End of Open Skies law to hit holidaymakers and UK expats

Published:  13 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Germany, Ireland, Euro, England
Controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has informed the EU parliament that flights between Europe and the UK will stop post-Brexit unless new international agreements are struck.

In his usual flamboyant manner, O’Leary warned that all Ryanair aircraft will be shifted to his bases in Europe, summer holidays for hundreds of thousands of Brits will be cancelled and Heathrow will be deserted. The current agreement, known as ‘Open Skies’ allows all EU member state airlines, including those based in the UK, to operate in and overfly all of Europe, and will end for the UK once Brexit is finalised.

Sealing a new deal allowing the present status quo to continue, he says, is vital, as aviation in general is unable to fall back on rules set by the World Trade Organisation. Such a deal, he warned, is impossible, with the only way around chaos in the skies is for the UK government to ignore the result of last June’s Brexit referendum.

Speaking in Brussels to the EU parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, O’Leary emphasised that after March next year it’s a reality that no flights between the UK and Europe will happen unless the situation is dealt with. The Ryanair boss believes a clear, legal framework is necessary by late September next year, with Willy Walsh, International Airlines Group’s CEO, suggesting air transport agreements must be made ahead of the 2019 divorce.

Walsh believes achieving a deal should be comparatively straightforward, a view which is not shared by O’Leary, who thinks it’s an impossibility’, adding the Europeans have no goodwill towards the UK and the French and Germans are happy to get one over on the British. O’Leary is widely known for his extravagant statements to the press, but in this instance he may be right when he describes British holidaymakers in the summer of 2019 having to choose between a ferry to Ireland or a drive to Scotland. The open skies situation as well as Brexit itself is, he adds, a real mess, with the referendum result becoming one of history’s ‘great economic suicide notes’.
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