in Aerospace

Equinox launches EESI

Posted 13 April 2022 · Add Comment

London based music specialist charter broker Equinox Charter and sister company Equinox Travel, have launched their Equinox Enhanced Sustainability Initiative (EESI) – designed to analyse and compare the sustainability efforts of aircraft operators.

Above: Ian Patterson, CEO of Equinox.
Courtesy Equinox

When making travel choices, clients can now request bespoke and market-tailored sustainability assessments of their preferred airlines or private aircraft operators, from a flight operations perspective.

EESI is designed to help clients make informed aircraft and operator choices to minimise, as well as mitigate, their carbon (and non-carbon) emissions, thus helping reduce the environmental impact of their touring or corporate travel.

Ian Patterson, CEO of Equinox, said: “We’re not naïve to the impact of aviation on the environment. However, as providers of both commercial and private travel, and an intermediary between travellers and aircraft operators, we feel Equinox is well-positioned to encourage responsible choices when it comes to flying and to drive confidence and assurance by those choices.”

The company’s three-tiered approach involves varying levels of operator analysis conducted by Equinox’s Sustainable Flight Operations Consultant, Douglas Corbett.

  • Lower-tier assessments look at a combination of existing carbon mitigation culture, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) efforts, as well as published technical data and other available third-party information
  • Middle-tier analysis goes a step further and involves direct contact with the operator, gathering specific information against a 100-point matrix, recording any technical and non-technical flight operations initiatives
  • Top-tier assessment involves a much deeper flight operations review with expert analysis and direct flight observations, sustainability line checks, as well as an in-depth evaluation against criteria such as culture, ground operations, airmanship and crew training.

The initiative is managed by Corbett, whose experience as a private jet and airline instructor pilot allows him to work closely with the specialist travel team in offering this service to their clients, across both commercial airline travel and business aviation.

“The day-to-day impact of flying doesn’t just need mitigating but also minimising. This is why Equinox and I have set out to examine and assess the primary source of flight emissions: the flight operation itself,” said Corbett.

“Carbon offsetting and SAFs can go a long way, but we also want to be able to assure clients that their preferred operators are doing whatever they can to tackle actual flight emissions at the point of origin.

“We believe sustainable aviation requires a ‘belt and braces’ approach. Every detail, from fuel burn to raw material use, has an impact on emissions. When auditing operators, we rigorously examine the technical and non-technical aspects of flight operations ‘in the field’, and help our clients communicate the tangible action taken by the operators they choose to work with.”

Elliot Bottomley, Managing Director of Equinox Charter, added: “Following a tough couple of years, we’re now seeing a huge appetite for international travel. For many of our clients, particularly touring artists, summer is shaping up to be extremely busy.

“Some artists have already embarked on their world tours and their measures around sustainable accommodation, ground transportation and even food consumption, are heavily publicised. However, beyond offsetting, there seem to be no tangible results when it comes to flying. Simply not flying is not the answer.

“Through our Enhanced Sustainability Initiative, we will use in-depth operator insight to empower clients to consider ESG credentials in their decision-making, alongside usual factors such as safety, price and reputation. The three-tiered approach ensures clients can tailor the depth of assessment according to their requirements.”

Among the driving forces behind the new initiative is the growing demand for comprehensive ESG reporting. Equinox recognises that when it comes to sustainability, larger businesses are now accountable not only to their shareholders, but also to the public.

To help clients address this challenge, the travel company’s enhanced, operations-based sustainability reports are designed to help them understand and communicate their chosen operators’ efforts. With this, it is hoped clients can proceed to book aircraft with confidence and assurance.

The initiative forms part of Equinox’ wider sustainability commitment, alongside carbon offsetting and empty leg charters. It seeks to balance some of the ‘greenwashing’ and growing misinformation in the industry – including false claims, self-applied certifications, and an apparent over-reliance on carbon offsetting initiatives.

As a member of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Equinox Charter agrees with a poignant statement made by the industry body in recognition that offsetting is not a ‘license to pollute’.

The company believes more direct (and accountable) action can be taken to both minimise and mitigate the environmental impact of flying, and that operators that are willing to be open about their positive efforts will serve as catalysts for a unified drive towards change.

Patterson continued: “We’re not proclaiming we have the answer to sustainable travel. There are many contributing factors and exciting developments to look forward to, including SAFs, hydrogen-powered aircraft, more fuel-efficient aircraft and the emergence of eVTOLs.

“What we do want to offer, however, is further choice for our clients – enabling them to make operator and aircraft decisions based on environmental credentials, not simply price or service.”



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