Major disruption to flights between Britain and the European Union from March 2019 is looking increasingly likely as Brexit talks proceed, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary warned on Wednesday. David Pollard reports.
Summer holidays ... the wait is on. But it could be nothing compared to the disruption flights between Britain and the EU could suffer - says the boss of Ryanair. Unless Britain has a deal to replace the current 'Open Skies' arrangement by September or October of next year. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYAN AIR, SAYING: "In aviation, because we run six months ahead of most other industries because we put the flights on sale, when people begin to focus on the fact that by September October of 2018 there's no flights for summer 19 then I think all hell is going to break loose over here. Now I hope I'm wrong." If he's not wrong, then the apparent lack of any progress in Brexit talks will, he says, put UK airlines at a severe disadvantage in trying to strike a new deal. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYAN AIR, SAYING: "I don't believe the European agencies the European airlines or the European governments are going to be very helpful. I think they're going to be very obstructionist. I think they're going to want to see that there is a disruption to flights and aircraft grounded no flights between UK and Europe for a period of months after April 19." It's not the first time O'Leary has made these warnings. On this occasion, he was making them after talks with UK transport minister, Chris Grayling. He's optimistic that a deal will be straightforward. But if he's wrong: fasten seat belts - and hope for takeoff.