EasyJet to offset carbon emissions for all flights

Passengers board an easyJet plane at the Nantes Atlantique airport in France. Airlines are under increasing pressure to reduce emissions. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2019

EasyJet to offset carbon emissions for all flights

  • Airline works with US startup to produce electric plane for short-haul flights

LONDON: Britain’s easyJet aims to become the world’s first major airline to operate
net-zero carbon flights across its entire network, it said on Tuesday after posting full-year profit toward the top end of expectations.

In addition to the plans to offset emissions from flying, the budget carrier also announced that it would launch easyJet Holidays in Britain by the festive period, offering its own beach and city breaks after the demise of tour operator Thomas Cook.

The carbon offset programs will cost about £25 million ($32.4 million) a year, though Chief Executive Johan Lundgren acknowledged that longer-term solutions are also needed.

“We recognize that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now,” he said.

Airlines have come under increasing pressure to reduce emissions in the face of the growing “flight shame” movement, formed in Lundgren’s native Sweden.

British Airways owner IAG has said that it will carbon-offset its domestic flights, but moves toward more sustainable fuel or even hybrid or electric planes will take years.

HIGHLIGHTS

● Need to decarbonize aviation.

● Plans to launch easyJet Holidays.

● Better pricing expected next year.

Over the past two years easyJet worked with Wright Electric, which aims to produce an all-electric commerical plane to be used for short-haul flights.

The announcements came as easyJet reported headline pretax profit of £427 million, compared with guidance last month of a figure between £420 million and £430 million. That was down 26 percent from last year because of rising fuel prices and a tough operating environment.

The airline said that forward bookings for the first half of the 2020 financial year were “reassuring” and slightly ahead of last year, reiterating that capacity growth would be toward the lower end of historic guidance between 3 percent and 8 percent.

Analysts at RBC said consensus estimates for 2020 are unlikely to change, with upgrades of 5-7 percent from a better pricing environment being “masked” by the spend on carbon offsetting.

EasyJet said that the new holidays business would break even in the year to September 2020. It is expected to fly routes from Gatwick and Bristol take-off and landing slots that were acquired after the collapse of Thomas Cook, starting as early as next February. 


American town printing its own currency on ‘thin planks of wood’

Updated 3 min 38 sec ago

American town printing its own currency on ‘thin planks of wood’

  • The money is being given as a grant to locals who demonstrate they have been economically harmed by the pandemic

NEW YORK: Tenino had become a ghost town, and small businesses were struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic, so local officials revived an unconventional idea from the last century: Printing the town’s own currency on thin planks of wood.

“There was no trading, no selling and the city streets were dead. They looked the same at 3 p.m. as they did at 3 a.m.,” said Wayne Fournier, mayor of the town of 1,800 people in Washington state, in the northwestern United States.

“We were getting a lot of calls from businesses saying they were not sure if they would be able to hang on,” he told AFP.

The town’s museum had a printing press, so it was put to use to make $10,000 worth of bills on wooden rectangles, each nominally worth $25.

They feature a portrait of President George Washington and bear a Latin inscription that translates as “We’ve got it under control.”

The money is being given as a grant to locals who demonstrate they have been economically harmed by the pandemic. Each resident is allowed up to $300 per month. Known as “Tenino dollars,” “COVID dollars” or, sometimes, “Wayne dollars” after the mayor himself, the bills are traded at almost all shops in the town at a fixed rate equivalent to $1.

The currency is good only inside the town limits.

The idea is not new: Town officials last tried it during an even worse period of economic devastation, the Great Depression in the 1930s.

A national scarcity of dollars at the time prompted officials in Tenino to print money on spruce bark. “The concept became 1930s viral,” Fournier said, with other communities, businesses and chambers of commerce eager to emulate the town’s example.

Media attention piqued the curiosity of investors, and over the years the wooden currency became a collector’s item sold on eBay and Amazon.

The contemporary version of wooden currency, like the previous edition, aims to help the town through an economic crisis that forced businesses to close nationwide.

“It’s more of an advertisement for the town itself,” said Chris Hamilton, the manager of the town’s main grocery store. “It brings a lot of people into town that may not even know about Tenino and want to check this place out that makes its own money.

“They might stop off here, buy an ice cream or go down the street and buy a hamburger.”

Similar complementary currencies exist elsewhere in the US and Europe, aimed not at replacing the national money but supporting the local economy — a key distinction since American authorities take a dim view of anyone trying to create a bill to compete with the dollar.

The US Treasury declined to comment on its position regarding local currencies.

Related