I appreciate that Michael O’Leary is skilled at grabbing the headlines and shows little consideration for socially responsible matters such as the environment, but Ryanair boss plans £6 transatlantic flights is a classic.
An interview in Flight International discusses plans to set up a separate business to offer low-cost flights across the Atlantic to secondary airports. No mention of the environmental impact – but then the company’s website shows its focus on emissions is entirely based around a strategy of buying new aircraft and statements like:
A Boeing 737-800 ‘next generation’ aircraft with a 70% load factor uses LESS fuel per passenger kilometre than a car with just one occupant.
This argument of being green because modern fleets are cleaner than older planes has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority in respect of an easyJet advert. Claims of “30% fewer emissions per passenger mile than traditional airlines” were found to be misleading and not substantiated.
However, the airline industry seems to have been very effective in lobbying its cause. Taxation is much lower than for other less-polluting activities and government ministers cite international agreements and various other excuses for not addressing the environmental impact of flights.
The Instititute for Public Policy Research has an interesting public relations idea, calling for health warnings on advertising for air travel as a way of communicating with consumers the impact of their behaviour. Motorists have become aware more of the carbon emissions of their choice of car, so why not extend this to airline passengers too? IPPR cites:
Climate Care calculates that a return flight to Perth, Australia emits 4500 kilograms of CO2 per person, which is more than the 4400 kilograms of CO2 an average individual in the UK emits in an entire year.
Yes, my own industry (motoring) can do more to help people reduce the environmental impact of their activities, but it seems the airline industry has yet to get the message.