Ryanair Blames Canceled Routes On UK CAA

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has blamed the cancelation of 12 UK domestic and international routes on the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority’s bureaucracy. It seems the issue revolves around flights being operated on a wet lease basis.

Ryanair, CAA, Route Cancelations
Ryanair has blamed 12 route cancelations on a policy change by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Most operators have suspended or completely closed routes around the world as a result of low passenger numbers. However, that is not the only reason for route cancelations. Sometimes, such action may be due to other factors, such as government restrictions, for regulatory reasons. This appears to be the case in Ryanair’s latest wave of cancellations.

Why have Ryanair canceled flights?

Yesterday, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair revealed that it had canceled flights on 12 routes due to a CAA policy change enacted on December 20th. The ruling appears to impact flight operations in the post-Brexit UK, with Ryanair revealing that the CAA had placed barriers in the way of its UK subsidiary, Ryanair UK.

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The airline called the CAA blind to UK consumers and businesses’ needs, adding that their action would cause an ‘unnecessary loss of connectivity to the UK economy.’

Ryanair, CAA, Route Cancelations
The issue seems to stem from Ryanair UK’s usage of foreign-registered aircraft. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Commenting on the action, a Ryanair spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“We are disappointed to have to cancel 12 UK domestic and international (Morocco and Ukraine) routes… Ryanair UK had agreed Brexit contingency arrangements with the CAA 2 years ago and cannot comply with its new and impractical requirements at 10 days’ notice.”

So what’s going on?

According to an analysis of the situation by FlightGlobal, it seems that the issue stems from using wet leased foreign aircraft for flights from the United Kingdom. The CAA told the publication that a UK airline with the type of presence Ryanair UK has shouldn’t be relying on foreign-registered aircraft for their operations.

According to Planespotters.net, Ryanair UK only has one aircraft. G-RUKA was delivered as new to Ryanair in September 2014 as EI-FEF. The Boeing 737 was re-registered on the UK aircraft registry by Ryanair UK two years ago in December 2018. Ryanair launched the subsidiary to give itself a presence in the United Kingdom in case of a hard Brexit. Out of the Ryanair Group’s 460 aircraft, only one belongs to its UK subsidiary.

Ryanair, CAA, Route Cancelations
Ryanair only has one UK-registered aircraft (pictured). Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Not the only Irish airline with UK interests

Ryanair is not the only Irish airline with an interest in the United Kingdom. Earlier this month, Simple Flying revealed that the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus would be establishing a UK subsidiary. The full-service carrier intends to reregister two Airbus A330-300s in the UK. It would also launch services to the United States from Manchester according to an application filed in the United States.

What do you make of the Ryanair-CAA spat? Who is in the right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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