Ryanair boss says he would ‘happily’ fly asylum seekers to Rwanda

The boss of Ryanair has defiantly announced that he would 'happily' fly asylum seekers to Rwanda under Rishi Sunak’s deportation plans.

Michael O'Leary said the UK government had not approached his budget airline to ask them to carry out the flights, designed to give thousands a one-way ticket to the African country.

But he suggested he would have no qualms about helping the prime minister deliver his much-criticised policy, which the United Nations warned earlier this week would breach the refugee convention.

“If it was the winter schedule and we had spare aircraft sitting around and if the government were looking for additional deportation flights or any other flights, we would happily quote for the business,” Mr O’Leary said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Mr Sunak has vowed to push ahead with flights, despite calls from the United Nations and other for him to think again.

The government is already braced for a series of court challenges on the policy.

Ministers insist they have booked planes and an airfield but will not reveal details of either, amid fears they could come under pressure from protesters.

Mr Sunak has promised “multiple flights a month” to Rwanda, but ministers concede that the number of people sent to Kigali will be small at first, with chartered aircraft expected to be used.

The PM has come under fire for pushing through a bill that designates Rwanda a safe country despite a damning ruling from the Supreme Court late last year that it was not a safe place to send refugees.

He faced intense pressure to rethink the policy after five people, including a young girl, died trying to cross the channel just hours after it cleared its final parliamentary hurdle.

The UN was among leading voices urging the UK government to reconsider, amid warnings the plan would fall to act as a deterrent to stop desperate asylum seekers trying to come to the UK in small boats.

Hours after the tragedy off the coast of northern France on Tuesday morning asylum seekers were seen in small boats attempting to reach British beaches.