Ryanair Fears UK Flight Suspension Post-Brexit
Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 in Airlines, News
Ryanair’s chief executive has expressed fears that the aviation giant may have to suspend selling UK flights post-Brexit. It comes amidst rumours that unless an early aviation deal can be reached, flights will flout the European “open skies” agreement and therefore stay grounded while the UK government agrees an alternative. Is this merely fear mongering, or a legitimate concern for post-Brexit tourism?
The Open Skies Agreement
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, spells out a grim picture: planes grounded across the country for fear of breaking European laws, travel to and from Britain suspended, airline profits tank and – most startlingly of all – British holidaymakers unable to seek hotter pastures on their holidays! Oh end of days, how could this happen?
Effectively, all airlines currently fly under the “open travel area” that permits EU countries (as well as others such as Switzerland, Morocco and Norway) to go unimpeded through mutually agreed zones across the continent. Such an agreement hinges on membership of the EU, or for countries to make individual pacts with Brussels.
With Brexit looming, there is a risk that neither of these criteria will be met and that planes across the country will remain grounded until such agreements have been made.
Will Ryanair Truly Suspend Flights In Europe?
Naturally, this is one of many hundreds of unforeseen problems that will have to be addressed in the coming years. The chances are that with pressure from airlines and industry figures, the government will be pushed to make an early aviation deal so that airlines run smoothly during the Brexit transition. If it does not make an aviation deal, Ryanair and others may move aircraft to EU airports so that they can conduct business from inside the continent.
Needless to say, this problem is not exclusive to our industry; the prospect of firms moving runs throughout the business sector. Then again, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was a staunch Remain campaigner, so this news may merely be seen as cage-rattling.
What Happens Next
Whether or not an early aviation deal can be struck between the government and the EU remains to be seen. Our bet is it will be, and that the horror stories of a flightless 2019 are quite far-fetched. In the months leading up to Brexit negotiations, expect many other industries clamouring for limelight, front page news and talks of exclusive deals with the government. Ultimately, however, the world will keep spinning. Holidays will continue to be planned, Ryanair will run as normal and, inevitably, delays will be suffered. You betcha!