When London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) launched its fantasy plans for expanding Luton Airport, it posted a video on You Tube of the plans. With its ethereal soundtrack, and sunbeam-showered views of the Shangri-La developments, it was supposed to sway the realist opposition, to show how good this environmental disaster would be.
This video lasted about a day on line, before it disappeared from view. We managed to have a good scrutiny before it disappeared, and among the many flaws we found, was this striking one.
When the video longingly showed Terminal 2 and its huge new apronage (which will consume Wigmore Valley Park), instead of the usual non-specific aircraft liveries this video showed vast swarms of purple and pink tails, the colours of Wizz Air. This gave substance to the idea that LLAL see Wizz Air as the future for all their expansion plans, and indeed the reason for it all.
Despite being founded in 2003, it was not until November 2020, that Wizz Air launched a carbon offsetting scheme. Here are the details of that scheme:-
“Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing and greenest airline”, has launched a carbon offsetting scheme as part of its wider commitment to reducing emissions, enabling passengers to calculate their flight’s environmental impact and offset the carbon emissions thereof. The scheme, in partnership with the climate-focused technology company, CHOOSE, provides passengers with the option to offset their journey by supporting trusted, high impact climate projects around the world.
By inputting flight details to the travel footprint calculator at wizzair.com, passengers can easily calculate and offset their flight’s carbon emissions. To account for their carbon emissions, passengers simply make a payment supporting a verified carbon offset, and receive a certificate in return, recognising the emissions they have offset.
Wizz Air is initially supporting two verified carbon-reducing projects; The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) in Uganda, an award winning and longstanding reforestation project, and the Pichacay Landfill Gas to Renewable Energy Project in Ecuador, which recovers and repurposes landfill methane to produce clean electricity. Both projects are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard to measurably reduce emissions.”
That all sounds very good and climate-emergency conscious, until you ask the question, just how many of the 180-236 passengers on Wizz flights actually make an offset? The airline is built on low-cost fares, so how many passengers add to those low fares by personal choice?
Then we have the comments by the CEO of Wizz Air from October 2021 –
Let us not lose sight of the fact that this is the attitude of most airlines worldwide. They will play the “concerned card” and prick the conscience of the traveller to pay for their own offsetting, but airlines will not simply pick up the tab for the whole flight out of their own pockets. Currently they hide behind the affects Covid has had on their revenues, but Covid has only been around eighteen months, whereas pollution from aviation has been around since the first airliners were rolled out of the factory.
The Wizz Air CEO says that his airline is taking delivery of more sustainable aircraft as part of its efforts to reduce emissions. However, they also have huge growth plans, so the cunning plan is to fly more supposedly less-polluting aircraft, so cumulative effects will still see continuing rises in carbon emissions.
In early 2021, the Board of Wizz Air gave their CEO a lucrative challenge: if he could oversee a compound annual growth rate of 20% in the share price over the next five years, he would receive a bonus of £100 million in shares.
The definitive conflict of interest we would suggest, is: tackling your airline’s carbon footprint to help save the planet, or filling your bank balance? Then again is it the job of the CEO to define the carbon reduction policy of any company, or the Board of that company to come up with that policy in the first place?
Luton airport expansion plans are defined to put money into the pockets of the airport owner, and operator. They are based on massive expansion by the dominant airline, which also pay only lip service to the climate emergency the world is facing. They’ll continue this (quite frankly insulting to the public) Green Washing dialogue, that we will always put the climate and those affected by airport operations first, whilst planning to fill their airport with aircraft from airlines that see carbon emissions and the climate emergency as just a joke.
Stop The Climate Emergency – Stop Luton Airport Expansion