UK

Ryanair Says It 'Will Be Forced To Stop UK Flights' If Theresa May Bungles Brexit Deal

'The impact on the business would be disastrous.'

06/04/2017 13:33 BST | Updated 06/04/2017 15:15 BST
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Ryanair has said it would be forced to stop UK flights if Theresa May doesn't secure key flight rights in Brexit negotiations

Ryanair has said it will be forced to stop flying from Britain if Theresa May does not secure key ‘open skies’ rights in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Irish budget airline’s chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, told journalists during a media briefing on Thursday that a suspension of flights from airports like London Stansted “was a very real possibility”.

“Europe has been very clear in recent days that no deals are going to be put in place, they are not planning to put any special deals in place,” Sorahan said, according to The Guardian.

“If there was a cliff-edge scenario with World Trade Organisation rules and no bilateral on open skies in place, there is a distinct possibility that there will be no flights for a period of time between Europe and the UK.

“The impact on business would be disastrous.”

Open skies agreements allow airlines to travel between countries without restrictions.

Ryanair operates its forward planning operation 12 months in advance. Article 50 negotiations officially end in March 2019 - meaning any new agreement would need to be confirmed by March next year.

The UK is one of Ryanair’s key markets with around 40 of its 400 aircraft operating out of 19 airports including Stansted, Manchester and Liverpool.

It offers cheap flights to a host of European destinations - and recently marked the triggering of Article 50 with a sale of £2.99 deals.

Sorahan used the media briefing to issue a direct appeal to May ahead of her negotiations.

“Our message to Theresa May is ‘Please make your mind up quickly and get a decision on an aviation deal and continue to keep Britain flying,’” said Sorahan.

The airline is reportedly pursuing growth in other countries, such as Germany and Scandinavia.

Sorahan hinted that airlines would become more competitive in Britain to stimulate growth.