Ryanair is shifting its brand positioning to focus on low fares and low emissions as it looks to get people thinking about airlines’ environmental credentials.

Ryanair’s CMO Kenny Jacobs is calling on airlines to ban business class because it is “the worst thing for the environment”.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Jacobs says: “There needs to be a discussion about business class. Someone travelling business [across the Atlantic] on average produces six times the carbon of a passenger who is travelling long haul economy. Business class is the worst thing for the environment. We need to do something about that.”

Reducing carbon emissions is a key focus of the low-cost airline’s new strategy as it looks to position itself on its environmental credentials as well as its low fares. The brand’s positioning is switching from ‘low fares and reliable service’ to ‘low fares and low emissions’ in reaction to growing consumer concerns about the impact of flying.

Jacobs says “everything we put in front of customers from now on will be about that”. That includes ramping up communications both on its website and in marketing in order to communicate the new positioning, with TV ads and print ads in national newspapers.

It is also making low emissions an internal brand pillar to ensure it is prioritised within the business as well as outwardly.

Not only does the brand see this as an environmental necessity, with Jacobs noting “climate change is real and the aviation industry does contribute”, it is also a key differentiator for travellers under 30.

“People take low fares for granted with Ryanair. They know we are the cheapest. We’re like Lidl and Aldi in the aviation category,” Jacobs says.

“We need to communicate with customers that you can go from British Airways to Ryanair and halve your emissions. That’s the type of message that we realise we need to get across to people.”

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