Aviation needs to 'reinvent itself' on sustainability

EasyJet director calls on industry to ensure governments have right policies in place.

The coronavirus crisis has heightened the need for more environmentally sustainable practices and the industry needs to “reinvent itself,” a senior easyJet figure has said.

The LCC's sustainability director Jane Ashton said the current pandemic “has been a strong reminder of our relationship with the natural world and raised further, important questions about how the global economy can recover while minimizing our impact on the environment.”

In the UK, easyJet’s home country, climate change protests led by Extinction Rebellion have taken place in London and Manchester this week resulting in at least 90 arrests.

Routes September 2020

Ashton noted that recent years “have seen increased debate about climate change and the urgency in which action is needed.”

“It is clear that all companies will need a clear vision and plan to address this.”

To tackle it, the aviation industry must “reinvent itself and…move to electric and hybrid aircraft powered by renewable energy.”

Although this will take significant investment, in some areas COVID-19 has already accelerated the process with airlines retiring older, less fuel efficient aircraft such as four-engine widebodies.

And Ashton said that “airlines and destinations should work together to make more sustainable choices.”

“Airlines, destinations and tourism bodies can also together help to ensure that governments have the right policies in place which support investment in new technology and incentivise more sustainable behaviour,” she said.

You can read more of Jane Ashtons’s thoughts, and how the aviation industry can come back stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic, in the September edition of Routes Magazine.

Photo credit: easyJet