According to The Wall Street Journal Europe (November 7, 2006), Irish company Ryanair has reported unusually high net earnings in its second quarter. This jump in profits is particularly unusual since fuel prices have been rising of late. However, ticket prices have gone up to combat the trend. British consumers make up a massive part of the company’s sales. Consumers have been speaking up about the cheap flight companies available to them. The British are concerned that these very inexpensive travel options are contributing to global warming, given the huge amounts of carbon dioxide released from a single aircraft. Inevitably, travellers are focusing on budget airlines like Ryanair to give them a cheaper holiday. This means that more and more of us are buying up plane tickets. More airline tickets sold means that more flights are taking off, thus contributing to the carbon emissions of Great Britain and every other nation connected with the cheap airlines.
Ryanair’s profit rise comes as a bit of a shock following the outcry against carbon emissions and unnecessary plane journeys. But, Ryanair’s 24% increase in profits is hardly a coincidence. Share values have risen accordingly, and Ryanair seems to be in no danger of losing out to environmental concerns of a nation of travellers and taxpayers. Great Britain’s Labour government has just recently released an environmental report (the Stern Report, fittingly) calling for strict green taxes throughout the country. Government officials have compiled extensive ecological research and have decided that the best course of action is to impose harsh taxes on all flights, auto trips and any other action that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
While the Stern Report itself is appreciated by most as a bit of truth in politics that is sorely needed, the idea of such harsh taxation is not a completely popular idea. Most travellers admit that if they were asked to pay high taxes on flights and other travel, they would simply pay the fee and not cut down on emissions. What will this achieve? Very little, if surveys are to be believed. As the largest low-fee airline in Europe, Ryanair sales can be considered a pretty fair representation of flight trends in Great Britain and throughout the continent.
The figures speak for themselves. Environmental concerns are higher than they’ve ever been. Even then, people continue to add to carbon emissions when cheap flights are in the cards. What this means for the future of the environment is hard to say, but it seems quite clear that everyone in Great Britain is destined to pay stiff travel taxes while carbon emissions continue to rise.
Ryanair profit rises 24% (2006, November 7). The Wall Street Journal Europe.