The money, obtained through passenger donations, will fund the planting of thousands of trees destroyed by the 2018 fires.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has entrusted a €250,000 cheque to the project partners - Algarve Tourism Region, Territorial Planning and Environment Study Group (GEOTA), Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) and Monchique City Council - demonstrating Ryanair’s commitment to the Algarve region and the environment.

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, stated: “Ryanair, our team and our passengers are proud to collaborate on this reforestation initiative in the Monchique area of the Algarve. Thousands of hectares of forest were destroyed by the fires in 2018. We are very happy to donate this money to help restore the region’s forests and the unique natural beauty of the Monchique mountain range.”

Marlene Marques, President of GEOTA, stated: “The private sector commitment offers civil society the opportunity to support the restoration of important and unique forest habitats in the Monchique fire-devastated areas. Renaturalising Monchique will help restore the cultural landscapes of this area, a major national and international tourist destination. We therefore welcome the support of Ryanair and its customers in this initiative by returning vital habitats to this area, not only for the species that flourish in these habitats, but also in the recovery of forests and growing vegetation by the rivers, which elevate the cultural importance of this place. By doing so, Ryanair is also helping the local authority to achieve its United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by preventing further soil degradation and supporting climate change mitigation efforts through carbon dioxide capture through tree planting.”

João Fernandes, President of the Algarve Tourism Region, stated: “Being a region internationally best known for the excellence of its beaches and golf courses, its commitment to nature is becoming more and more important in the tourist value of the Algarve. We therefore applaud Ryanair and it’s passengers’ commitment to the renaturalisation of the Serra de Monchique, whose forest habitats were devastated by fire in 2018. Without the will of all parties involved - GEOTA, ICNF, Monchique Municipality and Algarve Tourism apart from Ryanair - it would not be possible to promote the ecological restoration of Monchique’s land and forests in harmony with the rest of the Algarve, which as a whole remains the main holiday destination in Portugal.”

Rui André, Mayor of Monchique, stated: “The forest, its management and planning as well as the way people relate to their rural and forest territory will undoubtedly be a major challenge for our collective future. Climate change that makes us look to the future with great concern requires profound changes in everyone’s daily lives, seeking a carbon balance, for which the essential role of our forest will be critical. The challenge is global, but the necessary relationship between legislators and civil society, coupled with corporate social responsibility, scientific knowledge and local populations, make such projects an invaluable contribution to necessary change. The 2018 fire is a challenging opportunity to design a new, productive and environmental landscape, but also to enable people to live in harmony and safety in a more resilient environment that continues to make Monchique a true garden, but above all the lungs of the Algarve region.”