Emirates Sees Euro in Freefall, Flights Flatlining After Brexit

  • Biggest long-haul airline says vote may produce ‘shock waves’
  • Lufthansa CEO would regard leave decison with incredulity

Emirates President Tim Clark said British and European passenger growth would probably stall and the euro enter “freefall” should the U.K. vote to exit the European Union in a June 23 referendum.

Clark, educated in Britain and recently knighted, said he can’t himself vote after living outside the country for an expended period, but hopes “sense will prevail” and that the instability and volatility of the U.K. leaving the 28-nation bloc will be avoided.

“If the Brits decide to exit the EU the shock waves throughout the EU will be pretty severe,” he said at the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in Dublin. “For somebody who’s running a business that has very, very high demand in our European countries and cities, to see a destabilization wouldn’t serve any purpose at all.”

Europe accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of traffic at Emirates, the world’s largest airline on international routes, Clark said, predicting demand will temporarily “flatline” at best, compounding increasing uncertainty in the region from an immigration crisis and a spate of terrorist attacks.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr also predicted that demand would flatten out in the event of a Brexit.

Spohr said at the IATA event that as a businessman he isn’t that concerned about the impact. “As a European, and a relatively young one who has seen how Europe has worked, I think it’s incredible that the U.K. would leave.”

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