Brexit: Ryanair secures UK operating licence

Move will ensure the airline can maintain internal UK flights after Brexit

Ryanair applied for the air-operating certificate in late 2017. Photograph: Reuters

Ryanair applied for the air-operating certificate in late 2017. Photograph: Reuters

 

Ryanair has secured a UK-operating licence, meaning it can continue UK domestic flights and flights from the UK to outside the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Ryanair’s chief legal and regulatory officer, Juliusz Komorek, said: “The risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit in March is rising, and despite our robust post-Brexit structures, including our post-Brexit plan around European ownership, we continue to call for the UK and EU to agree a transition deal from March 31st [sic] 2019, so that any disruption to flights and British consumer summer holidays in 2019 can be avoided.”

The airline applied for the air-operating certificate in late 2017. Its UK domestic routes only accounted for 1 per cent of capacity in 2018, according to its annual report, but it also flies from the UK to non-EU destinations including Morocco and Norway.

Ownership problems

Ryanair is facing ownership problems around Brexit too. Under existing rules, airlines must prove they are 50 per cent EU owned and controlled to qualify for operating licences. Ryanair has tried to respond to the problem by preparing plans to take away voting rights from its non-EU shareholders to ensure it reaches the threshold.

In November, Ryanair stirred up anger among some of its pilots as it started to recruit for a UK subsidiary, established to protect the company against a no-deal Brexit. Pilots said the salaries offered at the subsidiary undermined Ryanair’s claims about how much they earn – which the airline has insisted would not be lower than those of pilots flying for the parent group and can be up to €200,000. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019