Could cheap flights be coming to an end? Green Party MEP says he can’t go on ‘while the planet burns’

Often people can decide on a last minute trip after finding cheap flights online and grabbing the opportunity to visit a new place.

However, as the global environmental crisis worsens, cheap flights may be a thing of the past.

Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe said ‘the €10 flight across Europe’ must end if the world is serious about tackling climate change.

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He said that in 2017 the Irish aviation sector in Dublin accounted for 3.8% of WU’s emissions and said that if that figure were to drop, ticket prices had to rise.

The Ryanair flight to Lisbon departs from Dublin Airport.

Speaking on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder, Mr Cuffe said: “I think the bigger picture is that we are in a climate emergency, we need to act.

“One of the first things we can do is to fly less, and I think with the rise of remote working in this COVID era, we’ve all learned how to do that and how to do it successfully.

“And I think we just can’t go on with €10 flights halfway across Europe while the planet is burning.”

Instead, Mr Cuffe suggested people use other infrastructure such as trains to travel between countries, using his own experience to prove his point.

He said: “I’m working a lot from Brussels, and I’m hoping to go to a conference in Vienna in May, and I’m just going to jump on a night train, get on the train, get on a [cabin]fall asleep and wake up rested in Vienna.

“Alternatively, I could take a two-hour flight, and for a trip like that, it [the train] is a sensible alternative with a much lower carbon footprint.”

Taking the train can reduce carbon emissions by up to 50% compared to flying, as it is designed to carry a large number of passengers, so emissions per capita are significantly lower.

However, responding to Mr Cuffe’s suggestion, Cityjet founder and chairman Pat Byrne said the trains were not suitable for everyone with busy working lives.

He said, “Have you tried to work on a train?”

“Have you tried working on the train that goes from London to Paris? From London to Brussels?”

He added: “A night train isn’t exactly cheap, and there’s also been a decrease since 2010 in the number of night trains, so they’re not that easy to use.”

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