Ryanair and Aer Lingus's parent urged on Monday that a post-Brexit UK should stay in the EU's Open Skies system following a meeting with members of the British government.
Airlines and other industry groups met the British cabinet's Brexit secretary David Davis and minister for aviation Tariq Ahmad at London City Airport to discuss the impact of the UK's planned departure from the European Union.
Ryanair's director of public affairs, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile and Aer Lingus owner International Airlines Group (IAG), attended the meeting, which discussed market access and further liberalisation.
After the meeting, Ryanair said that as Europe’s biggest airline, it outlined the benefits delivered by Open Skies, which allows carriers registered in any EU state full access to all the others, and said that it hoped the UK would remain part of this regime.
“Until the final outcome of Brexit has been determined, we will continue to adapt to changing circumstances in the best interests of our customers, our people and our shareholders,” the airline said.
IAG described the meeting as positive and pledged to press strongly for the UK to maintain full access to international markets.
“The best, and easiest, way to do that is for the UK and the EU to have a comprehensive open skies air transport agreement,” the company said.
“We want to see similar Open Skies policies between the UK and all the other markets where an EU agreement already exists.”
Following the meeting, Mr Davis, Britain's transport secretary Chris Grayling and Airlines UK (formerly the British Air Transport Association) chief executive, Tim Alderslade, stressed that market access remained a top priority.