Ryanair has called for more “more urgency” from the UK government in addressing the air travel implications of Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger the start of the Brexit process this week and Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs warned: “It’s going to be an ugly divorce.”
Speaking at German travel trade show ITB in Berlin on Friday, Jacobs said: “We need to see more urgency in London and Brussels.
“Are we going to be able to travel between the UK and the EU and how is it going to work?”
He said: What happens with open skies is a major question. British politicians say it’s inconceivable we won’t have flight access [to the EU]. But Brussels politicians aren’t saying the same.
“Europe is going to make it very difficult for Britain to leave.
“We don’t know what is going to happen and Europe needs to find a solution. All airlines will be encouraging the British government to move a bit quicker.”
Jacobs said the Brexit vote had already slowed airline growth in Britain, arguing: “All airlines are reducing their growth rates in the UK.”
But he said fares would remain low because of overcapacity in Europe.
Jacobs argued: “It’s a benign market. There is overcapacity, and there is probably a couple more years of extra capacity. Fares are coming down.”
But he forecast a downturn if the price of oil rises, saying: “Air fuel is cheap. When the oil price rises to $75 a barrel we’ll see airlines go bust.”
He added: “Donald Trump is probably a good thing for the European tourism industry because the dollar will be stronger than the euro. More Americans will come to Europe and more Europeans will stay at home [in Europe].
“More Asians will also probably come to Europe [rather than the US] because they don’t like Trump’s immigration policies.”
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