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The chief executive told the Times that “males of a Muslim persuasion” who are single and travelling alone pose the largest terror threat to airlines.

In the wide-ranging interview, Mr O’Leary, 58, said: “Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own. If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero”.

“You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion. Thirty years ago it was the Irish. If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat.”

Ryanair said in a statement released on Saturday that “no call for extra checks on any group or persons was made” by Mr O’Leary in the Times interview, headlined “Airline boss wants extra checks on Muslim men”.

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