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Brexit threatens UK flights to EU 27, says Ryanair boss

13 July 2017, 23:47 CET
Brexit threatens UK flights to EU 27, says Ryanair boss

Michael O'Leary - Photo © European Union 2017 - Source EP

(BRUSSELS) - There could be no flights between the United Kingdom and the EU-27 immediately after Brexit, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary warned at meeting of the European Parliament's transport committee Tuesday.

At the hearing, stakeholders in the field of aviation discussed ways in which the UK's departure from the EU is likely to impact the aviation industry from the perspective of the airports, the airlines and the tourism industry as a whole. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session with Euro-Parliament Members.

High-level airline and airport executives warned of the negative consequences of Brexit on aviation and tourism. Airlines will need to make business decisions about where to fly well before Brexit's March 2019 deadline, they warned.

And no deal could mean no flights between UK and EU-27 immediately after Brexit, according to Ryanair's Michael O'Leary.

The CEOs highlighted the benefits that the single market has brought in terms of travel opportunities and jobs and economic growth and the large flows of tourists between the UK and the other 27 EU countries.

They warned that passengers would lose out and the EU27 tourism industry stands to lose some EUR 21 billion in business from the UK following Brexit, especially in Malta, Cyprus and Portugal.

They stressed the importance of having certainty, and said that aviation needed to be dealt with as a priority in the negotiations on a future relationship - especially as there is no "fall back" option, which other sectors may have in the form of WTO rules.

MEPs asked the CEOs if they thought the UK should continue to follow the EU rules in the field of aviation following Brexit and if there are current agreements with third countries that could serve as a blueprint for a future relationship.

They asked if they are preparing contingency plans in case the negotiators do not reach a deal by the March 2019 deadline.

See full European Parliament hearing here

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