Family walking next to Heathrow's northerly runway

10 May 2021

Carbon Comparison We explore the best way to fly the UK Air Corridor

Now that the UK is opening up for International travel, how do we keep our carbon footprint as low as possible while still going away?

The UK Government has unveiled the countries you can return from without having to quarantine. These come into effect from the 17th of May. The realistic list of destinations include Iceland, Gibraltar, Israel and Portugal.

We are not looking at flights to Australia, New Zealand and the other destinations just published as they would require quarantine on arrival or are so far flung that it's essentially impossible to get to (eg. St Helena).

For instance, Australia and New Zealand would include a transit point as neither of those countries have direct flights at the moment. The Heathrow - Perth route has been suspended with Qantas not looking to restart international flights until October. You could fly transiting via Asia or the Middle East, but they could both have their own rules in place.

This means to safely go away without any risk of quarantine you have to fly direct, so let's look at the best carbon-friendly options.

Portugal

Carbon Comparison

LIS Humberto Delgado Airport (Lisbon Portela Airport)
1622km
LON London
  1. BRITISH AIRWAYSAirbus A321 neo~246 kg CO2

  2. TAP PORTUGALAirbus A320 neo~297 kg CO2

  3. EasyjetAirbus A320~446 kg CO2

  4. RyanairBoeing 737-800~488 kg CO2

TAP & British Airways both operate out of Heathrow, Easyjet from Gatwick and Ryanair from Stansted.

Israel

Carbon Comparison

TLV Ben Gurion International Airport
3633km
LHR London Heathrow Airport
  1. Virgin AtlanticBoeing 787-9~1055 kg CO2

  2. EL ALBoeing 787-9~1055 kg CO2

  3. BRITISH AIRWAYSBoeing 787-9~1055 kg CO2

The exact same aircraft type across three different airlines, neither of them ideal for this route.

Iceland

Carbon Comparison

RKV Reykjavik Airport
1933km
LON London
  1. ICELANDAIRBoeing 757-200~600 kg CO2

  2. ICELANDAIRBoeing 767-300~582 kg CO2

* [Results compared to an Airbus A321 neo producing ~290kg CO2 per seat.]

Gibraltar

Carbon Comparison

GIB Gibraltar Airport
1801km
LON London
  1. BRITISH AIRWAYSAirbus A320 neo~329 kg CO2

  2. WizzAirbus A320~488 kg CO2

  3. EasyjetAirbus A320~488 kg CO2

British Airways operates out of Heathrow, Wizz out of Luton, Easyjet out of Gatwick. Easyjet doesn't indicate whether the route is flown with a NEO or not, so we assume it isn't.