“Withdrawing from the single market, just so that they can say: ‘We got Brexit done’ was the height of idiocy. But then they are idiots.”
His comments come amid reports airlines are preparing to announce a new wave of cancellations next week.
On Thursday and Friday, passengers at Heathrow complained of long queues, cancelled flights and lost baggage as “schedule intervention” and disruptions at UK airports were exacerbated by strikes in Spain.
O’Leary is one of the first airline bosses to warn about an increase in fares in the longer term. The Irish airline had hedged the majority of its future fuel requirements for the rest of this year at $65 (£54) a barrel before Russia invaded Ukraine, saving it from the worst impact of the sharp rise in prices.
However, the Ryanair boss still believes fares will rise, as he expects oil prices to remain “structurally higher” for the next four or five years, “until we can wean ourselves off Russian oil and gas”. He added that he expects wider inflationary pressures to hit the airline industry next year, including staff costs and air traffic control charges, also highlighting rising environmental charges.
Ryanair has been virtually the only major carrier in Europe to dodge disruptions from staff shortages. EasyJet last month disclosed it had rejected 8,000 job applicants because of their nationality this year, most of whom were from the EU. Meanwhile, the UK Department for Transport said there had been disruption around the world because of staff shortages.