Ryanair ads banned in UK due to misleading message about CO2 emissions


The British advertising regulator (ASA) announced on Wednesday that it had banned Ryanair advertising in September 2019 in print, radio and television

A press ad, a TV ad and a radio ad seen and heard in September 2019:

a. The press ad, seen on 15 September 2019, featured text which stated “Europe’s Lowest Fares, Lowest Emissions Airline”. Everybody knows that when you fly Ryanair you enjoy the lowest fares. But do you know you are travelling on the airline with Europe’s lowest emissions as well?” and “Ryanair has the lowest carbon emissions of any major airline – 66g CO2 for every passenger kilometre flown. This is because we have the youngest fleet of aircraft (avg. age 6 years, the highest load factors (97% of seats filled) and newest most fuel-efficient engines”.

b. The TV ad, seen on 23 September 2019, featured a voice-over which stated “Fly Ryanair. Europe’s low fare, low CO2 emissions airline from just £14.99. Book Ryanair today”.

c. The radio ad, heard on 27 September 2019, said “Fly Ryanair. Europe’s low fare, low CO2 emissions airline from just £14.99 one way… Ryanair, low fares, low CO2 emissions. Based on the top 27 European airlines”.

The regulator estimated that the Irish group had misled consumers, by presenting itself as the one with the lowest CO2 emissions in Europe among the major airlines.

However, ASA considered that it was difficult to define what a “large airline” was and that consumers could have the impression of contributing less to carbon emissions, which cannot be proven.

Ads (…) must not appear again in their current forms. We told Ryanair Ltd to ensure that when making environmental claims, they held adequate evidence to substantiate them and to ensure that the basis of those claims were made clear,” ​​demanded the regulator.

In a statement, Ryanair said it would comply with the ruling, but it was “disappointed and surprised” by the decision, and assures that it is the greenest air carrier in Europe.

According to its figures, it emits 66 grammes of CO2 per passenger per kilometre, 25% less pollution than other large companies.

We have successfully deployed this advertising message in ten countries in Europe,” said the group, which acknowledges “having made minor adjustments to the British market at the request of the competent authorities“.

According to its website, Ryanair is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions to 60 grammes by 2030 and says it is following the targets set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to lower them by 50% in 2050 compared to at the 2005 level.


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