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Monday, December 24, 2007

Easy Jet at it again - Complaint to Advertising Standard Agency

contact me at kevsclimatecolumn@btinternet.com

and click here to make your own complaint to the advertising standards agency . The advert was placed in the Sunday Times, 23rd December, page 16.





SUMMARY OF OBJECTION:

The EasyJet advert purports that by flying with them one is being “environmentally intelligent.”

Given the statements from the latest IPCC report, flying can in no way be described as environmentally intelligent. The IPCC report states that “Early mitigation actions would avoid further locking in carbon intensive infrastructure.” Irrespective of how efficient planes become, their use will always constitute one of the most carbon intensive forms of travel possible. Thus any form of air travel will be in breach of the advice given the IPCC report.

Furthermore the IPCC report highlights that CO2 emissions must be reduced by over 100% to avoid runaway global warming; see figure SPM 11 of the summary for policy makers (ref 1). Thus the only truly intelligent attitude to air travel is to avoid it all together.

Emissions reductions due to efficiency gains in planes have not been sufficient to outweigh the overall increase due to the total number of flights increasing so rapidly. It is widely recognised that aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. This further dispels the position of the EasyJet advert that one can demand a more intelligent way to fly.

SPECIFIC OBJECTION 1

The advert suggests that individuals can “Push airlines to buy the next generation of more fuel efficient aircraft.” Individuals have no influence over the purchasing activities of any airline. Airlines will always try and buy fuel efficient planes as these will be more profitable. However, no airline would choose to buy a plane that was economically unfeasible or operationally inappropriate irrespective of how much pressure individuals put on the airline. Easyjet could for example, have decided to buy Turbo prop planes such as the Bombardier Q400 (ref 2) instead of Boeings. These are more fuel efficient per passenger, but fly slower and can not take as many passengers. It would be pointless if I tried to push EasyJet towards buying Bombardier Q400 planes, irrespective of what the advert claims.

SPECIFIC OBJECTION 2

The advert suggests that individuals should “Choose airlines with ….fewer emissions.” However Easyjet’s total emissions have risen enormously and as an airline their total emissions are much higher than many of their smaller competitors. They now transport over 700% more passengers than they did in 2000, (ref 3). In addition, the 737-700 that is quoted in the advert is a long range version of Boeings 737, which potentially means that the airline will produce even more CO2 emissions per passenger. Choosing to fly EasyJet on the basis of emissions of the plane type does not demonstrate a more intelligent approach to aviation. The advert is therefore misleading in suggesting that I can have in impact on the choice of plane that an airline chooses.

SPECIFIC OBJECTION 3

The advert claims that passengers can “Choose airlines with higher passenger loads.” This is impossible. Passengers are not given information on the passenger loading when buying a ticket. Also if airlines have too high a passenger loading, they will simply put on additional flights encouraging more air travel. This does not represent a more intelligent approach to aviation.

SPECIFIC OBJECTION 4

The advert points out that “easyJet emits 22% less CO2” than a traditional airline flying the same aircraft type on the same route. This is an unreasonable comparison and EasyJet is simply attempting to make itself appear environmentally friendly by comparison with worst. A “traditional” airline would include planes with a proportion of first class passengers. These would include a significant number of business travellers flying first class who are unlikely to travel on EasyJet; likewise the majority of EasyJet passengers are unlikely to travel on “traditional” airlines. A more appropriate comparison would be to compare the carbon content of a typical holiday taken using EasyJet flights against a typical holiday taken without flying. The narrow comparison that the advert uses does not demonstrate or support an intelligent approach to aviation.

References:

(1) http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

(2) http://www.q400.com/q400/en/home.jsp

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EasyJet
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