Ryanair Gets UK Air Operator License in Preparation for Brexit

If there is one certainty about Brexit, it is that nothing is certain. Ryanair has been proactive in keeping its British operations intact by pursuing an Air Operator License in the UK.

brexit flying
The reality of how Brexit and flying will work in the event of a no-deal remains to be seen

The good news for Ryanair is that they can continue flying within and out of Britain to non-EU destinations regardless of how Brexit plays out.

Ryanair has a major presence at London’s Luton and Stansted airport. Most of their flights operate to EU destinations, which makes a post-Brexit aviation deal incredibly important to them.

In order to preserve their post-Brexit EU status, Ryanair is changing their ownership structure to keep more than 50% of its ownership with EU shareholders.

Airlines have been in a limbo situation with Brexit. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, is trying to prove itself as a Spanish company in order to preserve their flight schedules.

Some of Ryanair’s low-cost competitors have also been working to preserve their flights.

EasyJet has a European entity based in Austria. With a significant number of planes in its fleet, easyJet Europe will allow easyJet to maintain current EU air schedules.

In Eastern Europe, Wizz Air pursued and received a British AOC in order to preserve their United Kingdom operations.

However, despite receiving their British AOC, Ryanair is still pushing for a post-Brexit air deal. Why? The issue lies in the complexity of a no-deal Brexit on British aviation.

Why a Brexit Aviation Deal Matters

Without an aviation agreement, thousands of flights could be impacted. As the UK would be considered a separate country, there is a possibility that flights from the UK to the rest of Europe would be suspended.

Furthermore, after Brexit, UK passport holders would have to go through customs and immigration for their destination countries. Another area of concern is whether passengers would need visas for entry into European countries. Though this is unlikely, it remains another hotspot of uncertainty in a post-Brexit Europe.

Ryanair Gets UK Air Operator License in Preparation for Brexit
How UK passengers would be handled upon arrival in the EU has yet to be determined.

This is a huge deal for Ryanair since many of their British routes operate to EU countries.

Ryanair in 2018

Ryanair reported an 8% growth in the number of passengers in 2018. A total of 139.2 million passengers flew on Ryanair, although some were a bit controversial.

This growth was impressive despite being plagued by strikes.

Ryanair Gets UK Air Operator License in Preparation for Brexit
Striking Ryanair pilots and crew

Ryanair has no plans of stopping their passenger growth. Their latest plan involves cramming more people than before onto their new aircraft.

As 2019 begins, the airline remains plagued by union calls for strikes, pushing their new subsidiary, LaudaMotion, further towards profitability, and navigating post-Brexit aviation in Europe.

Here at Simple Flying, we’ll keep you updated as the situation progresses. Ultimately, the best case scenario would be an agreement on post-Brexit aviation ties between the UK and the EU.

If you have travel plans that could be threatened by Brexit, check out our article on the topic.

Do you have travel plans that could be affected by Brexit? Let us know in the comments!