Michael O’Leary called for a “fairer environmental tax regime” across the EU and urged the government to develop new policies for air transport in the wake of the “traumatic effects of Covid”.
What we think is unfair is that in our case all environmental taxes are only levied on point-to-point passengers on short-haul flights in Europe,” the Ryanair founder said today at the airline’s Sustainability Day at Trinity College Dublin.
The airline unveiled a fuel agreement with Shell at the event, giving Ryanair potential access to 360,000 tonnes of greener jet fuel between 2025 and 2030.
“Our passengers pay an average environmental tax of €4 on an average fare of €40,” O’Leary said, adding that it was “unsustainable and inexplicable” that long-haul passengers traveling to Europe should be exempt from these taxes.
According to Mr O’Leary, these long-haul passengers from regions like Asia or North America account for more than half of Europe’s emissions, while environmental taxes remain a “key issue” for countries on the edge of Europe like Portugal and Ireland.
“The Belgians and Dutch in particular design the environmental tax in such a way that they don’t pay it, but ask everyone else to pay it,” he said.
The airline met several Green MPs in Brussels this week to discuss expanding the tax.
He also pointed to what he saw as a lack of action on aviation policy by the current Transport Secretary, Eamon Ryan.
Meanwhile, he said Ryanair was “surprised by the strength of demand” in recent months despite the cost of living crisis.
The airline expected demand to flatten after the busy summertime period, but demand from September through Christmas was “very strong”, underpinned by the volume of transatlantic passengers.
“Christmas is filling up right now,” he said. “Prices are above pre-Covid 2019.”
However, Mr O’Leary said he was “cautious” about the first quarter of the year, with Easter in April next year.
“We expect people to cut back as they face recession fears and rising interest rates.”
Despite this, the airline expects next summer to remain strong across Europe “as long as there is no negative news about Covid or Ukraine”.
Mr O’Leary also criticized operations at Dublin Airport, with security delays disrupting the crucial summer holiday season. The airport held a recruitment event last month to fill vacancies in its divisions, including security and retail.
“Having a recruitment fair at the end of November is just a PR spider,” he said. “That’s a simple question. Do you have enough staff to open the 14 security points? [for the Christmas period]?”
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/michael-oleary-says-environmental-levy-should-extend-to-long-haul-flights-42187859.html Michael O’Leary says the environmental tax should extend to long-haul flights