Jet2.com is incorporating the price of carbon-offsets into its fares, adding the equivalent cost of a cup of coffee to each flight.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2holidays and Jet2.com, said that other airlines which have offered voluntary carbon offsets in the past have seen take-up rates of about 1%.
“Everybody talks about being green…but they mean ‘I want everyone else to go green and I don’t want to do it because it costs me more money and it’s inconvenient’,” he told a Travel Weekly webcast.
“I don’t think we’ve got a choice; we’ve all got to do what we have to do so we roll it into the cost of a ticket price.
“If you book a Jet2 flight or a Jet2holiday, you know it will be a sustainable flight whereby all the carbon is offset.
“Everybody has to play the part. [Our customers] will be quite happy to know that there’s about two or three quid within that flight cost that’s going towards green projects that will reduce the globe’s CO2 production.”
He was speaking as the company issued a new sustainability strategy covering operations on the ground, in the air, and in resort, with plans to reach net zero by 2050.
The company has already taken action over the past decade, reducing the weight on aircraft, taking eight million items of plastic off planes and spending £3.3 billion on new aircraft.
But Heapy wants to achieve more – firstly because “it’s the right thing to do” and secondly the government is likely to introduce more green taxes after COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, starting at the end of October.
“I think the chief whipping boy will be the airline industry,” he said.
“We have got to be seen to be doing our bit, otherwise, we’ll be treated like a lot of naughty children.
“We have not done it to try and curry favour with Boris Johnson or anyone.
“It’s the right thing to do.”
Jet2 has further demonstrated its commitment to cutting carbon by ordering 60 new Airbus A321 “the greenest aircraft in its class” and pledging to use sustainable aviation fuel from 2026 if it becomes available.
He estimates the company will pay the government about £45 million next year in green taxes.
It will also soon launch a hotel charter, enabling holidaymakers to book “the greenest hotels and make sure that they are buying a holiday in a sustainable way”.
He added: “If you can show that you as an airline and tour operator are doing everything you possibly can that gives you a stronger case when you’re lobbying government.”
Heapy said the company will issue information to agents about their strategy, adding: “It will become increasingly a selling point because people are becoming more aware of this.
“And, again, it’s not going to be a choice soon. It is going to be mandated by national governments all over the world…because we’ve got very, very stretching targets to meet as a nation and as a globe.”