Menu Menu

EasyJet outlines new plans to be net zero by 2050

The low-budget airline brand EasyJet has unveiled a ‘roadmap to net zero by 2050’. It includes hydrogen-powered jet engines and a replacement of kerosene-fuelled planes. The company is also dropping its controversial carbon offsetting scheme.

Now that we’re finally climbing our way out of the pandemic, flights and international holidays are making a big comeback.

While business executives will be happy to see the recovery, an increased rate in flying is likely to be a potential disaster for our environment. The aviation industry is already a huge problem for the climate, with recent studies urging for emissions to be cut now if we’re to keep below a 1.5C global temperature increase.

EasyJet’s latest roadmap doesn’t promise this immediately, but it does set out a path to net zero planes by 2050.

How will this be achieved, you might be wondering? EasyJet says it will be pushing to switch to sustainable aviation fuel, use more fuel-efficient planes, and incorporate carbon capturing to meet the deadline. It will also continue to invest in new technologies to curb emissions moving forward.

Perhaps most notably, the airline will be halting its ‘carbon credits’ offset emission system that attempted to balance out any negative environmental effects of its practices. This was controversial from the outset, with a Guardian investigation finding the system to be fundamentally flawed and potential greenwashing.

It insisted that it would ‘not invest less’ in sustainability initiatives, mind, suggesting that its efforts to become greener are growing rather than regressing.

While many of these planned ideas are long-term, easyJet did outline some more abrupt changes.

Fleet replacements will soon cut back 15% of emissions, with 168 more A320neos being ordered from Airbus. EasyJet will also retrofit existing planes with technology to optimise flight descent and fuel burn.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive at easyJet, said its plan was the more ambitious than any of its competitors. ‘We have already reduced our carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre, by one-third, so this marks a significant acceleration in our decarbonisation’.

All of this together means that easyJet predicts it can cut its emissions by 78% in the next three decades. Carbon capture will then push the company to be entirely net zero.

It makes sense that mainstream companies are pushing climate focused policies, especially as Gen Z become a larger portion of the traveller market. Big brands will need to keep up with emissions and net zero targets if they want to appeal to younger people.

Expect more news from other airlines fairly soon.