Ryanair is set to buy green fuels from Shell between 2025 and 2030 as part of its green push.
The low-cost carrier today signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to purchase as much as 360,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by the end of the decade.
According to Ryanair, the agreement will save up to 900,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions – or the equivalent of 70,000 flights between Dublin and Milan.
“SAF plays a key role in our Pathway to Net Zero strategy, and also our commitment to a target of 12.5 per cent SAF by 2030,” said Ryanair’s sustainability director Thomas Fowler.
“Today’s agreement with Shell helps Ryanair secure access to circa 20 per cent of this ambitious goal.”
Christopher Surgenor, editor of trade publication GreenAir News, told City A.M. the move, “while significant”, might not be enough.
“By 2030, airlines have set a goal of having 10 per cent of their jet fuel coming from sustainable sources but given SAF is currently around 0.1 per cent of total supply, a big ramp up will be required over the coming decade,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary told journalists the airline’s target could be too ambitious.
“I’m not sure we’ll get there but by signing up more partnership agreements with Shell, with Neste and with the other fuel suppliers, I think that gives us our best chance of maybe getting to 8, maybe 10, maybe 11,” the chief executive told reporters.
The low-cost company has struck previous deals with Finnish biofuel producer Neste as well as Australian oil and gas group OMV.
“Who knows, hopefully we will get to 12.5 per cent by 2030,” O’Leary added. “But that will not happen unless we have a dramatic revolution in supply of production of SAFs and availability at our airports.”
O’Leary also said Christmas bookings were running ahead of pre-pandemic levels, while pricing was up by a low double-digit percentage.
The Irish businessman is not the first one to call on increased investment into SAF, as both airline veteran Willie Walsh and Rolls-Royce’s boss Warren East have previously called to ramp up production.