Budget airline, Ryanair, has been named ‘the cleanest’ airline ‘by passenger volume,’ according to a recent report by the US sustainability technology company, Brighter Planet.
However, a report on independent.ie also said that the no-frills airline emits nearly as much carbon dioxide as the island country of Cyprus and its entire population of 1.1 million people. Cyprus, which plays host to more than two million tourists a year, produces 7.9 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, according to latest figures from the Environmental Assessment Agency in the Netherlands and the European Commission
Ryanair’s vast fleet of aircraft produced about 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 last year, according to a spokesman for Ryanair.
When asked if Ryanair’s carbon footprint was high given the statistics, the spokesman said: ‘Ryanair emits the lowest level of C02 per passenger of any European airline. Ryanair also operates the greenest, cleanest fleet of aircraft, with an average age of less than five years.’
According to the report by Brighter Planet, which compared the fuel efficiency of 20 airlines across the world, including American Airlines, British Airways and easyJet, Ryanair only uses about a third of the fuel some other airlines do to transport an average passenger one mile.
‘From a business perspective, as well as an environmental one, this is non-trivial,’ the report said, adding ‘Higher efficiency is a boon that allows airlines to pass financial and environmental savings on to their customers.’
However, Ryanair’s millions of passengers who pay baggage charges when checking in luggage are unlikely to agree about the savings being passed on to them. During the summer season, checking in a standard 20kg bag for a return Ryanair flight can cost up to €280. Earlier this month, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said that he would further increase charges for checked baggage until passengers stop bringing luggage to go into the hold. He also warned that charges for carry-on bags would be unavoidable.
Under its expansion plans, Ryanair confirmed last June that that it had ordered 175 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft in a deal worth EUR11.5bn. Boeing’s largest aircraft order from a European airline and Ireland’s biggest ever industrial order, the fleet addition is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs, Ryanair claims.