Ryanair will slash flights between Britain and the EU if London and Brussels fail to agree on terms for post-Brexit air travel by September next year, a senior executive said today. If there is no “clarity” on the issue by September 2018, the Irish no-frills airline will remove flights from and to the UK from its summer 2019 timetable, chief commercial officer David O’Brien told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Ryanair will also remove some 85 aircraft currently based in Britain to airports on the European mainland or in Ireland, he added. Chief executive Michael O’Leary made similar comments to the European Parliament’s transport committee earlier this month.
The outspoken airline boss has repeatedly criticized the British government for its approach to post-Brexit air travel. He said London ministers “don’t have an idea” of the possible impact on the industry, speaking at a Frankfurt press conference in February. Last week, British competitor EasyJet said it would create a new division based in the Austrian capital Vienna to avoid Brexit fallout. Britain’s airline industry has soared over the past two decades under the Single European Sky system, which lifted trade restrictions on EU airlines. Unless British negotiators manage to secure preferential conditions, British airlines could lose this status once the country leaves the EU.
This will mean they no longer enjoy rights including being able to freely set airfares and to launch any route in Europe without getting prior authorization. Passengers leaving or arriving in the United Kingdom will face new taxes and British airlines face obstacles and delays in developing new routes. Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 after voting in a shock referendum last year in favor of departure.