Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson has called on airport operators to reward the airline for quieter and more efficient planes.
Mr Wilson said the new Ryanair Boeing 737 8200 MAX planes were 40 per cent less noisy than their replacements and burned 16 per cent less fuel per passenger.
Ryanair is replacing the Boeing 737-800 with the Boeing 737 8200 MAX. Already 70 have been pressed into service and another 55 aircraft are set for delivery from September to March next year.
“Airports should reward those airlines that are spending billions of dollars like ourselves. We should pay less for passengers. Those who don’t invest and use gas-guzzling aircraft should pay double. Airport will take the same amount of money in, but will just incentivise those with less carbon emissions,” he said.
Mr Wilson said Ryanair was serious about reducing aviation emissions and was collaborating with Trinity College Dublin to create the Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre. The airline donated €1.5 million last year to help cover the cost of hiring six researchers.
“It is really meaningful research on sustainable aviation fuel so that people know that this is not greenwashing. California has huge tax incentives for making sustainable aviation fuels. Once you bring the price of it down, it will gradually bring down the footprint of passengers. Over time the use of more sustainable aviation fuel will further reduce emissions,” he said.
The aim is to find a “sweet spot” where larger aircraft, more efficient engines and more sustainable aviation fuels could allow passengers to continue flying, he said.
Low carbon options such as electric- and hydrogen-powered planes were a long way off, he added. “We need engine propulsion systems that we can rely on.”
Ryanair is one of several European airlines which claims to be aiming for “net-zero emissions” by 2050. However, a recent Greenpeace report found the Irish carrier along with the six other biggest European airline groups were failing to take sufficient measures to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Meanwhile, Mr Wilson welcomed the new runway at Dublin Airport which opened last month, saying he believed it would have a positive environmental effect. “The quicker that aircraft get into the air, the better it is for fuel efficiency,” he said.
A scheduled Ryanair flight from Dublin to Eindhoven on Wednesday, August 24th was the first aircraft to use the new runway which has been mooted since 2004 and faced numerous planning delays.
The same aircraft arrived back from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport with 50 per cent of its fuel update comprising sustainable aviation fuel.
Mr Wilson said the runway would greatly increase the efficiency of Dublin Airport allowing aircraft to take off and land in time meaning there will be less waiting time on the tarmac.