well as working with Wright Electric to develop an electric plane for short-haul routes by 2030, he said the airline is looking closely at what Airbus is doing.
The plane manufacturer has already predicted that electric aircraft could fly commercial short-haul services by 2035, so Carey said the next step is “to look at the different elements it would take to make this ecosystem work – i.e. do we have ground staff changing over batteries, and how long does that take?”