The World's Hypocritical Airline

With green travel procurement policies starting to become all the rage, the timing could not be worse for British Airways, who now clearly has the bragging rights to the title of the "World's Most Hypocritical airline". Despite its own marketing attempts at promoting green initiatives, it turns out that the airline itself is flying empty planes back and forth across the Atlantic to preserve its landing rights at Heathrow and Gatwick. According to CBC News, "British Airways has flown dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic Ocean in the past two weeks to avoid losing valuable runway slots at London's airports ... In order to retain its take-off and landing slots at London's airports -- which have a 'use it or lose it' rule -- the airline has sent empty planes to Canada and the United States." According to another article I read on the subject, "Some of the aircraft are thought to be Boeing 747s, which when full carry between 500 and 600 passengers. Every return flight from London to New York generates about 1.3 tonnes of CO2."

At the same time, BA is also introducing a new fuel surcharge for passengers. According to The Guardian, starting this Thursday, "the surcharge on flights lasting more than nine hours will rise by £30 to £116 for a return ticket, while the levy for sub-nine-hour long haul flights to destinations such as New York will increase by £20 to £96. The surcharge on return short-haul flights will increase by £4 to £20." And with those surcharge proceeds, I doubt they're buying carbon offsets for their "ghost flights" that preserve BA's coveted landing spots which Asian and other European carriers would love to get their hands on. What's the Spend Management upshot here? If you're trying to influence cost savings and green policies for corporate travel, you'd best stay away from BA.

Jason Busch

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