Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary donates 250 thousand euros to “renature Monchique”
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, appears to remember his time in the Algarve, when he saw Monchique burn last year. The infamous Irish airline boss saw the devastation occurring with his own eyes whilst he was on holiday.
The first step of the “Renature Monchique” programme was taken on Tuesday, October 22nd, with the ceremonial planting of an oak tree. In total there will be 75,000 new trees scattered throughout the mountains under this programme.
Indigenous species such as chestnut trees (Castanea sativa), strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), and Monchique oaks (Quercus canariensis) will be planted over an area 250 hectares. A small portion of the 38,000 hectares that burned on the mountain, but progress nonetheless.
In a symbolic ceremony, Ryanair officials drove to Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve (902 meters), to deliver a check of 250,000 euros, thanks to passenger donations to help with the “renaturing” process of the Monchique mountain range.
“This is a very important day for both us and our customers. The Algarve is crucial to us and we are aware of the need to protect the environment and to invest some of our profits,” revealed Michael O’Leary.
Despite being well known worldwide for its beaches and coastline, the Algarve has much more on offer that can attract tourists. “Our customers come to the region also for nature tourism, a category in which Monchique is strong,” said the CEO of the Irish airline.
The project is the result of a partnership that brings together Ryanair, Monchique Council, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, Algarve Tourism, and GEOTA (Spatial Planning and Environment Study Group).
“The partnership among all these entities is a key part of our social responsibility. We want to work with these partners to restore this area. This is a really important project,” added Mr. O’Leary.
For Rui André, the presence of the Irish airline is crucial. “I would like to thank Ryanair very much, and it is important in the future that they continue to be our partner in promoting this cause,” said the mayor of Monchique, addressing O’Leary.
«The sad episode of 2018 can be taken as an opportunity to rethink the future and redesign our landscape. Above all, trying to seek the balance that existed in ancient times is a difficult job, but I am sure that we will be able to do so with Ryanair’s help,” added the mayor.
Furthermore, João Fernandes, president of Algarve Tourism, expressed satisfaction at how Ryanair had contacted him asking for his participation.
“This is because tourism can be a driver of territorial development, helping to solve crises,” he explained.
In conclusion, one can critique Ryanair for their company mantra and the litany of complaints that they receive, but there is no doubt that this large donation will play a big role in healing the ecological scars that have been left on Monchique.