Belfast Telegraph

Sir Stelios in flights warning ahead of EU referendum vote

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has claimed it is "very possible" that flights between the UK and Europe would be more expensive following a Leave vote in the EU referendum.

The Greek-born entrepreneur warned that Brexit may lead to more restrictions on airlines, which would reduce competition.

Sir Stelios founded easyJet in 1995 with two planes flying from Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and remains the low-cost carrier's largest shareholder.

He said the single market for aviation created by the EU in the early 1990s gave him the opportunity to "help start the low fares airline revolution".

The 49-year-old went on: " It is certainly not my place to tell people how to vote, but it is very possible that - in a post-Brexit Europe - a more restrictive aviation environment would mean fewer flights from the UK to Europe and hence less competition between airlines.

"That in turn would mean higher air fares so that the price of a family holiday to the Med will go back up again to levels last seen in the 1980s.

"An open skies policy in Europe has been good for travellers, good for airline employees and, yes, good for shareholders. Let's keep it that way."

EasyJet's chief executive Carolyn McCall reiterated her support for Remain.

She said: " It was the EU which helped revolutionise aviation in Europe by creating the single aviation area around 20 years ago.

"It enabled airlines like easyJet to offer passengers lower fares to more destinations.

"All airlines were forced to respond to this new competitive environment and all passengers have benefited.

"People can live, work, study and travel across Europe in a way previous generations could not have imagined."

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