Airline boss says EU made low fares possible and anti-EU politicians like Boris Johnson “selling an untruth to British”
Ryanair is to campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, even going so far as to brand its planes with pro- EU slogans, Michael O’Leary said in London last week.
He said EU deregulation and its free market rules had made it possible for low-fare airlines like his to flourish and that if Brexit happens Ryanair will take its investment elsewhere.
O’Leary promised to “bore everybody to death” by repeating his pro-EU message until the 23 June referendum.
“One of the great things that most people in the UK will have benefited from is deregulation. Europe is the one that has delivered low fare air travel and cheaper holidays for British citizens,” he said.
He said he feared regulation from Brussels a great deal less than regulation from a UK outside of the EU. He was scathing about the Tory “career politicians” – notably London Mayor Boris Johnson – who have lined up to campaign to pull Britain out of the EU.
“They don’t employ anybody, don’t create jobs and are generally passengers when it comes to the economy,” he said of them.
“Look at Norway. You have to sign up for the single market, you will still pay and still obey, but have absolutely no influence on the rule-making and reform of Europe.”
“As the UK’s largest airline, Ryanair is absolutely clear that the UK economy and its future growth prospects are stronger as a member of the European Union than they are outside of the EU.
“Ryanair, our people, and I hope the vast majority of our customers will all work together over the coming months to help deliver a resounding ‘yes’ vote on 23 June,” he said.
He said external investment in the UK would decline and the British government would inevitably make air travel more expensive.
“We as an airline will invest faster in other European companies such as the Czech Republic and Poland.
“The UK government will continue to push up the cost of air travel. I would fear more from UK bureaucracy than EU bureaucracy,” he added. Brexit campaigners claims that the UK would not have to pay to be part of the single market and would be free of regulation were simply “selling an untruth to the British people”.
“Boris and George Galloway will continue to make merry in their political best interest, that’s what they do, but we’re businesses and we employ people and we don’t want to make footballs out of these issues,” he said..
Ryanair employs more than 3,000 people in the UK and flies more than 35 million passengers between the UK and Europe every year. It expects to fly 23.6 million passengers, or about 20 per cent of its total, from the London airports Stansted, Gatwick and Luton.