Ryanair signed an agreement with Shell on Thursday that it said would give it potential access to 360,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from 2025 to 2030 as the low-cost carrier seeks to cut its carbon emissions.
The Irish airline, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, committed last year to powering 12.5% of its flights with SAF by 2030 as it moves towards cutting emissions to net zero by 2050.
Ryanair, which operates an average of 3000 flights per day, said the memorandum of understanding with Shell covered the equivalent of over 70,000 flights from Dublin to Milan.
It could also save 900,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions, Ryanair said, and follows similar agreements it has struck with Finnish biofuel producer Neste and Austrian oil and gas group OMV.
Sustainable jet fuel generally produces up to 70% less carbon than fossil fuels, offering airlines a way to become greener while continuing to fly, before less carbon-intensive hybrid, electric or hydrogen aeroplane options become available.
Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told an Irish parliamentary committee on Wednesday that he did not expect a hydrogen engine to be ready before 2040 or 2050.
Shell aims for renewable fuel to account for 10% of its global jet sales by 2030.
“This initial agreement demonstrates that both companies recognise that SAF is the key to unlock a net zero future for aviation,” Shell Aviation President Jan Toschka said in a statement.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)