‘It has slipped his mind that this is an island,’ says Michael O’Leary of Eamon Ryan – The Irish Times

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has done nothing for air travel since taking office two years ago, according to Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary.

Speaking after the airline signed a sustainable aviation fuel deal with oil giant, Shell, Mr O’Leary said the Government lacked an aviation policy.

Ryanair wants Mr Ryan and the Government to back calls to extend environmental taxes on air travel to long haul flights, which account for 54 per cent of European aviation’s carbon emissions, but 6 per cent of its passengers.

Asked if Mr Ryan or the Government had heeded the call, Mr O’Leary argued that the minister had done nothing for aviation since taking office more than two years ago.

“It has slipped his mind as he cycles around Dublin 2 and 4 that this is an island, we’d like to remind him,” said the Ryanair Holdings chief executive.

The airline maintains that environmental taxes levied only on short-haul flights disadvantage peripheral nations, including the Republic, where flying is key to maintaining business and tourism links with the rest of the EU.

Extending the taxes to long- as well as short-haul flights would spread the burden, cutting around €2 to €2.50 from Ryanair’s average fare of €40, the airline maintains.

Ryanair will buy 120 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Shell between 2025 and 2030 under a deal signed on Thursday.

The airline calculates that the agreement will cut around 900,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which it says is equal to 70,000 flights between Dublin and Milan.

Jan Toschka, president of Shell Aviation, said the company was “very excited” to sign the deal.

“This initial agreement demonstrates that both companies recognise that sustainable aviation fuel is the key to unlock a net zero future for aviation,” he said.

Thomas Fowler, Ryanair’s sustainability director, noted that by 2030 the airline intended that 12.5 per cent of its fuel would sustainable.

“Today’s agreement with Shell helps Ryanair secure access to circa 20 per cent of this ambitious goal,” he added.

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