Carbon offsetting takes off on all BA UK flights.

January 02, 2020
Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways.

British Airways is now offsetting carbon emissions for passengers on all flights within the UK and investing the money in green projects around the world.

The move began January 1 and affects 75 daily flights between London and 10 UK cities, including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Jersey and Glasgow.

But customers traveling beyond the UK will still, at least for now, have to offset their own emissions using the airline’s carbon offsetting tool.

READ: 2019 still one of aviation’s safest years despite the 737 MAX

That costs about £1 on a return economy flight from London to Madrid or roughly £15 on a London-New York business class flight.

The airline said the money from offsetting is being invested globally in the “highest quality, verified carbon reduction projects” as part of a commitment to achieve zero net emissions by 2050.

It hopes to achieve the longer-term goal through a range of initiatives that also include flying more fuel-efficient aircraft, investing in sustainable aviation fuel, changing operating procedures and working to strengthen global climate policy.

Along with parent company IAG, it plans to invest $US400m on alternative sustainable fuel development over the next 20 years.

Flight shaming has been a hot issue in Europe and BA chief executive Alex Cruz said the industry was aware that the future had to be sustainable.

“Solving the complex issue of climate change requires a multifaceted response, and offsetting emissions on all flights within the UK is just one step that we are adopting to reduce our environmental impact while more solutions to decarbonize are found,’’ Cruz said

“Our emissions reductions projects are carefully chosen to ensure they are proven and deliver real carbon emissions reductions as well as economic, social and environmental benefits. ​

“We continue to invest heavily in new aircraft that are 25 percent to 40 percent more fuel-efficient than the aircraft they replace.

“We are also leading the way in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and have signed a partnership with renewable fuels company Velocys, to build a plant which will convert household and commercial waste into renewable sustainable jet fuel to power our fleet, a first for the UK and the first time an airline has done this in Europe.”

BA says it has reduced emissions on intra-European flights by more than eight million tonnes since the 2012 introduction of European Union emissions reduction regulations.

It is also a party to CORSIA, the United Nations worldwide carbon pricing scheme for international flights expected to reduce aviation CO2 emissions by 2.5 billion tonnes from 2020 to 2035.