Airline chiefs deny turbulence over referendum

Airline chiefs deny turbulence over referendum

Airline bosses downplayed the impact of the referendum vote at an Airlines for Europe summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

EasyJet chief executive Caroline McCall dismissed the turmoil as “short-term turbulence”.

Willie Walsh, head of BA parent IAG, insisted: “The fundamentals haven’t changed.” And Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: “I don’t think it will have any long-term impact on Ryanair.”

Walsh declared he was “disappointed”, but said: “People are not going to stop flying into and out of the UK.

McCall said: “Demand was strong before and that hasn’t changed. Pricing is more challenging, but that is a capacity issue and it is easyJet and Ryanair driving that by adding capacity.

“We’re going through a little turbulence due to a seismic political decision. It’s a short to medium-term issue and we’ll find a way through. The aviation industry is used to change.”

Referring to easyJet’s profits warning on Monday, McCall said: “We issued that because of the [strike] action by French air traffic controllers.

Nothing will change overnight. Much depends on the new agreement the UK negotiates.”

Walsh insisted: “The French air traffic control strikes are the most important issue. Air traffic strikes stop me moving my customers. The vote on Thursday does not.”

He added: “Europe benefits from a deregulated market and we believe it will continue to benefit.”

O’Leary said: “I don’t think the UK will leave the single market. If you can tell me what [Boris] Johnson and [Michael] Gove will do, I can tell you with more accuracy what we’ll do. But whether it’s a volcano in Iceland or Brexit we’ll work around it.”

He added: “I don’t think there will be any dip or decline in eastern European people flying to and from the UK. Big cities need people to do jobs.”


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