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Published on Thursday, November 14, 2019

Airline chief calls for business class ban on short haul flights

An airline boss has called for business class to be banned on short haul flights to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation.

Jozsef Varadi, chief executive officer and co-founder of Wizz Air, is calling for the industry to eliminate business class on flights under five hours.

"Business class should be banned. These passengers account for twice the carbon footprint of an economy passenger, and the industry is guilty of preserving an inefficient and archaic model," he said.

"A rethink is long overdue, and we call on fellow airlines to commit to a total ban on business class travel for any flight under five hours."

At an investor and press briefing yesterday, Varadi said sustainability pledges by rival airlines, such as British Airways and Air France KLM, to be carbon neutral by 2050 are a 'joke'.

"We're all going to be dead by that time," he said.

Wizz Air claims it currently operates at the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger and expects to reduce this by 30% for every passenger in the next 10 years.

But Varadi admitted: "While it's a step in the right direction, we still have a very long way to go. The industry as a whole needs to be more aggressive in its ambitions if we are truly to make a difference."

At the recent ABTA Convention in Tokyo, Tim Williamson, customer director for Responsible Travel, said the only way to tackle climate change is to fly less and reduce the growth of the aviation industry.

He told delegates: "We need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less. If you're going to stop the planet heating above two degrees, I can't see how you can do that without stopping flying."

He said the travel industry should 'get on the front foot' because regulation is coming.

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  • global cooling

    is great. Will be more snow from now on. What's all this rubbish about carbon footprint ? Cars produce 1000 times more pollution than planes.

    By Michael Anderson, Friday, November 15, 2019

  • Special Pleading?

    Mr Varadi seems to be using some special kind of arithmetic to claim that business class pax have twice the carbon footprint of those in economy. Business class has more generous baggage allowances & the seats & facilities are heavier per pax than in economy. Nevertheless, the additional weight is only a small percentage of the all-up aircraft weight. Someone else might just as well argue that low-cost airlines should be banned as they encourage people to fly and hence increase their total carbon footprint.

    By Peter Lewis, Thursday, November 14, 2019

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