EasyJet readies unit to fight green critics

Easyjet is to go on the offensive against criticism of airlines' environmental impact by setting up a 'political-style' rapid-response unit.

The low-cost airline is increasingly concerned about media flak, and the threat of greater taxation, as a result of lobbying by green groups.

The airline wants to appear more proactive on environmental issues than members of the Association of European Airlines.

Its move has been welcomed by the European Low Fares Airline Association, of which it is a member.

Corporate affairs director Toby Nicol said: ‘We will pounce on any story, be it directed at the aviation industry, low-cost airlines or easyJet itself.’

Its rapid-response unit will be run by Nicol and another, undecided member of the Luton-based airline’s six-strong comms team.

It is developing a web page that will include a calculator for customers to gauge emissions they would ‘use’ on an easyJet journey in comparison with larger airlines.

Nicol said it was a ‘misconception’ that low-cost airlines were more responsible for global warming than traditional carriers.

Easyjet will argue that airlines account for three to four per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, compared with 35 per cent by power generation and 20 per cent by road vehicles.

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