Ryanair plans to power 12.5 per cent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030, the airline said this morning.
The announcement comes days after its rival British Airways committed to using the fuels to power 10 per cent of its flights.
Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary had said earlier this month that the proportion was likely to be just three to five per cent in the coming decade.
“As Europe’s largest airline, we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment,” the airline’s sustainability director Thomas Fowler said in a statement.
Ryanair says the high number of passengers it squeezes into its jets gives it one of the lowest levels of carbon use per passenger in Europe.
The budget airline says its order of the 210 Boeing 737 Max jets, which use 16 per cent less fuel than the current versions, will cement its leadership in the area.
However, critics claim the low-cost business model encourages people to fly more frequently.
Ryanair plans to grow from flying 150 million passengers per year to 200 million within five years, although it says total short-haul capacity in Europe is likely to be up to 30 per cent lower after the pandemic.
Sustainable jet fuel generally produces around 70 per cent less carbon than fossil fuels, giving airlines a way to become greener while continuing to fly.
British Airways owner IAG set its 2030 goal at 10 per cent last week, with less carbon-intensive options to become available later in the decade.
Ryanair also said it would provide a $1.8m donation to Trinity College Dublin to launch a sustainable aviation research centre.