Ryanair's chief executive has described plans for a Thames Estuary airport as “insane, stupid and hare-brained”.
Michael O'Leary was giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee, which is investigating aviation strategy. He characterised current government policy as "mess, fudge and dither" and told MPs choosing between extra capacity at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted was also a mistake: a new runway should be built at each.
"Instead of faffing about worrying about hubs, we should create excess runway capacity in the South-east.
"It would reverse the decline in traffic, grow tourism and grow jobs". The plan for three new runways was supported by Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, the travel association: "I'd endorse that. Excess capacity increases competition and improves resilience."
Mr O'Leary said Ryanair's projection of 80 million passengers this year made it the UK's favourite airline. "Passengers flock to us, they love us, can't get enough of us," he said.