British Airways has been castigated over its climate change policy in a parliamentary report released today. The Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Tim Yeo, has been investigating the extent to which airlines behave in an environmentally responsible way.
British Airways’ behaviour was described as ‘risible’ by the committee. Their carbon offsetting scheme came in for particular criticism, as despite being launched to great fanfare two years ago, it has offset the equivalent of only four return flights to New York. The airline runs fifty such flights weekly. MPs complained that BA made it almost impossible to use the scheme; it is not advertised and most employees seem ignorant of it. It is only possible to use it through the website, but it is almost impossible to find.
The committee also examined Virgin Atlantic and Silverjet, the business only airline. All three airlines came under criticism for their opposition to higher aviation fuel duty and green taxes. However, Silverjet was praised for its environmental awareness. The airline includes carbon offsetting in the price of a ticket and claims to be the world’s first carbon neutral airline.