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The Government must mount an urgent investigation into the aviation industry following revelations that low-cost airline Flybe laid on extra flights and advertised for actors to fill them in order to meet passenger quotas and avoid financial penalties, Friends of the Earth said today.

In the latest twist to the story, it has been reported that Flybe staff were specially flown to Norwich airport in order to become fake passengers on the Norwich to Dublin route. The airline, which says it "is at the forefront of the efforts by airlines to reduce the environmental impact of air travel and promote sustainable growth in the aviation industry" [1], said it would have had to pay Norwich airport £140,000 if it failed to meet its passenger target.

Friends of the Earth aviation campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

"The Government must mount an urgent investigation into the Alice-in-Wonderland economics of the aviation industry. Extra flights are being laid on, filled with passengers that don't want to go on them, simply to meet passenger quotas and avoid financial penalties. Ministers must find out how widespread this situation is, and prevent this outrageous behaviour from happening again.

"Aviation is the one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. This sorry episode exposes the myth that the aviation industry is taking climate change seriously. The Government must take urgent action to curb the growth in aviation emissions. It must abandon plans to expand airports, and ensure that Britain's share of international aviation emissions is included in its proposals for a new climate change law."


[1] Flybe's environmental statement

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust