Ryanair claims to be ‘greenest and cleanest’ major airline in Europe

Carrier had been recently named one of continent’s worst polluters

Ryanair has again claimed to be Europe's greenest and cleanest major airline despite being named recently as one of the continent's worst polluters by the EU's Transport and Environment (T&E) group.

The carrier bases its claim to green credentials on having the lowest carbon footprint per passenger of any European airline.

The company published figures on Tuesday showing that it produced 69g of carbon-dioxide per passenger for every kilometre its craft travelled in December. It claimed this was half the rate of other rival European airlines.

However, according to data released last month by the T&E group, Ryanair was responsible for 9.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018, making it one of Europe’s top 10 worst polluters.


The airline was one of only two non-energy companies on the list, and the only airline. The other was container shipping company MSC. The other eight on the list were coal-fired power plants.

Aviation is one of the sectors coming under intense pressure to reduce its carbon footprint as public fears about climate change grow.

Ryanair became the first EU airline to start publishing monthly greenhouse gas data last year.

"With the youngest fleet and highest load factors, Ryanair is Europe's greenest/cleanest major airline," said chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.

“Our CO2 per passenger/km is the lowest in the industry, having been cut from 82g to 66g pa over the last decade, while other high-fare competitors currently generate over 120g per pax/km,” he said.

“The single most important thing any consumer can do to reduce their carbon footprint is switch to Ryanair.

“We are pleased to announce that our CO2 per pax/km for December was 69g, half the rate of other flag-carrier European airlines, and we are committed to reducing this by a further 10 per cent to under 60g per pax/km by 2030,” Mr Jacobs said.

Last year Ryanair published figures estimating that Lufthansa – Europe's biggest group after the Irish player – emits more than 120g per passenger per kilometre ,while Turkish Airlines and IAG, owner of Aer Lingus and British Airways (BA), produce 110g-119g.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times