Ryanair have today denied they will be grounding planes after Brexit, claiming boss Michael O’Leary was misquoted.
But in a press conference this morning, the airline denied this was their stance, and said O’Leary had been “misquoted”.CMO Kenny Jacobs discussed Brexit further and said: “Michael is not grounding flights – don’t think he wants this to happen.There is a blueprint for transition that is going in the right direction. What happens after transition agreement is less certain – more negative than we’d like.”
Outlining what they would like to see happen, Jacobs said: “We’d like status quo on flying rights but after the transition period, things look more negative on flights rights.
“We absolutely want status quo to continue we do not want ground flights. The business wants certainly to make an investment decision.”
He continued: “There has been an ongoing uncertainty for a number of years. The UK isn’t going to get what it has today in terms of flying to the USA. More restricted capacity to the USA means there will be fewer flights to the US and flights will be more expensive.”
Reports surfaced yesterday that O’Leary said: “I think it’s in our interests – not for a long period of time – that the aircraft are grounded. It’s only when you get to that stage where you’re going to persuade the average British voter that you were lied to in the entire Brexit debate.
“You were promised you could leave the EU and everything would stay the same. The reality is you can leave the EU, yes that’s your choice, but everything will fundamentally change.”
O’Leary is renowned for his bold opinions and went on to add: “When you begin to realise that you’re no longer going to have cheap holidays in Portugal or Spain or Italy, you’ve got to drive to Scotland or get a ferry to Ireland as your only holiday options, maybe we’ll begin to rethink the whole Brexit debate.
“They were misled and I think we have to create an opportunity.”
The airline also spoke about the pilots union, which is feared will cause huge delays for passengers this Easter.
Kenny Jacobs said: “All countries have great pilot union access, alhtough this is working slowest in Portugal and Ireland – but we hope to get back on track.
“We are doing all we can to avoid union dispute. Unions have told us it’s going to take time. The fact we’ve taken step to recognised union has pleased pilots.
“Some pilots have come forward to say they want to set up their own union but we are not going down this path. We are having to reassure pilots we have not sold them out.”
Admitting that there may still be some disruption, Jacobs continued: ” May have disruption in some locations but don’t all we can to avoid this. We are a budget airline so there is a limit to have much we can do.”
What is Ryanair’s stance on Brexit?
The European airline reportedly flew 44 million passengers to and from the UK in 2017.
But since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, Ryanair has repeatedly warned of the possibility there will be no flights between the UK and Europe once Britain leaves the EU.
The airline has been firmly anti-Brexit due to the changes the decision will bring to the aviation industry.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warned yesterday the airline may ground planes from the UK as part of a plot to make Brexit voters rethink their choice, and would instead base them elsewhere in Europe.
What Ryanair said about Brexit in 2017
2 August 2017: Michael O’Leary threatened to take flights off sale in September 2018 if an OpenSkies agreement isn’t reached
25 July 2017: Ryanair CFO Neil Sorahan said a “hard” Brexit was a cause for concern on BBC Radio 4
26 July 2017: Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs called on the UK Government for clarity on open skies or risk grounding flights after the EU divorce
27 June 2017: Kenny Jacobs said flights between the UK and the EU could come to a halt for months
15 June 2017: Kenny Jacobs warned UK expats could be stranded if flights stop after Brexit
31 May 2017: Michael O’Leary told hosts on CNBC there could be “months” of chaos with planes not being allowed to fly to and from mainland Europe
30 May 2017: At a press conference O’Leary issued a Brexit doomsday scenario saying “we’ll only have one aircraft per European base”
25 May 2017: O’Leary warned British holiday-goers to get used to travelling by boat as a hard Brexit will shut down all flights to and from the UK
6 April 2017: Neil Sorahan, CFO, issues a Brexit ultimatum – continue open skies or see NO EU flights from March 2019
16 February 2017: O’Leary threatens to CUT all flights to Europe