Ryanair Adverts Deemed Misleading By UK Ad Watchdog

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Ryanair has landed in a spot of bother with regard to a recent advertising campaign. The Irish low-cost carrier was found to have misled consumers with three adverts about the airline’s low CO2 emissions.

Ryanair, Profits, Boeing 737 MAX
Ryanair’s adverts were ruled as misleading by the Advertising Standards Agency. Photo: Ryanair

Ryanair is one of Europe’s largest airlines. It claims that, due to its high load factors and relatively young fleet, it is one of the region’s most environmentally friendly airlines. In fact, the airline has emissions of just 66g per passenger per kilometer. This means that Ryanair’s passengers halve their CO2 emissions compared to other EU airlines.

Advertising Standards Agency ruling

However, the advertising standards agency isn’t happy with the claims presented by Ryanair in three recent advertisements. In its weekly report, it stated that all three of the adverts had breached rules on misleading advertising, substantiation, and environmental claims.

The first advert appeared in newspapers on the 15th of September 2019. The second advert appeared on the television on the 23rd of September 2019. Finally, the third appeared on the radio on the 27th of September 2019.

Ryanair, Skyscanner, injunction
The airline had called itself “Europe’s … Lowest Emissions Airline”. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The complaints regarding these adverts centered around the low-cost airline’s environmental claims. One complaint specifically questioned whether by their nature airlines could be low emissions. It was further questioned whether the claims “Europe’s … Lowest Emissions Airline” and “low CO2 emissions” were misleading on that basis.

The regulator commented: “While we were satisfied that CO2 per passenger distance was an appropriate method to compare the carbon footprint of passengers on different airlines, we were concerned that the basis of the claims had not been made clear in the ads and that the evidence provided was insufficient to demonstrate that Ryanair was the lowest carbon-emitting airline on the basis of that metric.”

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As a result, the Advertising Standards Agency has informed Ryanair that it may not use any of the three adverts in their ‘current forms’.

Ryanair 737 MAX
Ryanair is not expecting any Boeing 737 MAX aircraft before September. Photo: Boeing

Ryanair’s environmental commitment

Ryanair takes its environmental commitment fairly seriously. As such, it has set a goal to reach carbon emissions per passenger per kilometer of just 60 grams. This, it is achieving partially through the introduction of the delayed Boeing 737 MAX 200. This will allow Ryanair to carry more passengers. Simultaneously, the aircraft is more fuel-efficient. As such, Ryanair has found a win-win with the aircraft.

However, Ryanair now doesn’t expect to receive these aircraft until September or October at the earliest. Once the MAX as a whole is recertified the -200 which has been made specifically for Ryanair will need to undergo its own certification due to its increased capacity. However, earlier this week, Ryanair also revealed that it has an offer on the table for the larger Boeing 737 MAX 10 variant.

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Do you think Ryanair’s claims are misleading or should be allowed as is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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