Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary threatens to ground flights after Brexit to make voters 'rethink' decision

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary threatens to ground flights after Brexit to make voters 'rethink' decision

RYANAIR chief executive Michael O'Leary has threatened to ground the airline's planes after Britain leaves the EU to force voters to 'rethink' the Brexit vote.

The controversial Corkman said he wants to "create an opportunity" by making people realise they are "no longer going to have cheap holidays".

He added that he is considering the stunt to show voters they were "lied to" during the 2016 referendum campaign.

Speaking to an audience of airline leaders in Brussels, O'Leary said: "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.


"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."

The 56-year-old warned there would be a "real crisis" post-Brexit as flight between the UK and the EU experience unprecedented disruption.

He continued: "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."


Carsten Spohr, chief of 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."

However, Easyjet chief executive Johan Lundgren, who was on stage alongside O'Leary, interjected to say: "If you start grounding your planes, I'm flying."

Mr O'Leary has consistently warned that airline will be forced to cancel post-Brexit services from March next year if the Brexit negotiations do not conclude by September, as schedules are planned six months in advance.

After leaving the EU, Britain will have to renegotiate its Open Skies agreement with the EU as it will no longer be under the jurisdiction of European courts.

The UK could choose to join non-EU nations such as Norway and Iceland in the European Common Aviation Area, but such a decision would have to be approved by European domestic airlines.