The no-frills company, which last weekend saw its charismatic CEO Michael O’Leary step back from the daily running of the airline –is supporting the Monchique Renaturation (Renaturalizar Monchique) project through “passenger donations to offset carbon emissions”.

In a statement, the airline said its contribution will help to “restore essential ecosystems and damaged terrain” destroyed by last year’s August fire, which also spread to the neighbouring counties of Silves and Portimão.

Marlene Marques, chair of a Monchique Land Planning and Environment Studies Group, says that this investment from the private sector “allows civil society to support the restoration of important and unique forest habitats that were destroyed by the fire in the Monchique region”.

“Monchique Renaturation will allow the restoration of the area’s cultural landscapes, being a tourist destination of great national and international relevance”, she added, elaborating: “We welcome the commitment of Ryanair and its passengers in supporting this initiative, in which we aim to restore these vital habitats, not only for the species that flourish there, but also for the replenishing of the arid forest and riverside vegetation that characterise this area of cultural interest”.

She explained that by establishing this partnership, Ryanair is also helping the local authority meet the requirements under the UN Sustainable Development Goals by preventing further land degradation and supporting efforts to mitigate climate change and carbon sequestration through tree-planting.

In turn, João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Board, also applauded Ryanair’s pledge: “Being an internationally-renowned region for the excellence of its beaches and golf courses, a commitment to nature becomes more relevant to the tourist value of the Algarve with every year that passes.

“That is why we applaud the commitment of Ryanair and its passengers to the renaturation of the Monchique mountain range, whose forest habitats have recently been devastated by fire”, he said.

Mr. Fernandes concluded: “Without the will of all parties involved - the non-governmental environment organisation GEOTA, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry, the Algarve Tourist Board and other local partners - as well as Ryanair - it would not be possible to promote the ecological restoration of land and the forests of Monchique in harmony with the rest of the Algarve, which in its entirety remains the main holiday destination in Portugal”.

Within Portugal, Ryanair last year also supported two other organisations – the Refúgio Aboim Ascenção children’s home in Faro and the Gil Foundation for children in Lisbon - through revenue raised with its in-flight ‘Fly to Win’ scratchcards.

The Irish airline also supports global environmental causes such as First Climate (Uganda), Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (Ireland) and Native Woodland Trust (Ireland).