Ryanair, the airline which dominates passenger movements in and out of Malta, has become the first ever airline to make the top 10 list of worst polluting companies in Europe.
Research by Brussels-based Transport & Environment reveals the low-budget airline emitted an estimated 9.9 megatonnes of CO2 in 2018 an increase of 6.9 per cent.
It’s the first time a company that doesn’t operate coal-fired power plants has featured on the list. Power plants — seven of which are German — make up the rest of the companies. The biggest emitter was found to be Poland's Belchatow power station — the world's second largest fossil-fuel power plant. Ryanair took the 10th position on the list.
T&E also highlighted that airlines' emissions have been rising over the past five years, while those from other sectors are declining.
Speaking to Euronews, T&E's Aviation Manager Andrew Murphy, said “When it comes to climate, Ryanair is the new coal."
"Aviation is Europe's biggest climate failure. The worst thing we can do in response is to put all our hopes in an offsetting scheme that gives airlines a licence to grow indefinitely."
"But that is exactly what airlines have cooked up at the industry-dominated UN aviation agency. The time has come for a big change in Europe's aviation policy." Mr Murphy also added that airlines do not pay taxes on fuel or VAT on its tickets.
In a statement, Ryanair said it is "Europe’s greenest and cleanest airline." It added: "Passengers travelling on Ryanair have the lowest CO2 emissions per kilometre travelled than any other airline."