Ryanair: Financial officer predicts surge in passengers
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France made the choice to ban some domestic flights in a move it said it would help limit air pollution. However, Mr O’Leary said there was no public support for a flight ban in a fiery tirade against Macron’s policy.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate summit, Mr O’Leary said: “Be very careful with the French.
“You can always tell when the French are lying because their lips are moving.
“France is banning all domestic flights that are under 500km- unless it is travelling on to a connecting flight through Paris Charles de Gaulle.
“So basically Air France will keep on flying, but everyone else will be banned.”
Mr O’Leary was sceptical of plans to introduce fines or sanctions on air travel as an environmental measure.
The Ryanair CEO said: “Flight-shaming has no traction whatsoever.” Flight-shaming or ‘flygskam’ is an anti-flying social movement.
First coined in Sweden, the movement aims to encourage people to take other forms of transport to lower emissions.
Air travel is one of the world’s biggest polluters and aviation is responsible for seven percent of emissions in the UK.
However, Mr O’Leary claimed there was no public support for a ban on flights and France’s law would just strengthen the nation’s own airline.
The French Parliament voted to ban air travel for routes of less than 2.5 hours that could be replaced by high speed trains in April this year.
Originally the plan proposed was to ban all domestic flights that could be replaced by a train journey of less than four hours.
However, the more extensive ban was rejected on the grounds that it would put people off travelling to isolated regions of France.
Flights on the popular route from Paris to Nice which takes six hours on the train will continue.
Aviation pollution is expected to be a major discussion topic at the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow.
The UK Government has discussed various options for curtailing air travel within Britain while climate activists have argued for strict fines.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering raising air passenger duty, a tax on airlines.
If he does so, the tax would likely raise the cost of passenger tickets, with the biggest increase in price on long haul flights.
Climate activists have campaigned for a frequent flyer levy which would tax those who take multiple flights per year.
Last week, the UK Government Business Department ‘Nudge Unit’ called for air passengers to be made to offset carbon emissions.
Mr O’Leary said passengers “would simply opt out” if the scheme was brought in for people travelling in the UK.
Airlines in the UK have previously said they are looking at ways to use sustainable fuels on flights to decrease carbon emissions.
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