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Brexit Could Spell the End of Cheap Fares to Europe

Bye-bye bargains: Both easyJet’s Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary believe that the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU could be hard on the wallets of budget British travelers.

The possibility of Britain’s exit or “Brexit” from the European Union (EU) could have a negative impact on flight prices between the U.K. and mainland Europe. In the run-up to this Thursday’s referendum, both easyJet’s Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary have warned that the U.K.’s withdrawal from the bloc could mean higher fares.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror on Tuesday, Sir Stelios explained how single market conditions within the EU created the perfect environment in which to “help start the low fares airline revolution” back in the 1990s.

He told the paper, “It is certainly not my place to tell people how to vote, but it is very possible that – in a post-Brexit Europe – a more restrictive aviation environment would mean fewer flights from the U.K. to Europe and hence less competition between airlines.”

This, Sir Stelios, explained, would result in, “higher air fares so that the price of a family holiday to the Med will go back up again to levels last seen in the 1980s.”

“An open skies policy in Europe has been good for travelers, good for airline employees and, yes, good for shareholders. Let’s keep it that way,” he added.

Carolyn McCall, the carrier’s chief executive, reinforced Sir Stelios’ views, saying, “It was the EU which helped revolutionize aviation in Europe by creating the single aviation area around 20 years ago. It enabled airlines like easyJet to offer passengers lower fares to more destinations.”

She explained that, “All airlines were forced to respond to this new competitive environment and all passengers have benefitted.”

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier in terms of sheer passenger numbers, has expressed similar views on the possibility of Brexit. Speaking to Bloomberg News in May, he said, “One of the great things that EU has delivered is low-fare air traffic. We fundamentally believe it’s in the U.K.’s best interests to stay.”

[Photo: Getty]

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UncleDude July 4, 2016

Norwegian aren't in the EU but have managed to establish an EU Subsidiary based at Gatwick. EasyJet could move their HO to Greece and Ryanair is already based in Ireland. Then both would set up an English Subsidiary like Norwegian.

Irpworks June 23, 2016

All assertions which ignore the adaptability of the marketplace.

sdsearch June 23, 2016

I presume therefore that easyJet and RyanAir don't fly cheap flights to Switzerland or Norway or Iceland? None of those are in the EU.

celsius1939 June 22, 2016

The BREMAIN people will stoop to any level to scare the Brits into staying in a bad relationship. I am surprised that some are not saying the women of England will have unforced problems with the birth of children because of the bad vibes. The elites must think that all Brits are absolutely stupid.

cynosura June 22, 2016

It is interesting how both sides of the debate (remain or leave) are predicting gloom and doom. I highly doubt that all of this gloom and doom will come to fruition regardless of how it turns out.