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Ryanair's O'Leary: UK walking off a cliff with Brexit

By Neil Lancefield

Published 23/11/2016

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has compared Government ministers to the characters of television sitcom Dad's Army due to their "lunatic optimism" over Brexit. The chief executive of the Dublin-based carrier claimed the UK was about to "walk off a cliff" by leaving the European Union.

Mr O'Leary, who supported the Remain campaign during the referendum, announced earlier this month that Ryanair had cut its growth plans in the UK next year from 12% to 5% because of the uncertainty over Brexit.

Asked what the low-cost airline would do if his expectations about the impact of the UK withdrawing from the EU turn out to be overly pessimistic, Mr O'Leary replied: "If we get it wrong I'm sure we'll come back into the UK with more aircraft and airports doing lower cost deals.

"But, frankly, there's very little evidence apart from some mildly lunatic optimism over here that it will be all right on the night.

"It's like Dad's Army going off to war here. It'll be all right Sergeant (sic) Jones. You'll just keep plodding along. These guys have no idea where they're going for the next two years and the problem is that in the absence of any discussions with the Europeans on Brexit, they're all talking to themselves.

"They stand up in the Houses of Parliament (and say) 'We're going to do a good deal for Britain'. Any idea what a good deal looks like? No, they haven't a clue. The UK is going to walk itself off a cliff unless somebody in the Tory Party comes up with a bright idea."

Aviation experts fear that flights by UK carriers could be grounded if the country withdraws from the aviation single market. The agreement, created in the 1990s, means there are no commercial restrictions for airlines flying within the EU.

Belfast Telegraph

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