Ryanair: Brexit won't ground flights

Ryanair: Brexit won't ground flights

Ryanair has cooled its Brexit rhetoric by saying it does not expect any large-scale flight disruptions to be caused by the UK leaving the EU.

The airline - which, last week, issued a second profit warning in three months - had repeatedly warned, last year, of the prospect of UK-based planes being grounded for up to three weeks on the back of any disorderly Brexit.

However, speaking at the Killarney Economic Conference, Ryanair's chief operating officer Peter Bellew countered this by saying he could not forseee there being any overnight stoppage of flights with Brexit.

This was, he said, because Ryanair - like other airlines of scale - had taken complicated and costly steps to set up subsidiaries.

"I don’t see there being an overnight stoppage of any flights. However difficulties with specialist parts could follow Brexit," Mr Bellew said.

Supply chain networks, he said, are very interlinked and Ireland - like the rest of Europe - could suffer with specialist parts suppliers pulling out of Britain and not bothering to set up elsewhere in the EU.

Many American suppliers have been reluctant to relocate within the EU, he said.

Last week Ryanair said it could not rule out a further cut in its full-year profit forecasts given the ongoing uncertainty about the terms of Britain's EU departure.

Ryanair began preparatory steps about five years ago, Mr Bellew said. Earlier this month, the airline secured a UK operating licence, allowing it to fly within the UK and from the country to non-EU routes in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Bellew said Irish people should be more sympathetic towards Britain in its current situation.

"There is far too much gloating by commentators here in Ireland," he said.

"As an airline, we have taken the view not to be bashing the English. We need to get behind the UK economy a little bit more, and end a lot of the gloating that is going on."

Ryanair is, he added, trying to be "inclusive" of the British and advocate for them at regulatory level in Europe.

He said he would urge the Irish Government, the people of Ireland and businesses to do the same.

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