Ryanair is to set a European Union first by becoming the first airline to release monthly CO2 statistics. The airline hopes to challenge the industry while leading by example.
If all airlines begin to publish monthly CO2 statistics, it could have an effect on the industry’s carbon footprint. Airlines could feel shamed for having higher carbon dioxide emissions, which could encourage them to cut underperforming routes in order to boost their score. Ryanair claims that they have the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger per kilometre of any EU airline.
66g per passenger per kilometre
Ryanair currently delivers an average CO2 emission of 66g per passenger per km. This is calculated by dividing the carrier’s total carbon dioxide output by the total distance flown by the airline, and the number of passengers carried.
In fact, while 66g per passenger seems impressive, it’s not good enough for Ryanair. The low-cost Irish carrier aims to cut this to just 60g per person per km. They will achieve this with their new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, of which they are expecting 210 by 2024.
A game of load factors
Part of the reason that Ryanair’s carbon emissions per passenger per kilometre are so low is due to the carrier’s impressive load factors. Load factor is essentially the number of seats filled per plane. For Ryanair this is an impressive 96%. This means that 96% of the seats flown by the airline were occupied.
Full service airlines tend to have lower load factors than low cost carriers. In fact, the Lufthansa Group’s load factor for January stands at just 76.4%. This is far below what Ryanair reported for the same month at 91%.
Irresponsible for the environment?
Lufthansa has previously called out low cost fares for being irresponsible in environmental terms. However, I dispute this. Take the Frankfurt to Manchester route. While Lufthansa may operate this route five times on any given day, Ryanair will operate it once.
I’d argue that by flying less often, and encouraging people to pick one flight with cheap fares, Ryanair is actually being the opposite of irresponsible.
Speaking of the new reporting standards, Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said in a statement:
“Ryanair is Europe’s greenest/cleanest airline. We have the youngest fleet and highest load factors, so our CO2 per passenger/km is 67g p.a (almost half the rate of other big European airlines). Over the past decade Ryanair’s CO2 per passenger/km has been cut by 18% from 82g to 67g, while competitors such as Lufthansa, BA and AF-KLM currently generate over 120g per passenger/km.”
What do you think of Ryanair’s new reporting standards? Let us know in the comments!