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Michael O’Leary lambasts Government for Flybe rescue

By PA Reporters

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has taken aim at everything from millennials to Muslims and the obese during an interview centred on the Government’s bailout of rival airline Flybe.

Mr O’Leary criticised Boris Johnson over the decision to rescue Flybe, with the 58-year-old questioning why taxpayers were left to foot the bill for a company owned by three of the industry’s richest billionaires.

Flybe is owned by Connect Airways, a consortium made up of Cyrus Capital Partners, Stobart Group and Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic – which itself is half-owned by US giant Delta Airlines.

“If Branson and Delta won’t put their hands in their pockets, why should the taxpayer?” Mr O’Leary told The Times.

Mr O’Leary said he believes the aviation industry has been treated unfairly over environmental issues and pointed out Ryanair is spending £25 billion over the next eight years to make its fleet greener.

Mr O’Leary also said in the interview that Muslims should be profiled at airports (Mike Egerton/PA)

He also claimed broadcasters only use images of planes taking off when they want to illustrate the world heating up, even though “aviation only accounts for two per cent of CO2 emissions”.

The businessman also criticised millennials when asked for his thoughts on gender fluidity, adding it was only a matter of time until his male air stewards started “wearing skirts”.

“It’s the way of the world,” he said.

“We are Europe’s largest airline carrying many millions of millennials, so we have to pander to all that nonsense.”

Mr O’Leary also raised concerns about obesity but said problems were worse in the US and the UK.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said Mr O’Leary’s comments on Muslims “encouraged racism”. (David Mirzoeff/PA)

“If you have complete monsters you may need to buy two seats,” he said, “but we are not in Europe the way they are in North America, where it’s a huge issue.”

The Ryanair owner has already received criticism for comments made in the interview in which he called for Muslim men to be profiled at airports as a measure to prevent terrorism.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said Mr O’Leary was “encouraging racism”.

“If he can tell me what colour Muslims are then I’d be very happy to learn from him – you can’t judge a book by its cover,” he told the Times.