Anti-Brexit Ryanair to open new base at Southend Airport in 2019 with MORE flights to EU countries

The low-cost airline announced it will operate 13 routes to eight countries from the Essex airport, including Barcelona, Corfu, Milan and Venice.

There will be more than 55 flights a week carrying an estimated one million passengers each year.

Three aircraft will be based at Southend, creating 750 on-site jobs per year, according to the budget carrier.

Ryanair has been staunchly anti-Brexit since the 2016 referendum and last March, the CEO Michael O'Leary threatened to ground flights to force voters to "rethink" Brexit.

He said: "I think it's in our interests – not for a long period of time – that the aircraft are grounded."

He continued: "It's only when you get to that stage where you're going to persuade the average British voter that you were lied to in the entire Brexit debate.

"When you begin to realise that you're no longer going to have cheap holidays in Portugal or Spain or Italy, you've got to drive to Scotland or get a ferry to Ireland as your only holiday options, maybe we'll begin to rethink the whole Brexit debate."

So for some, the news that the airline was launching even more EU flights as the UK prepares to leave the union was surprising.

But the company's chief commercial officer David O'Brien said it should not be confused as a "vote of confidence" in the future of UK aviation.

He told the Financial Times: "“Don’t confuse this great news as some sort of vote of confidence in the future of UK aviation, it’s a vote of confidence in Southend airport.”

Southend Airport's train station will deliver direct services from the terminal to London Liverpool Street, and the new Crossrail service opening in 2019 will also make the airport more accessible."

From today, any passengers using the budget airline will only have 48 hours to check in before their flight, unless they pay to reserve a seat.

The budget airline originally gave passengers a week to check in and that was then cut to four days – but it has been slashed once again to two days unless you pay for their added extras.

The 48-hour window will close two hours before the flight’s scheduled departure time.

Passengers who miss it will be charged £55 to check in at the airport, or £25 for infants.

Yesterday, the airline made headlines again after he complained about his delayed flight on Twitter.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs had blamed the EU for failing to deal with air traffic staff shortages after his plane to Dublin had been delayed for more than two hours.

But he sparked fury with dozens of disgruntled Ryanair passengers flooding his Twitter about their own experiences with the budget airline.

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