Brexit vote won't have a material impact on business, said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh

Kathryn Gaw
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Walsh has changed his view on the impact of a Brexit (Source: Getty)

A Brexit vote would not have a material impact on the airline business, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG).

Last year, Walsh said that he was “pro-Europe”, adding that he believed the UK is better off within the EU from a business point of view.

However, speaking this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme, he appeared to be positive on IAG’s prospects, Brexit or no Brexit.

Walsh said:

We have taken advice from a number of sources, we have looked at this internally [and] we have undertaken a risk analysis. Obviously there is uncertainty in the market which is weighing on people's minds. But our view is should there be a vote we don't believe it will have a material impact on our business.

His comments came just two days after Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary announced he will be actively campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union, claiming a Brexit would lead to higher UK air fares. He vowed to launch a poster campaign on his own planes, encouraging customers to vote to stay in the EU.

Walsh had previously spoken out about the impact of a possible Brexit on Ireland’s economy, but urged fellow Irish chief executives to stay out of the debate.

Earlier today, IAG announced profits of €2.34bn for the year ending 31 December 2015 – a year-on-year increase of 125 per cent. The airline conglomerate represents both UK and European airlines, including British Airways, Iberia, Veuling, and Aer Lingus.

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