Ryanair is to slash capacity from the UK next year in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Europe’s largest budget airline had been expecting to fly 50 million passengers on routes into or out of the UK in 2017.
The carrier has cut that to 44.5 million, a fall in its passenger growth forecasts of nearly two thirds.
Ryanair is also scrapping plans to base new aircraft in the UK amid fears over a drop in demand for air travel.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary said ten new aircraft originally to be based in the UK would be deployed in other European countries, such as Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal, where growth is expected to be far higher.
O’Leary, who campaigned against Brexit, said that the UK would suffer significant economic damage as a result of the Leave vote.
“We were planning certainly to base up to ten aircraft here next year. None of those aircraft will be based here now. They will be based overseas,” he said.
“There’s an awful lot of rubbish being talked over here about ‘oh, there’s no effect’ [of Brexit]. As fares get cheaper, more aircraft will be moved away from the UK over the next few years,” he told The Times.
Ryanair, which flies from 19 UK airports, expects passenger numbers to grow by 15% in the current financial year. However, growth is expected to slow to 6% in the following 12 months.
The carrier was forced to cut fares by between 10% and 12% to attract customers since the Brexit vote, and the airline admitted that it may have to lower its profit forecast if prices continue to fall in the second half.
However, Ryanair claimed that it was on course to overtake easyJet as the biggest carrier in the UK.
Eastern European budget airline Wizz Air said in July that it was planning to cut its proposed expansion in the UK by 50% because of the weakness of the pound.
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