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Travel industry news

13 Sep 2018

BY Edward Robertson


Politicians will rally to solve 'no-deal' Brexit airline issues – O'Leary

The potential grounding of aircraft in a chaotic Brexit will not last long as politicians rally to solve the problem.

Michael OLeary, director and CEO of Ryanair

Michael O'Leary believes the grounding of aircraft will be a politically intolerable situation

Speaking at a press conference in London yesterday, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said he was hopeful for a soft Brexit and supports the government’s current Chequers plan thanks to the built-in transition period.


However, he added in the wake of a no-deal Brexit with Britain completely cut off from the EU from March 30 next year onwards, countries would move quickly to reinstate air transports.


O’Leary said: "If you look at the behaviour of the European side, the 27 have remained remarkably united in not being carved up into bilaterals.


"It’s possible that there will be an agreement on flights reached between the UK and European 27, I’m just not sure it will be reached in time for the first of April next year.


“I don’t believe a no-flights scenario will last more than a couple days or a couple of weeks because I think politically it’ll get solved.”


The press conference took place on the same day that strikes in Germany saw 150 of the airline’s 400 scheduled flights cancelled.


But O’Leary argued the strikes were a price worth paying in order to maintain Ryanair’s low-cost business model.


He added: "We do not want strikes but we are prepared to accept strikes if it means defending our cost base."


O’Leary also refused to criticise British airways over its recent IT problems which have seen the company hacked and customers’ personal details stolen.


Instead he said he hoped the whole sector would learn from the problem, adding: "This is an industry that makes mistakes. What we try to do is learn from them and try to avoid them."


O’Leary made the comments during the launch of the Ryanair’s summer 2019 London operations.


Despite his concerns over Brexit, the airline is setting up a new three aircraft base at Southend while two more aircraft at Luton will bring the total top six.


A total of 23 new routes, making 180 in total, are expected to help carry 26 million passengers next year, an increase of 5%.

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