Ryanair boss hails exit of Brexiteers under Sunak, urges free trade deal with EU

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary hailed the appointment of Rishi Sunak as British prime minister on Tuesday, saying he was glad the "Brexiteer wing" of government was on its way out and calling for a trade deal with Europe to end post-Brexit turmoil.

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He said he was glad "adults have taken charge again".

"They are getting rid of some of the people who were there, from Boris Johnson to Liz Truss, all the Brexiteer wing of the Tory party - they are crazies," the chief executive of one of the world's largest airlines told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Lisbon.

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"...We all accept that we left the EU. Brexit is done but at least have the best free trade deal you can have. Europe is still the UK's largest trading partner."

The Irishman, who last week described the economic situation in Britain as a "car crash" caused by Britain's exit from the European Union, hoped Sunak's first decision would be to rejoin the free trade agreement.

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Sunak formally became Britain's third prime minister in two months on Tuesday, and pledged to restore trust in British politics, saying he will put the needs of the public first.

He has been tasked with tackling a mounting economic crisis, a warring political party and a deeply divided country in one of the greatest challenges to confront any new leader.

Although the cost of living crisis has hit Britain and the rest of Europe hard, O'Leary said inflation was "very good" for his company because "people don't stop flying" but choose cheaper airlines like Ryanair instead.

"In a recession people become more price sensitive," he said. "They shop in Lidl and Aldi, they spend more on furniture in IKEA and when they want to fly, they fly with Ryanair."

Asked if bookings were holding up in the face of inflation, O'Leary said they were "growing faster than expected".

"We thought bookings would level off after August into September, October and November (but) they are still remarkably strong."

Ryanair flew 15.9 million passengers in September, its third busiest month ever and up 13% on pre-COVID levels. read more

Source: Reuters

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