Ryanair has warned Brexit could ground flights between the UK and Europe - but for now there is some good news for travel fans.
Now that the UK is set to leave Europe’s “Open Skies” system, the budget airline warned on Thursday that the government will need to negotiate a bilateral agreement with the European Union to allow flights to and from Europe to continue.
Otherwise, it will have to revert to historic World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which do not cover aviation - something, Ryanair says could mean no flights are able to take off to Europe for a period of time.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “Some 9 months on from the Brexit referendum, we are no closer to knowing what effect it will have on aviation. It’s become worrying that the UK government seems to have no plan B to maintain Britain’s liberalised air links with Europe, in the absence of remaining in the ‘Open Skies’ regime.
“With Britain planning to leave the EU and its Open Skies agreement, there is a distinct possibility that there may be no flights between the UK and Europe for a period of time after March 2019.”
Jacobs said “the best we can hope for” is a new bilateral agreement between the UK and EU, but the airline worries that such an agreement might not be able to be reached in time for airlines summer 2019 schedules due out in mid-2018.
He said: “Ryanair, like all airlines, plans its flights 12 months in advance, so there are just 12 months to go until we finalise our summer 2019 schedule, which could see deep cuts to our flights both to, from and within the UK from March 2019 onwards.
“The UK Government must respond to the airlines and our customers, and put aviation at the top of its agenda when it negotiates its Brexit deal with Brussels. Britain’s airlines, airports and holidaymakers need a real and early solution for aviation, or risk Britain being cut off from Europe in March 2019.”
But there is some good news for would-be holidaymakers - for now.
Following the triggering of Article 50 yesterday, Ryanair went on launch an “Article 50 special” sale.
One-way flights to destinations such as Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Dinard were advertised on the Irish carrier’s site for just £2.99.
The sale covers 50 different routes between the UK and the continent, so will be useful for anyone planning a farewell tour of Europe.