Ryanair has pledged to actively campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union at the upcoming referendum.
Michael O’Leary, CEO of the no-frills airline due to return to Belfast in March, claimed that Brexit would not allow the country to save money or reduce bureaucracy.
He told a press conference in central London: “As the UK’s largest airline, Ryanair is absolutely clear that the UK economy and its future growth prospects are stronger as a member of the European Union than they are outside of the EU.
“Leaving Europe won’t save the UK money or red tape because like Norway the UK will still have to contribute to Europe, and obey its rules if it wants to continue to trade freely with Europe, so it’s clear that UK voters should vote Yes to Europe and Yes to the reformed Europe, that David Cameron has delivered.
“Ryanair, our people, and I hope the vast majority of our customers, will all work together over the coming months to help deliver a resounding Yes vote on June 23.”
The airline is planning to run campaign advertisements in newspapers and on its own website, and is considering printing messages onto aircraft livery.
Ryanair has more than 30,000 UK employees and carries more than 35 million customers between here and Europe each year.
Mr O’Leary joked that the low-cost airline would “bore everybody to death” on the issue over the coming months.
“We’ll also be campaigning with our passenger base,” he said.
“We’ll be getting involved in the debate and trying to influence people to vote in favour of Europe because the UK economy and UK jobs are better off in Europe.”