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Travel industry news

07 Mar 2018

BY Tom Parry


Ryanair threatens to 'ground flights' to make voters rethink Brexit

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has threatened to ground his airline’s aircraft post-Brexit to make the UK “rethink” leaving the EU.

Michael OLeary, director and CEO of Ryanair

Boss Michael O’Leary said the British public had to realise they are "no longer going to have cheap holidays" after leaving the EU

Speaking in Brussels to an audience of aviation sector figures, O’Leary said he wanted to "create an opportunity" by making the British public realise they are "no longer going to have cheap holidays".


"I think it’s in our interests - not for a long period of time - that the aircraft are grounded,” he said.


"It’s only when you get to that stage where you’re going to persuade the average British voter that you were lied to in the entire Brexit debate.


"You were promised you could leave the EU and everything would stay the same. The reality is you can leave the EU, yes that’s your choice, but everything will fundamentally change."


O’Leary, chief executive of the Irish carrier, warned that there would be a "real crisis" should flights between the UK and the EU become disrupted following Brexit, The Telegraph reports.


He added: "When you begin to realise that you’re no longer going to have cheap holidays in Portugal or Spain or Italy, you’ve got to drive to Scotland or get a ferry to Ireland as your only holiday options, maybe we’ll begin to rethink the whole Brexit debate.


"They were misled and I think we have to create an opportunity."


EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, who was on stage alongside O’Leary at the event, reportedly interjected saying: "If you start grounding your planes, I’m flying."


Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa Group chief executive, added: "In theory, if we could use this industry to prove to the British how wrong the decision was, that might be a good thing."


O’Leary has repeatedly warned that airlines will be forced to cancel post-Brexit services from March 2019 if no agreement is reached in the Brexit negotiations by September.


However transport secretary Chris Grayling has maintained that flights will not be grounded following Britain leaving the EU and was reported in January as saying he believed "it’s in the interests of everyone" to maintain an open market for aviation.

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