As you can imagine Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary does not mince his words about most subjects but then ask him about Brexit and the airline industry and then he is off!
Being a ‘Remainer’ at heart he had nothing positive to say to Theresa May the British Prime Minister or his audience of 200 members of the UK airport’s and airline industry sectors.
“You will get screwed to the floor by the EU” was his message as he was interviewed on stage in front of the trade visitors to the Airport Operators Association conference at the Hilton Metropole hotel in London.
Although he did find it hard to resist not to get a plug in for his own airline by saying “Everyone can now afford to fly these days as long as they are flying on Ryanair”.
Mr O’Leary wanted to point out mainly to fellow members of the airline industry and politicians that “ Brexit is a deeply retrograde step and that he feels that the single market works”.
He added, “The Politicians have no idea what so ever as to how they will exit the European Union and the process does mean that the UK has a particularly weak hand”.
Mr O’Leary also spoke about the desire to cut out Air Passenger Duty (APD) the airline tax that nearly all speakers at the conference wanted to see massively reduced or scrapped all together.
Countries like his own native Ireland and Holland have fairly recently go rid of the tax because it was seen as holding back airline growth and not achieving what it was hoped it would. Tax revenue from other areas has gone up since the tax was taken away and so many speakers and delegates will be urging the UK to make the same decision.
Post Brexit and with the UK’s desire to be open for business after it leaves the EU then this tax could well be one way to achieve that growth it was felt.
Regarding additional runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, Michael felt that both projects were too expensive, however he would very much like to see Gatwick free to build theirs anyway.
Michael then took the chance to explain that Ryanair was putting on even more flights to even more destinations in 2017 winter and summer periods and with newer fuel efficient aircraft coming through plus with greater capacity then things were looking pretty good for his low cost airline company.
There was a hint that low cost long haul could be an option for the future. However that depends on aircraft type and their associated cost but its likely to be 5 or so years down the line, if at all.