Flybe, Norwich City Council and the tale of the fake passengers
For all its bluster and greenwash, the airline industry can't seem to shake its reputation for putting profit before the environment. This latest story will do the industry no favours: Flybe have been using every trick in the book to boost passenger numbers, including laying on free flights and offering to pay actors to pose as passengers.
Normally I'd be railing at them doing something so ridiculously un-environmental, but dig a little deeper and an even more incomprehensible story comes to light. The airline was pushing its passenger numbers up in order to escape a £280,000 penalty from the airport, owned by Norwich City Council, which punished the airline if it failed to get 15,000 people into the air.
Flybe were going to fall short by 172 spaces, so they offered 200 free seats and advertised for extras: "You will be boarding an aircraft and flying to Dublin and then flying back into Norwich airport... up to three flights during each day."
Norwich Airport Managing Director Richard Jenner said that the airport felt let down, because of the unnecessary emissions: "more than anything, our concerns are about the unnecessary impact on the environment. We try here to justify the impact we have on the environment."
Justify your impact on the environment? You complete and utter numpty! If you're so concerned, dig up the bloody runways and grow a forest. Honestly, I'm not saying Flybe are blameless, but demanding minimum passenger numbers from the most polluting form of transport is just asking for trouble. And people wonder why we're so angry at this industry...