Ryanair Competes With Coal As Top EU Polluter

by Miles Jackson

Well, this certainly is not a list you want to be on. Ultra low cost carrier Ryanair already has a not-so-great,  no-frills reputation that sometimes has fights break out mid-flight. It also now holds the distinction of becoming the first airline to make the top 10 ranking of European Union carbon polluters.

Ryanair’s emissions in 2018 made them one of the top emitters under the EU’s Emission Trading System (EU ETS), according to an official report of Verified Emissions (2018). The report gave Ryanair the “honor” of becoming the first non-coal plant to enter the top 10 list of polluters.

Tons of Carbon Emissions

The Dublin-based airline reported dumping nearly 9.9 tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, up seven per cent on their 2017 emissions. Of the top 10, the rest of the top polluters were power plants or burning coal that were located in Bulgaria, Germany, and Poland.

As the EU ETS only reports emissions of flights within Europe, global carriers’ flights departing from, or headed to destinations outside of the EU do not get included in the numbers.

Ryanair’s Position

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary once described climate change concerns as “complete and utter rubbish.” However, he has rethought this position as the airline had recently pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions per passenger from 66.7 grams PPM (per passenger mile) to 61.4 by 2020.

(Image Aviointeriors Group)

Perhaps Ryanair will revisit its thoughts on installing the Skyrider to accomplish this goal. The Skyrider 3.0, designed by Aviointeriors Group, presented an updated version of the ‘standing seats’ at the 2019 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. This design can squeeze 20% more passengers into a standard aircraft. After all, more passengers per plane equals lower emission per passenger, right? 😛

The Upshot

While Ryanair is a top polluter overall, in a statement they claim that per passenger ,they are one of the greenest EU carriers.

It’s definitely concerning for an airline to make this list amongst coal polluters and power plants. However, there are more fuel efficient aircraft being delivered to airlines like the 737 MAX and Airbus neo series that should help. Still, there’s no denying that aircraft have a serious impact on the environment.

Does carbon emissions from flights influence your travel decisions?

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1 comment

Wes April 3, 2019 - 7:19 pm

So let’s see…Ireland has the lowest corporate taxes in the EU, Ryanair is the largest intra-EU carrier, they do it with American planes, and their CEO doesn’t ask “how high?” when Brussels/Germany tells him to jump. Yeah, no motive for bias from the EU with selective presentation of stats here!!!


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