Consumers and producers like labels. They can tell you useful things about a product like what substances are in a food or how much power an electrical device uses.
UK regional carrier flybe has just brought the idea to the airline business with an eco-labelling scheme. It is the brainchild of Mike Rutter, the airline’s chief commercial officer, who had seen a labelling scheme work well for previous employer Hoover, a maker of household appliances.
Prominently flagged on flybe’s website, the labelling gives passengers a detailed breakdown of the fuel consumption, carbon emissions and noise patterns of the aircraft type used on their journey when they make a booking.
The labels are on the side of all flybe’s aircraft and in the seat back of every seat. The carrier has also produced a 10-page techno-brief that flybe has made available to any other airline that wants to understand the methodology and make their own label.
We think this is the first example worldwide of the use of such labelling in this industry and flybe has to be applauded for its initiative. The airline says it was thought up in response to a major UK environmental impact report that called for labelling to help consumers and businesses make sound travel decisions.
Each aircraft’s eco-label is broken down into three component parts:
• Local Environment which assesses the aircraft’s noise rating on an A (low) to F (high) rating; and the levels of CO2 and NOX emissions on a Landing and Take-off Cycle basis.
• Journey Environment which grades fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (kg/seat) on a range of typical European sector basis (500, 1,000 and 1,500km) and also on an A (low) to F (high) grading.
• Passenger Environment which contains information on minimum leg-room and the number of seats.
According to flybe: “The eco-labelling scheme allows passengers, on the basis of fully transparent disclosure, to assess the environmental impact of their journey. Passengers will then be in a position to decide, on an informed basis, whether they want to carbon-offset that journey.”
Flybe is commited to following as green a path as it can. Its print advertising talks about “low-cost, but not at any cost”. In addition to its new labelling scheme, flybe talks about its new fleet of fuel efficient ATRs and Embraer 195s and its UK carbon off-setting scheme.