Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has urged the Irish government to beware of imposing “unfair” environmental taxes on airlines.
r O’Leary said there was “great injustice” in the environmental taxation of air travel in Europe.
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin to mark Ryanair’s 35th anniversary, the airline boss said EU countries tax the most efficient form of air travel, thereby exempting the most polluting forms.
Mr O’Leary said Ryanair was committed to reducing its emissions to net zero by 2050 but said green taxes should be fairer.
Alongside Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, Mr O’Leary said the 2050 targets should be stricter.
“But be careful what we wish for,” he added.
“One of the problems we have with the environment is the huge injustice in environmental taxation of air travel in Europe.
“They tax the most efficient form of air travel, which is short-haul point-to-point travel. They exempt the two most polluting forms of air travel, namely… Transfer passengers are exempt from all environmental taxes and long-haul flights are exempt.
“For example, the richest pay nothing on long-haul flights, which are responsible for 55% of Europe’s emissions.
“We are committed to being net zero by 2050. But can we at least have some fairness ahead of 2023 or 2024? We accept that everyone who pays has to pay an environmental tax on air travel. I have no problem with that.
“But the richest people are the people who cause most of the pollution, should at least pay their fair share and not be exempt.
“What is happening at the moment is fundamentally unfair and wrong. It’s very harmful.
We should all pay our fair share, but everyone should pay.Michael O’Leary
“If you live in Ireland on the periphery of Europe we have no alternative. You can’t take a train. You cannot leave the island by bike. So we have to fly and the peripheral economies are at real risk from the taxation that has been drummed up in Holland, Germany and Belgium where they have alternatives.
“We in the peripheral countries don’t, and I think we call on the government to be careful.
“We should all pay our fair share, but everyone should pay.”
Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson said the airline aims to increase traffic in Ireland by 50%.
The airline will launch another 210 aircraft over the next four years.
“We’re going to grow from 165 million passengers this year to 225 million passengers and 10 million of those should actually be allocated to Ireland, it has the capacity to do that,” added Mr Wilson.
“But let’s not do anything stupid here by charging when I can get offers at other airports across Europe where I have cost certainty for the next eight or 10 years.
“If environmental taxes are introduced in Europe, we would say to the government at the European level, let’s make sure everyone pays the same.
“Right now, if you fly to Amsterdam and go on vacation to Aruba, you don’t pay a red cent in environmental taxes. That’s not fair when you think of people from Dublin flying to Amsterdam to visit kids in college etc.
I don’t like seeing people being climate-shamed, whether it’s farmers or people who fly.Leo Varadkar
“If there are to be environmental taxes, they have to be the same for everyone.”
Speaking at the Merrion Hotel, Mr Varadkar said any tax settlement must be “fair and reasonable”.
He added: “Climate change will transform the industry, but people will still want to fly. I don’t see aviation as an enemy, but as a partner in climate protection.
“I don’t like it when people face climate shame, whether it’s farmers or people who fly.
“We are an island nation and we need aviation to be connected to the world and climate change doesn’t change that.
“I believe that low-carbon aviation has a future. I am very curious to see what will happen in terms of sustainable and systematic aviation fuel.
“I know Ryanair is doing its part by buying new aircraft that use less fuel, make less noise and carry more passengers.”
Mr O’Leary said Ryanair passengers spend just over €1.5 billion in the Irish economy each year.
He also said Ryanair employed 2,300 direct jobs in 2019.
A report prepared by PwC found that for every employee Ryanair hires in Ireland, two full-time jobs are created in the economy.
“We support almost 5,000 jobs here in the economy and the visitors we bring to Ireland, around 18,000 jobs depend on them. They support 22,300 jobs here in the economy,” added Mr. O’Leary.
He said that although the airline was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was now “strongly recovering”.
https://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/irish-news/michael-oleary-urges-government-to-be-wary-of-unfair-environmental-taxes-42024175.html Michael O’Leary urges government to beware of ‘unfair’ environmental taxes