Tour operator easyJet holidays has announced it will become the first in the business to offset carbon emissions caused by its package holidays, including flights, transfers and hotels.
Offsetting is a way of compensating for your own carbon emissions by funding the reduction of emissions elsewhere, producing a zero-sum equation. Since an airline would have difficulty stopping flying, it can make up the difference by offsetting, which could take place anywhere in the world.
Common means of offsetting include forestry, in particular tree-planting, biodiversity projects, switching to efficient stoves in rural areas, use of biomass as a fuel and so on.
According to the company, the costs of offsetting will not be passed on to the customer. The measure comes into force today, but will also be applied retroactively to all holidays booked since November 2019, when easyJet started offering package holidays on its own account.
The airline first started offsetting emissions from fuel only in 2019, and at the same time began to cut emissions by using more fuel-efficient aircraft. And despite the entire airline industry being severely affected by the global pandemic, easyJet reports having cut carbon emissions per passenger per kilometre flown by one-third.
“I’m personally very passionate about sustainability and it’s an area I’ve been involved in, and committed to, throughout my time in the travel industry,” said CEO Garry Wilson. “While it’s a difficult challenge to tackle within travel, it’s something that’s really important to us at easyJet and easyJet holidays and we’ve got to do all we can. We’ve spent a lot of time when we’ve not had customers travelling working on our sustainability plans. We believe there’s a real opportunity to play our part to re-open tourism sustainably.”
• In other news, easyJet said it would be operating at only 15% of pre-pandemic capacity in the third quarter, starting in June. The reason given was uncertainty over travel restrictions, and the slow speed of the relaunch of tourism in Europe. The airline said, however, it would increase capacity beginning in June, dependent on demand.
“We have the ability to flex up quickly to operate 90% of our current fleet over the peak summer period to match demand,” the company said.