Profits fall at easyJet as it vows to become a zero carbon airline

Low cost carrier, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, says it will spend £25m on a carbon offset drive. Tony McDonough reports

easyJet
Budget carrier easyJet is to base a new Airbus A320 at Liverpool Airport. Picture by Tim Anderson

 

Low-cost airline easyJet is pledging to become the “world’s first major net zero carbon airline” with a £25m plan to offset its carbon emissions.

The company, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, made the pledge as it revealed a 26% fall in pre-tax profits to £427m for the year to September 30, 2019. This was despite an 8.3% rise in revenues to just under £6.4bn.

Against what it called the “background of a difficult year”, easyJet said  total revenue per seat decreased by 1.8% to £60.81 (2018: £61.94), driven by “some weakness in consumer confidence”.

Passenger numbers for the 12-month period increased by 8.6% to 96.1m with capacity increasing by 10.3% and this included five new routes from Liverpool. Load factor (percentage of seats filled) decreased by 1.4 percentage points to 91.5%.

The airline said forward bookings for the first half of the 2020 financial year were “reassuring” and easyJet expects capacity growth for the year ending September 30, 2020, will be at the lower end of historic guidance of between 3% and 8% per year.

From today onwards easyJet said will make all flights net zero carbon. By offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used on the flights across the whole network it claims it will become the world’s first major net zero carbon airline.

It added that carbon offsetting is an “interim measure” and that it would continue the push to “reinvent aviation for the long-term”, including the development of sustainable fuel and electric flying. After partnering with an developer of electric aircraft in the US easyJet had previously said it would have electric planes carrying passengers on short-haul routes by 2030.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Easyjet operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive said:More customers than ever are coming to easyJet as their airline of choice, with a record 96.1m customers flying with us this year. Our self-help initiatives meant we have been able reduce costs and drive a better yield performance which has improved revenue per seat in the second half of the year.

I am proud that we have announced that from today we will be the world’s first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across our whole network. We are doing this by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights.

“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.

“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.” 

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