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Airline CEO: It’s Simple. We Ban Business Class

Airline CEO: It’s Simple. We Ban Business Class
Taylor Rains

Wizz Air CEO, Jozsef Varadi, has made a bold statement regarding business class travel on legacy carriers. He claims that business class on airlines such as KLM and British Airways are bad for the environment, stating their business model has a greater environmental impact than Wizz Air’s low-cost model. He stated, “Just look at business costs. Business costs is one of the diverse products you can bring to the market with regard to environmental impact. I mean, a business passenger emits 2x or 3x more than an economy-class passenger. Look at connecting traffic compared to point-to-point. When you connect, you’re going to be taking 2 flights. So your impact on the environment is going to be at least twice as bad compared to a single flight, a point-to-point flight. Inherently, their business model is environmentally polluting. I mean, flying a lot of business class, flying a lot of connecting passengers, they are affecting the environment in a bad way.”

Banning Business Class

He even went as far as to say that business class is unethical and should be banned on airlines. He explained his reasoning in a statement, “Business class should be banned. These passengers account for twice the carbon footprint of an economy passenger, and the industry is guilty of preserving an inefficient and archaic model. A rethink is long overdue, and we call on fellow airlines to commit to a total ban on business class travel for any flight under five hours.”

Wizz Air Environmental Efforts

Although it is unlikely any carrier will take the CEO up on his advice, Wizz Air is making moves to reduce their own carbon footprint. The airline claims they are the most environmentally friendly airline in Europe, undercutting Ryanair’s carbon emissions by 15% and legacy carriers by 60%-70%. Furthermore, about half of their fleet is comprised of the efficient A321neo, allowing the airline to reduce their cost, including fuel burn, by 20% compared to the A320.

With 270 aircraft on order, Wizz Air is not slowing down in its environmental efforts. Varadi boasted, “As we continue to update and upgrade our fleet and with the induction of more and more A321neos, that number will continue to decrease, and we are expecting and targeting out CO2 emission to be down by 30% in 2030.”

Although Varadi has some interesting points, banning business class is not realistic. Frequent business class flyers enjoy the comfort and amenities offered – stripping that away may hurt the airline’s reputation and potential earnings.

 

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View Comments (32)

32 Comments

  1. skidooman

    November 18, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    … and it all comes at the price of having as much space as a chicken in a truck full of chicken cages.

    No thanks.

  2. Wingtipflyer1

    November 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Whatever. 3% of carbon emissions is from air travel globally. I won’t ever take a wizz on Wizz Air, make that I won’t ever fly on Whiz Air. Jozef could have cut his carbon emissions by reducing his business class shaming mouth.

  3. OUTraveling

    November 18, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Just another attempt to hamper the competition through the use of regulation and trying to force people to his will. Unless he along with the board lives in a pod share and drink cockroach milk I hope he puts on an exit bag.

    Him voluntarily removing his existence off this planet is the green thing to do.

  4. DCAFly

    November 18, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I just read (on Gary Leff’s blog) that the Lufthansa CEO said that budget airlines should be eliminated because they make air travel too affordable and thus are the airline industry’s worst contributor to C02 emissions. So, the exact opposite of Whizz Airlines’ argument. I like the link to another article about how streaming online porn is worse for the environment than the airlines!

  5. edgewood49

    November 18, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    I am not sure how much weight or creditability one should place of use as a headliner statements by a third tier carrier. I mean really. A plane with normal loads burn certain amount of fuel on a normal flight profile, PERIOD, there’s nothing there that says or relates to Business Class in calculations. Taking the seats out will still not affectively change fuel burn.

    Gary’s blog, one of the more creditable on here if one reads it the proliferation of these third tier “carriers” many using older equipment are causing the same amount of emissions.

  6. miami888

    November 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Get rid of single-use plastic water bottles! Get rid of single-use baby diapers! We should all be driving electric cars. Every municipality should be charging their buses overnight with electric buses. Two babies per family….. etc.
    This WIZZ guy is no wizz.

  7. El Puerco Volante

    November 19, 2019 at 1:12 am

    He got the point. Business class is bad, First is the way to go !

  8. fotographer

    November 19, 2019 at 1:32 am

    The world is going crazy

  9. ksandness

    November 19, 2019 at 7:25 am

    I think that Lufthansa’s CEO has the right idea. We Americans are stuck taking short-haul flights, because of our sub-Third World trains, but Europeans and many Asians have trains and buses and buses that go everywhere, and only impatience makes a person take a plane from say, Manchester to London or Paris to Lyon.

  10. jjmoore

    November 19, 2019 at 7:51 am

    I have flown Wizz in the distant past, and they are just another disgusting discount carrier that is always late, and when they cancel, you have to wait 7 days for a protection flight. Rather than whine about carbon footprint of J class (which is nothing but politically biased, non-factual information anyway), how about provide a more reliable experience for your customer base.

    Business class, let me also say, is critical for business travelers like myself to arrive at int’l destinations rested and ready to work. Additionally, my employer requires int’l travelers to sit in J to mitigate risk associated with blood clots from being cramped in a sitting position for a prolonged period of time on these long haul flights. It is actually a requirement on this basis for insurance purposes.

    Carbon footprint is so minuscule, and anyone that can do math to calculate energy expenditure per person per mile will be enlightened and shocked when they discover that air travel is the most efficient use of energy to transport a person from point A to B compared to ANY other method. Prove me wrong (won’t happen).

  11. kkua

    November 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Put him with other sardines in a 15+ hr flight, once a week for 2 months. Then ask him to reconsider and issue an apology for his remarks.

  12. edgewood49

    November 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Another great source to quote and article about. Where’s Gary when you need him!!

  13. northsideguy

    November 19, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    So by his logic, if his airlines flys a plane that is only half full, the passengers on that flight would emit 2x’s the carbon footprint vs a full plane of passengers. So by his logic, his planes should not be flying when half full, in comparing his statement about business class

  14. sdsearch

    November 19, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    And how exactly does he expect to solve the connecting problem? Is he going to invest in enough planes have at least one flight a day between every possible pair of airports in the world? I bet he lives in huge metropolis and only people who live in other huge metro areas, and has never though about flying from one small town in the middle nowhere to another small town in the middle of nowhere without making a connection. So I bet he doesn’t want to think of solutions, he just wants to make outrageous proposals to get himself some free press for his airline And, look, it worked for him here!

  15. Irpworks

    November 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Ban the enviro fascists first.

  16. DeltaFlyer123

    November 20, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Perhaps a better way to cut carbon emissions is to ban intra-Europe flights altogether and “let them take trains” (as is “let them eat cake”).

  17. pmiranda

    November 20, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Put the seat pitch back where it should be so I can work on my laptop while the person in front of me can sleep and we’ll talk.

  18. drphun

    November 20, 2019 at 5:30 am

    I like the comment about his planes should not be flying when half full. For those who believe in more government regulations, clearly the solution is a new government regulation that requires planes to not leave until they are at least 90% full. Travelers might have to wait a couple days at the airport until enough other travelers show up. ha ha ha!

  19. SilverJack

    November 20, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Bah, another third world airline trying to gain market share. I guess naming the airline after a colloquial expression for urination wasn’t enough.

  20. apeortdz

    November 20, 2019 at 6:06 am

    I agree with all of the above comments.

  21. jt12321

    November 20, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I agree: ban business class, and make all economy class seats comfortable (6″ wider and 8″ more legroom. Also, serve edible food in economy like back in the 1980s. Problem solved.

  22. BMGRAHAM

    November 20, 2019 at 6:50 am

    I really don’t believe G-d would have given us the brains to invent all these amazing things if they were going to end up killing us through carbon emissions. Get a life Mr CEO.

  23. John Aldeborgh

    November 20, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Just more proof that being a CEO is no guarantee of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Budget airlines are built on the idea of making air travel a commodity, which is to say the lowest cost carrier wins. Lowest cost means, low wages, cut rate maintenance, minimal staffing, smallest possible seats, everything beyond the seat results in an additional charge; let’s make modern air travel more miserable than it already is. The Western based airlines will lose this game over the long run to the Asian carriers, who have a fundamentality lower cost basis and business model.

  24. brazilexpert

    November 20, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Mr WIZZ can you tell me how my mother that is paraplegic and needs a straight seat, or lay down seat specially for long hours flight ( because her paralyzed legs and all the other issues involved in a paralyzed body parts , how she will ever will fly again if the business class is ban??????

    i a directing the question to you Mr Wizz? you can leave your answer here!

    and my second question for you is, do you have elderly parents?are they health? i hope they are!

  25. Jackie_414

    November 20, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Actually, it is the opposite. The less dense passenger load in Business Class lightens the aircraft. Therefore, less fuel is burned, fewer emissions. This guy is a SJW who has it wrong, as is normally the case.

  26. rylan

    November 20, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Just more loudmouth rhetoric from a crappy low cost bare bones charge you for everything sardine airline.

  27. Gizzabreak

    November 20, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Excellent Jozsef. Ban business class, ban connections and introduce (if possible) more fake plastic word to the business cabin before you phase it out. And best of luck with your next employment position.

  28. AJNEDC

    November 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Silly man. I choose never to fly any class with economy in its name. Eliminate business class and I would not fly

  29. eagle215

    November 20, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Stop having children, that is the most effective way to save the planet.

  30. OCJohn

    November 20, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    He should fire his employees, recycle his planes, and operate a freighting company with mule teams.

  31. Gandoon

    November 21, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I will try to be as civil as humanly possible here, but it has to be said: A lot of you who commented above seem to be the type who would be impacted by such a ban, i.e. business/first travellers (I will not say snobs, but for some of those comments I am tempted) who don’t want anyone to encroach on your privilege to ride in luxury. First of all, as we all know, with the current business models, not everyone has the spare money to pay for the equivalent of 5-10 economy seats for the better treatment up front. Not to say I wouldn’t love to pay up and travel in the better classes if I had the opportunity.
    The airlines earn quite a LOT MORE on the business/first cabin than the entirety of the economy cabin that occasionally takes up as little as half of the available floor space but packing up to five times the number of pax. It is true that there are marginal weight and consequently fuel savings from having less people in the premium cabins, but on the whole that saving is just that, marginal. We need to remember that the same amount of machinery needs to be propelled to working speeds and altitudes, and then traverse the distance between origin and destination. That will still consume the same baseline bulk of fuel. Further, the airframe needs to be balanced so that the centre of mass is not way too far to the rear of the plane where the “rest of us” gets to travel, so there will need to be more baggage and cargo stowed underneath the J/F pax and the capacity (volume) is still not fully optimised.
    Mr Varadi makes a good point. The business model needs to be challenged. From an environmental standpoint it should be obvious that not only the cabin factor but also the cabin efficiency needs to be addressed. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to put everyone in todays “cattle class” style accommodation. On a short haul (up to around 3-4 hours) I and many with me have no problem tolerating it. These are indeed the type of services that Wizz offers. On intra-european flights we have few flights longer than that anyway, so the argument is somewhat sound on those lines.
    However, on the long-haul, intercontinental (or transcontinental in e.g. US or Russia) this is not a pleasant experience to anyone flying Y.
    It would be refreshing to see a new type of intercontinental carrier. More along the lines of offering all-econonmy+ services.
    We could and probably should offer a total redesign of the seating arrangements, maybe in S-shaped seats that are stacked. The cabin efficiency would seat by seat be slightly worse than todays economy, but offer sleepable and comfortable seats for everyone, and the entirety of the cabin can be filled with this type of seats. Offer these seats for 1.5-2 times the price of todays economy and the cabinfactor will be close to unity and the airline could potentially still earn the same or even more per flight than with todays systems. And for the clique who just have to show that they are economically superior to the rest, they can be offered e.g. stratified meal services (or just have them fly legacy carriers). An airline who provides an efficient AND comfortable journey for everyone will be popular.
    There you have it, a way to “ban business” without encroaching much on comfort AND improve flight transport efficiency.

  32. not2017

    November 30, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Says the head of WizzAir. The airline that shut down and needed a massive infusion of capital. Yeah, like he really knows what is talking about…..

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