Decarbonisation efforts in the aviation sector will cost more money, but that cost should not fall on the consumer, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said on Wednesday.
He added that options to decarbonise, including creating sustainable aviation fuels, are not yet at scale and cost three to five times more than typical jet fuel.
“Our goal has been … from an easyJet perspective, we have said one of the things we want to look at, is that this should not cost more to the consumer,” Mr Lundgren told the Reuters Impact conference in London.
Mr Lundgren also said a wide range of stakeholders including governments needed to chip in to ensure decarbonisation costs remain low.
He added that it was unclear whether there might have to be a period of higher prices due to sustainability costs and that it is in the interest of airlines to keep flying cheap.
“It depends on how quickly you can get to these technologies at scale,” he told Reuters. “If you don't do that you can have less revenue because you get less volume.”
A lot of the cost will depend on the speed of innovation, which Mr Lundgren is hopeful can mitigate price rises.
“New technology gives you benefits, and it burns less fuel. So I don't think necessarily the transition will be as expensive as some of the, you know, scary numbers that are out there,” he explained.
Earlier this year, the airline and manufacturers Airbus and Rolls-Royce joined the Hydrogen in Aviation alliance.
The alliance believes the UK can become a global leader in developing hydrogen-powered flights if the government invests in a 10-year research programme, supports the delivery of infrastructure and ensures the required regulatory regime is in place.
It says hydrogen as an aviation fuel can bring a £34 billion annual benefit to the UK by 2050.