Ryanair boss says Nicola Sturgeon would lose independence vote

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has waded into the debate around another independence referendum, claiming there will not be another one as Scotland is not economically 'strong enough'.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has announced his firm's 2017 winter schedule for Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Mr O’Leary said: “I don’t think there will be a second independence referendum north of the border and I think if [Nicola Sturgeon] holds a second one I think she knows she’ll lose it.

“Scotland is not strong enough to stand on its own as an independent economy, not with oil at $50 a barrel.”

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Ryanair has announced it will launch 13 new routes from Edinburgh this winter – but will scrap at least some of them if ministers do not get planned air tax cuts approved.

The routes are to Baden, Budapest, Carcassonne, Eindhoven, Hamburg, Katowice, Nantes, Prague, Szczecin, Toulouse, Venice Treviso, Valencia and Wroclaw All but Budapest, Hamburg, Prague and Venice are new for the airport.

Ryanair has previously flown between Edinburgh and Katowice, Szczecin and Wroclaw, and Jet2 used to fly to Toulouse. Mr O’Leary said some or all would be withdrawn if the Scottish Government does not halve the tax next year, as it intends.