Minister of State Jack Chambers has said he believes the personal criticism of Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary was “very unfair”.
“I think that’s unwarranted to personally criticise a minister in that way,” Mr Chambers said.
He said however that he fully supported the expansion plans from the daa, which operates Dublin Airport.
“It’s absolutely essential for jobs, for the growth of our economy. And I think if Dublin airport wasn’t to expand, it would have a serious impact on our island economy and our growth over the coming years,” he said.
He was speaking as the daa announced a €400 million spend on 20 sustainability projects.
Daa CEO Kenny Jacobs said the plan was not greenwashing and that the authority was very serious about the plans.
He said the expansion at the airport could not wait until more sustainable fuel options for aircraft were achieved.
“We are an island. We’re a very open economy. If we just say we’re waiting and we’re not doing any more growth, airlines will leave they will take capacity elsewhere, jobs will be lost connectivity will be lost.”
The daa says both Dublin and Cork airports are working towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a 51% reduction in energy use by 2030.
It aims to achieve this through projects, which included the electrification of 80% of its light vehicle fleet, including police vehicles and maintenance crews.
There are plans for its heavy fleet to use more hydro-treated vegetable oil and construction is commencing on a solar farm, which it hopes will eventually provide 11% of the airport’s energy needs.
Other plans include rainwater harvesting, kinetic flooring in Terminal 1, which will activate a generator as passengers walk by and more water leak detection.
A car pooling app for staff is being trialled while more cycling for staff and passengers is being encouraged, with more electric bikes and bike storage to be made available, as well as EV chargers for electric bikes in the car park.
Asked if these plans made sense, while airlines continue to be major carbon polluters, Mr Jacobs said: “Ryanair has got the youngest fleet in the world for an airline of its size. And I think by the time we complete these plans, Ryanair will probably be the world’s biggest airline.
“Aer Lingus has a very young fleet and they want to they want to upgrade that fleet. So I think Ireland’s in a good position.”
He said both airlines had high load factors which meant more efficient flying.
“So I think we are fortunate with the two Irish airlines that we have, they’re in very good place.”