Ryanair's initial threat to suspend flights between UK and EU over Brexit

Michal O’Leary (Ryanair’s boss) responded robustly when initially faced with the level of changes that Brexit would bring to aviation. He suggested that flights between the UK and the EU could be withdrawn for months when Brexit finally comes to pass and all the Ryanair fleet of aircraft would be moved to Europe, unless the UK and the EU manage to strike new airline agreements. 

Initially, Mr. O’Leary’s implausible solution is to ignore the referendum result; however, he quite rightly suggested the issue should be urgently addressed. 

Ryanair and other airlines profited from the EU Open Skies agreement allowing aircraft to move freely in Europe. Unlike many other trade sectors, aviation cannot rely on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.  It is therefore vital that a new deal is formulated to allow companies such as Ryanair to move across European countries.  Mr. O’Leary’s somewhat apocalyptic scenario take place, the impact on UK out and inbound tourism would be incalculable.  

With the UK and EU teetering on the brink of a no-deal Brexit coupled with Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, remarks acknowledging that flights between the UK and the European Union could be grounded from 1 January 2021 in the event of a no-deal Brexit.presents a poor future for aviation.  Mr. O’Leary is not the only airline chief that is anxious and does not spare any criticism towards the British government for not having a “Plan B”,

The Ryanair threat to take aircrafts outside of the UK and relocate them into European regional airports would result in growth being boosted beyond capacity, whilst UK airports such as Heathrow could remain empty for months on end.  It is difficult to see any alternative for Ryanair and the UK and the EU have a great responsibility to resolve all matters as speedily as possible.

 If you wish to know how Brexit may impact your ability to freely travel within Europe please click here