The European airline, Ryanair, on Thursday risked a temporary interruption of flights between the United Kingdom and the European Union after the Brexit, if London and Brussels do not quickly come to an agreement for air transport. “Today you can fly freely between the United Kingdom and Europe, but we are considering a scenario in which tomorrow you would not be able to do so. It could be for a few days, a few weeks or for a few months, no one knows” said Neil Sorahan, chief financial officer of the Irish company, at a press conference in London.
The United Kingdom triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon at the end of March, which opens two years of negotiations between London and Brussels on the conditions of the Brexit, which will take place shortly after this. British Prime Minister Theresa May has already warned that her country will leave the European single market.
In the absence of a transition agreement, “we could find ourselves in a situation in which bilateral trade would fall under the rules of the World Trade Organisation, which does not specifically cover the aviation sector,” said the low-cost company’s official.
“So there is an essential need for the UK to come to a bilateral agreement with the EU on travel conditions. In order for it to be ratified in time, it would require an agreement by October 2018, which would allow EU Member States six months to ratify it,” Sorahan added.
The official said it was “highly unlikely” that London and Brussels would have no alternative means for maintaining air connections, but stressed that companies plan their flights a year in advance – for example, in the spring of 2018 for the summer of 2019, which could be the first period directly affected by the Brexit.