MSN News — Ryanair’s chief executive has threatened to ground planes after Brexit in a bid to force Britain to ‘rethink’ its decision to leave the EU
Speaking in Brussels Ryanair boss Mr O’Leary said he wants to ‘create an opportunity’ by making people realise they are ‘no longer going to have cheap holidays’.
He told an audience of airline leaders: ‘I think it’s in our interests – not for a long period of time – that the aircraft are grounded.
‘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.
He said: ‘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.’
German carrier Lufthansa, backed the threat, saying: ‘In theory, if we could use this industry to prove to the British how wrong the decision was, that might be a good thing.’
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, who was on stage alongside Mr O’Leary, interrupted him to say: ‘If you start grounding your planes, I’m flying.’
The single market for aviation, created in the 1990s, means there are no commercial restrictions for airlines flying within the EU.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in January that he is confident flights will not be grounded because ‘it’s in the interests of everyone’ to maintain the open market for aviation.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is reportedly pushing a policy on airlines which could send prices soaring.
US officials are reportedly taking a tough stance we would mean airlines had to be majority owned in the UK or US.
But this would prove problematic for British Airways and Virgin as they will not meet this criteria.
British officials played down talk of a problem and said they were hopeful this criteria will be dropped.