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07 Mar 2018

BY Edward Robertson

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Ryanair won't ground flights but post-Brexit concerns remain

Ryanair is unlikely to ground flights in the run up to Brexit although its chief marketing officer warned that the UK’s long-haul market could be adversely affected by the move.

Ryanair aircraft lined up on stands
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Directors have raised their concerns of the impact Brexit will have on the UK's long-haul market

Speaking in a press conference in London, Kenny Jacobs distanced himself from comments made yesterday in Berlin by boss Michael O’Leary that the low cost carrier should ground its planes temporarily to show the UK what it faces missing out on after leaving the EU.

 

Instead, he added the airline had been reassured by the apparent advance in negotiations between the UK and the EU to install a transition period of potentially two years after Brexit is enacted in March 2019 which should give time for proper planning.

 

Jacobs said: "We think that (grounded flights) will not be the case and we certainly don’t want it to be the case."

 

He welcomed the UK’s announcement that it would like to remain a member of European aviation body Easa after Brexit in order to keep things the same as much as possible.

 

"We would like the status quo," Jacobs said. "We would like the status quo on flying regulations and on ownership.

 

"We want to grow even stronger route into the UK and across Europe."

 

However, chief operations officer Peter Bellew warned that the UK’s regional airports are already missing out on new long-haul routes as airlines across the world opt for rival facilities like Brussels airport due to the uncertainty created.

 

He added: "It is not London Heathrow that is going to be impacted, it may be the other airports around the UK as they don’t know what they’re going to do.

 

"In terms of long haul, the UK will potentially out on that long haul growth which we don’t do."

 

Jacobs also predicted prices are likely to go up on US UK flights as current negotiations stand.

 

The US has this week offered a bilateral deal for post Brexit, unlike the current open skies arrangement with the EU, which would require airlines based in and flying out of the UK to be owned in the country.

 

He argued this could lead to airlines pulling certain routes and services with an ensuing drop in capacity driving up prices.

 

Jacobs said: "The UK isn’t going to get exactly what it has in place today and as it did as a member of the EU."

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