Wednesday 21 February 2018

'There could be no flights to and from UK for months after Brexit' - Ryanair chief

  • O'Leary praises minister Shane Ross for his handling of Bus Eireann dispute
  • Brexit is the 'longest suicide note in history' and UK will pull back
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has revealed that flights to and from Britain could be cancelled in the weeks immediately after Brexit.

Speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk this morning, the airline CEO said he doesn't know what Britan's divorce from the EU will mean for the airline industry.

Mr O'Leary has explained that the UK is planning to leave the 'Open Skies' arrangement as part of the Brexit negotiations and he claims this will mean they will need to negotiate bilateral arrangements with European partners within the next two years.

"I think the Europeans are looking around and saying: 'how do we teach the British a lesson? Maybe cutting off flights for three months after March 2019 he will begin to understand what is going on.'

"Explaining passporting of financial services doesn't appeal to the guy in Hull or Grimsby or in Leicester that he can't go on holiday to Spain, now he begins to understand the risk. That there will not be flights to and from the UK for a couple of months or a couple of weeks after March 2019 is one of the ways that you demonstrate to Joe Public that this is what is happening."

Mr O'Leary said he believed that the UK "doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing".

And the airline chief predicted that Brexit may not actually happen, calling on Ireland to stand firm with EU nations.

"The closer you push Britain to the cliff edge in March 2019, I think the Tory party will turn back in on itself  and realise that leaving the largest trading bloc is a stupid idea.

"It's the longest suicide note in economic history and I think they will pull back. it is in Ireland's interests to stick with the Europeans."

He continued: "I see no upside for Britain leaving."

Mr O'Leary also shared his thoughts on the Bus Eireann strike. He said his solution for the public sector transport crisis would be to "privatise the entire industry".

"Ryanair has proven long ago that transport belongs in the private sector. The government is incapable of running a low-cost or efficient service."

Mr O'Leary said minister Shane Ross has "played a blinder" on the Bus Eireann dispute by staying out of it.

"You will only get common sense from the unions when they realise that they can't blackmail the government."

Mr O'Leary said there was no need for a minister for Transport.

"We deregulated airline travel and it was one of the greatest successes of the European Union. The state has no business being involved in public transport because the state is crap at running transport.

"In the same way as it is crap at running television and radio stations."

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