EasyJet has said the low cost of its purchase of carbon offsets for all passengers is due to the wholesale price it obtains because of its size.

The carrier began buying carbon offsets for passengers in mid-November, revealing the scheme would cost £25 million in the first 12 months.

EasyJet carried 96 million passengers in the year to September 2019 and expects to carry 99 million this year, meaning the cost of carbon offsetting will be barely 25p per passenger this year.

Passengers who individually carbon offset flights would pay about £13 on a return Gatwick-Malaga fare or £6.50 one way.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We reckon it will cost £75 million to £100 million over three years. It’s important to understand these are wholesale prices.

“It’s a good price because we’re buying at such scale, because we are so big.

“We’re one of the biggest investors in these projects. EasyJet has taken about 10% of the wholesale voluntary offsetting market globally.”

Lundgren said: “If you offset yourself, you pay three to five times more.”

The carrier insists all the offsets it buys “meet either Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) accreditation”.

Lundgren called on rival airlines to follow suit last month when reporting first-quarter results.

He said: “The initiative has already had a positive impact. Nine million customers have flown net zero and we’ve offset 800,00 tonnes of carbon [since November].

“It has increased customer satisfaction – 11% of customers say they are more likely to choose easyJet in future. It shows customers are aware.

“We’re calling for other airlines to follow us. We think it’s the right thing to do. It’s something people appreciate. [But] we recognise offsetting is only an interim measure.”

Robert Carey, easyJet chief commercial and strategy officer, told a Business Travel Association conference in London last week: “We’re the largest voluntary carbon-offset purchaser in the world [and] the data is pretty clear – 80% of [business] travellers say they are concerned about the impact of travel on the environment.

“Customers expect us to do the work. It’s expensive to do individually and it’s really hard to check whether offset schemes do what they say.”

Lundgren hailed the announcement last week that US partner Wright Electric is to begin work on an electric aircraft engine, describing it as a step towards “a future not exclusively reliant on jet fuel”.