Irish airline Ryanair has threatened to cancel flight services between the UK and the European Union (EU) after Brexit.
In a statement, Ryanair chief executive officer Michael O’Leary told the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee that flights will remain cancelled for several months after Brexit unless a new aviation deal between the UK and the EU is signed, reported the Independent.
Major airline and airport executives have warned that the tourism industry in the 27 EU countries could incur a loss of approximately €21bn in business from the country following Brexit.
Airlines will have to make business decisions about where to fly before the March 2019 deadline, when Britain is expected to exit the EU.
If a Brexit deal is not finalised by then, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement.
O’Leary said that the lack of a deal could mean no flight services between the UK and EU-27 immediately after Brexit.
He was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “There is a real prospect, and we need to deal with this, that there are going to be no flights between the UK and Europe for a period of weeks [or] months beyond March 2019.
“There is not going to be an interim agreement, there is not going to be a legal basis, we will be cancelling flights, we will be cancelling people’s holidays for summer of 2019.”
The Brexit negotiations are being handled by the European Commission (EC) on behalf of the EU.
The EC has refused to discuss anything regarding the negotiations until a settlement on people’s rights and the Brexit bill has been reached.
However, O’Leary has warned that the aviation industry will not wait that long and that a clear legal framework was required by September next year.
Ryanair intends to take several of their aircraft out of Britain from April 2019 and reallocate them to various regional airports across Europe.