Ryanair flies into eco row

Ryanair's already turbulent relationship with environmentalists took another nose-dive this week, when it launched a giveaway of one million flights and offered to pay the customers' taxes, fees and charges.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010
Friends of the Earth dismissed the scheme as ‘grossly irresponsible', and you can see where they're coming from. The launch prompted the airline's busiest ever day, with customers making four million attempts to get tickets in the first five hours and causing the Ryanair website to crash. This only a week after it was revealed that April was a record breaker for flights; the monthly total passed the 2.5 million mark for the first time. This must all be a bit of a nuisance if you're an environmental group on an express mission to cut emissions. It is, after all, a lot of carbon.

Not that Ryanair seems particularly bothered about that. Earlier in the year boss Michael O'Leary rallied against the ‘eco-loonies', claimed climate change minister Ian Pearson ‘hadn't a clue what he was talking about', and proclaimed Ryanair ‘the greenest airline in Europe'. His company also recently announced it will discount 10m tickets in the summer.

Clearly, as governments latch on to the carbon emission issue and dream up ways to curtail travel, the tourism industry - and airlines in particular - will have to go the extra mile to secure their income. Judging by the success of Ryanair's offer, however, it seems climate change isn't looming large enough yet to deter the average punter from a decent bargain. 

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