LONDON (Reuters) - Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, is backing a campaign to keep Britain in the European Union, its chief executive said on Monday.
Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and has promised to hold a referendum on the topic by the end of 2017.
“We’re very actively supporting the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union,” Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told a news conference.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that the UK economy is better off in Europe than outside of Europe.”
O’Leary said there was a need for a “reformed Europe”, calling for a set-up with less regulation and “petty bureaucracy”.
“We need the UK to stay a committed member of Europe just to keep some kind of more sensible economic approach,” he said.
O’Leary was speaking as Ryanair slightly raised its annual profit forecast and said that it was on track to overtake budget rival easyJet to become the UK’s biggest airline in the next 12 months.
Reporting by Sarah Young