Europe’s “greenest airline” said business class should be banned as seats produce more emissions than economy.
Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air believes it is time for airlines to ban business class seats because they account for “twice the carbon footprint” of an economy passenger.
In a new media campaign, the airline is calling for its competitors – and the industry more broadly – to commit to a total ban on business class seats on flights under five hours, which you can watch below.
The campaign comes off the back of an industry call to arms by Wizz Air CEO József Váradi to eliminate business class on short routes, entirely, as reported by Forbes.
“Business class should be banned,” Váradi said in an announcement. “These passengers account for twice the carbon footprint of an economy passenger, and the industry is guilty of preserving an inefficient and archaic model.
“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,” he said.
“We are already the greenest choice of air travel a passenger can make and have committed to reducing our carbon footprint by 30 per cent in the next ten years, but 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.”
The company claims it operates at the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger among all competitor airlines. Wizz Air expects to reduce this by 30 per cent for every passenger in the next 10 years.
“It’s true that the carbon footprint of a business class traveller is bigger than that of a person flying on the economy class. Emissions per passenger of low-cost airlines are also lower,” Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at international NGO Carbon Market Watch, told Forbes.
“But the bottom line is that absolute emissions from aviation are soaring and a lot of the growth is attributed to low-cost airlines.”
Dufrasne told the outlet a decisive action to address the problem is needed, starting with taxes.
“Airlines in Europe pay no tax on fuel and flights are mostly exempt from VAT,” he said.
“Intra-European aviation is included under the EU carbon market, but airlines get 85 per cent of their allocated allowances for free.
“Ending these unfair subsidies is paramount in order to create a level playing field with more sustainable transport modes such as rail and to reduce emissions.”