Low-cost carrier easyJet will spend £25 million over the coming year on tackling its carbon emissions and, in doing so, will become the world’s first carbon-neutral airline, the company has announced.
Europe’s fifth-largest airline said it would offset carbon emissions from the fuel used on all its flights with immediate effect. It added that this was an interim measure in its push to “reinvent aviation for the long-term, including development of sustainable fuel and electric flying”.
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The company announced the measure as part of its full-year results, which came in line with analysts’ expectations. For the year ending September 30, pre-tax profits fell by an anticipated 26 percent to £427 million from the previous year but remained towards the top of easyJet’s £420-430m guidance range.
“We recognise that offsetting is only an interim measure but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now. easyJet has a long tradition of efficient flying – the aircraft we fly and the way we fly them means that easyJet is already more efficient than many airlines,” said Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive.
“However, our priority is to continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint in the short term, coupled with long-term work to support the development of new technology, including electric planes, to reinvent aviation for the long-term.”
Shares in the company were trading around 3.6 per cent higher in London at £13.20.
EasyJet said the cost of offsetting its emissions had been reflected within its forecast for total fuel costs for the year of £1.62bn, based on current fuel prices.
Europe’s airlines are operating against a difficult backdrop of a slowing regional economy, higher fuel prices and, thanks in part to overcapacity, competition is fierce. Germany’s Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline, announced a round of cost cuts with its results, as it attempts to fend off competition from the likes of easyJet and rival budget carrier RyanAir.
Total revenue rose by 8.3 per cent to an expected £6.9bn from £5.89bn in 2018, thanks to a 10.3 per cent rise in capacity, the company said.
EasyJet total headline profit before tax per seat fell by 32.9 per cent to £4.07 per seat, while passenger numbers rose 8.6 per cent year-on-year to 96.1m, marking a slight slowdown from 2018’s 10.2 per cent rise.
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