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Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary supports the UK to stay in the EU

The battle between the two major budget airlines has seen an unlikely truce as Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary comes out firmly in the stay in Europe camp, agreeing with opposite number EasyJet chief, Dame Carolyn McCall who also claimed just a few days previously that a Brexit would see us return to the days when flying was ‘reserved for the elite’. She added that the era of cheap flights will come to an end and passenger safety will be put in jeopardy if Britain leaves the EU, a sentiment which was echoed by Peter Long, former boss of the Tui travel group that owns Thomson and First Choice. He went on to suggest that; “staying in the EU was essential to ‘protect the security of our holidaymakers”.

Michael O’Leary has spoken passionately urging voters to consider the possible consequences for travellers, should we leave the European Union. He confirmed that Ryanair was a committed supporter of the UK remaining in the Union, even though he has, on many occasions, been highly critical of both this country and the EU, which was, he perceived, to be failing to promote low-fare tourism growth in areas such as Air Passenger Duty. He also joined in the debate about the lack of, and indecision regarding additional runway capacity in the south-east of England.

Ryanair is anxious to see EU reform; he hopes it would become more efficient, which would be for the benefit of all of Europe’s consumers. He is a firm believer that the UK can influence and lead from within the Union, citing Norway as an example he said: “the UK will still pay, will still obey the rules, but will have no influence over decision making”. Claiming to be the UK’s largest airline he went on to say that the UK’s economy and growth prospects are stronger in the Union than outside of it.

During a press conference, and it typical Michael O’Leary fashion, he said he feared British bureaucrats more than those in the EU, saying a vote to leave would mean Asia and the US will no longer want to invest in the UK and will invest more into other countries like Germany and Ireland.

However he did disagree with rival McCall, he didn’t think air fares would rise if the UK did leave the EU, despite European policy helping drive down prices. Naturally he had to have a final dig at the British government inaction in the form of Air Passenger Duty and failing to make a decision on expanding airport capacity in London, those would be the two things that would make fares rise.

Picture: Santi Rodriguez /



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