RyanAir CEO says EU deal nowhere in sight, business leaders agree

RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary said yesterday that there was no movement on an airline deal for OpenSkies with Europe. He said the EU won’t discuss it until Britain and Europe agree rights for each groups citizens, and the UK doesn’t want to be part of the European Court – the final court of resolution for aviation agreements, which complicates matters further. 

The airlines need agreement at latest by October 2018 to publish winter/summer schedules for 2018/19 – most want it far earlier than that. It’s common to publish summer schedules for holiday companies 12-16 months in advance for groups like Thomson/Tui and Thomas Cook. Airlines like BA publish 12-13 months in advance normally.

The lethargic pace of negotiations, which seems largely to be caused by Britain’s lack of understanding on how complex the problems are, and how Europe feels over the withdrawal, aren’t encouraging anyone.  

The matter is complicated by a feeling in Europe that if Britain wants out, it’s out, and it doesn’t get any better deal than any other non-EU member.

O’Leary also added that he thinks airlines like AFKLM and Lufthansa are almost certainly lobbying against a good deal.

I’m personally doubtful that’s the case as in any scenario they stand to loose too. When it comes to overflights, those are under different rules governed by ICAO and IATA, it’s trading and landing, route rights that OpenSkies governs in the EU. 

If it reaches a point of no agreement – then you’ll see a wholesale change in where airlines are headquartered as they leave for Europe. EasyJet has already started the process, moving to Vienna, BA for example could quickly move to Madrid under IAG.