Ryanair Will Stop Selling UK Flights Next Year in Case of “Hard Brexit”

Without accepting freedom of movement the UK may no longer be part of the EU Open Skies treaty

Luzern, Switzerland: Winglet left wing of a Boeing during the Ryanair flight from Milan to London.

Ryanair may have to stop selling flights to and from the United Kingdom next year because of the fallout from Brexit.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary has said that if Britain and the EU fail to agree an aviation deal they would have to stop selling flights in the UK at the end of 2018, a worrying point for budget holiday-hunters given that aviation could well become a pressure point in the Brexit talks in Brussels.

O’Leary said that Ryanair pulling out of the UK was a “worst-case scenario” where the UK was no longer part of the EU Open Skies air transport treaty, and that the company have plans to move aircrafts currently in the UK to other UK destinations should this happen.

Ryanair are bit like that angry hamster our school class had when we were seven.

The hamster hates everyone, it makes you pay for it’s food, it’s accommodation and it’s livelihood – which in this case is just sitting in a corner with it’s middle finger pointed at the hamster wheel you lovingly bought it – but you still keep spending money on it and going to visit it because at the end of the day it’s your easiest way of getting away from your daily grind without spending a fortune.

The startling blues and yellows of Ryanair

Albeit in those days our daily grind was colouring in pictures of dragons and learning the eight times table (still not mastered it), but you get the point.

The service on Ryanair is shit. They don’t even have nets or shelves on the back of the seats, something that endlessly irritates us but that has no doubt saved Michael O’Leary about a billion pounds or so throughout his fleet. We all know they’re dickheads about luggage and they once even tried to get rid of seats and run “standing only” flights, which is just wrong.

But the fact of the matter is that a lot of us rely on Ryanair’s often absurdly cheap prices in order to get off for a city break in Europe or to get to the sunshine of the Mediterranean or further afield.

They may not give you anywhere to store your book on take off and would charge you 20 euro for the toilet if they could get away with it, but they make air travel possible for a hell of a lot of people.

Ryanair, like most airlines, plan their seasonal schedules month in advance, and will have to make the call on where it’s going to bases it’s aircrafts for 2019 by the end of 2018.

The company have said that they believe a “hard Brexit” is inevitable and that they do not intent to grow the company further in the UK over the next two years, with O’Leary saying: “We will not be basing new aircraft there in 2017 or 2018.”

RyanAir Irish Budget Airlines Boeing 737-400 aircraft departs a rare-sunny day in Bristol airport, UK

If the UK does want to stay in the Open Skies treaty, it would have to accept European Court of Justice rulings and freedom of movement, both of which were focal points of the EU referendum.

O’Leary noted that if the UK did backtrack on either of these points, they would have to question why they left the EU in the first place.

The alternative to Open Skies is to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Brussels, which would need to be approved by the 26 other EU member state parliaments, and could well still require the UK to accept freedom of movement.

O’Leary has spoken to UK Transport secretary Chris Grayling about this, with Grayling rejecting his argument and O’Leary stating: “they don’t have a plan B. They say that they cannot see how European airports are going to survive without British passengers – well they can survive because they are going to have to.”

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