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EasyJet Buys New Aircraft But Promises To Offset Carbon Emissions


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AFP via Getty Images

The British low-cost airline announced on Tuesday it will offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights on behalf of the customers. The company will spend up to £25 million on environmental projects like planting trees.

“We are taking the challenge of climate change head on by becoming the world's first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across its whole network,” a spokesperson at EasyJet said. “We are doing this by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights through schemes accredited by two of the highest verification standards, Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).”

Airbus claims that its new A350 family of wide body planes have a 25% advantage in fuel burn, operating costs and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation of similar aircraft.

Critics, however, complain that the actions taken by airlines are not enough.

The anticipated significant growth in flights is far outstripping efficiency gains from more efficient aircraft. By 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70% higher than in 2005.

As aviation remains reliant on fossil fuels, emissions will continue to climb until demand is curtailed.

CO2 emissions from aviation in Europe have been included in European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) since 2012. All airlines operating in Europe are required to monitor, report and verify their emissions, as well as to surrender allowances against those emissions.

They receive tradable allowances covering a certain level of emissions from their flights per year and, although airlines paid around €700 million in 2018 under this scheme, a recent analysis of EU emissions data has found that airlines are the biggest carbon emitters in four European countries.

Andrew Murphy, aviation manager at the non-profit organization Transport & Environment, commented: “Decades of airlines’ unchecked emissions growth shows governments need to step up and regulate aviation’s climate impact by ending the sector’s tax privileges and mandating clean fuels.”

Meanwhile, the sector expects alternative solutions like the electrification of short haul aviation and bio based fuels for long haul aviation.

EasyJet also signed a hybrid-electric aircraft research agreement together with Airbus.

"We know that carbon offsetting is only an interim measure while new technologies are developed, but at the moment we believe it's the best way we have to remove carbon from the atmosphere,” added Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s CEO. "Aviation will have to reinvent itself as quickly as it can. This is the reason why we have been supporting Wright Electric since 2017 and are working with Airbus, and Safran on new technologies."

EasyJet will expand the A320neo family to 159 aircraft and its overall orders for Airbus single aisles to 480 A320 family.

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EasyJet is increasing its fleet of A320neos with 12 new aircraft, while claiming it will soon operate net-zero carbon flights. The A320neo aircraft are set to replace an older generation of less efficient aircraft that will be phased out of the fleet.

The British low-cost airline announced on Tuesday it will offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights on behalf of the customers. The company will spend up to £25 million on environmental projects like planting trees.

“We are taking the challenge of climate change head on by becoming the world's first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across its whole network,” a spokesperson at EasyJet said. “We are doing this by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights through schemes accredited by two of the highest verification standards, Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).”

Airbus claims that its new A350 family of wide body planes have a 25% advantage in fuel burn, operating costs and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation of similar aircraft.

Critics, however, complain that the actions taken by airlines are not enough.

The anticipated significant growth in flights is far outstripping efficiency gains from more efficient aircraft. By 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70% higher than in 2005.

As aviation remains reliant on fossil fuels, emissions will continue to climb until demand is curtailed.

CO2 emissions from aviation in Europe have been included in European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) since 2012. All airlines operating in Europe are required to monitor, report and verify their emissions, as well as to surrender allowances against those emissions.

They receive tradable allowances covering a certain level of emissions from their flights per year and, although airlines paid around €700 million in 2018 under this scheme, a recent analysis of EU emissions data has found that airlines are the biggest carbon emitters in four European countries.

Andrew Murphy, aviation manager at the non-profit organization Transport & Environment, commented: “Decades of airlines’ unchecked emissions growth shows governments need to step up and regulate aviation’s climate impact by ending the sector’s tax privileges and mandating clean fuels.”

Meanwhile, the sector expects alternative solutions like the electrification of short haul aviation and bio based fuels for long haul aviation.

EasyJet also signed a hybrid-electric aircraft research agreement together with Airbus.

"We know that carbon offsetting is only an interim measure while new technologies are developed, but at the moment we believe it's the best way we have to remove carbon from the atmosphere,” added Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s CEO. "Aviation will have to reinvent itself as quickly as it can. This is the reason why we have been supporting Wright Electric since 2017 and are working with Airbus, and Safran on new technologies."

EasyJet will expand the A320neo family to 159 aircraft and its overall orders for Airbus single aisles to 480 A320 family.


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