EasyJet targets carbon offsetting on all flights
An EasyJet plane landing at Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)
EasyJet wants to become the world’s first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across its entire fleet.
After posting a 26% fall in full-year profit to £427 million, near the top end of expectations, EasyJet also announced that it will be moving further into the package holiday market before Christmas in the UK, and will offer both beach and city holidays.
The carbon offset programmes will cost about £25m a year, though chief executive Johan Lundgren acknowledged that longer-term solutions are also needed.
“We recognise that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now,” he said.
Revenues rose 8.3% to £6.4bn due to an increase in capacity, but total revenue per seat fell 1.8% to £60.81 due to “some weakness in consumer confidence”.
Passenger numbers for the year rose 8.6% to 96.1 million.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Today’s announcement from budget carrier EasyJet that it will offset carbon emissions on all of its flights – with the aim of becoming the first net-zero carbon airline – shows the sector is under real pressure to address its environmental impact.
“Regular fliers often fret about their carbon footprint so EasyJet’s move, at a significant but not unmanageable cost of £25m a year, could pay off. Well, at least if it is seen as a genuine strategy and not just window dressing.
“The news comes hot on the heels of Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi’s call for a ban on business class – the Hungarian-based outfit styles itself as Europe’s greenest airline.
“EasyJet recognises the offsetting move is only an interim measure with the company looking at longer term solutions like sustainable fuel and electric flying.
“Clearly the industry sees itself coming under more pressure in the future and is trying to get one step ahead as climate change becomes an increasingly important issue for politicians, regulators and the public.
“It is reassuring that full year results show profit bang in line with guidance, although the company is unlikely to win too many plaudits given this still represents a 26% drop year-on-year despite record passenger numbers.
“The company will hope its new EasyJet Holidays business, offering beach and city breaks, will help it capitalise on the opportunity created by the collapse of Thomas Cook.”