Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair is set to include a “Brexit clause” in ticket sales for the summer of 2019, cautioning passengers that their tickets would be valid if the lingering issue that surrounds Britain’s exit from the EU is not resolved.
Flying rights to, from and within the 28-nation bloc is currently covered by the EU-wide “Open Skies” pacts.
However, with Brexit looming on the horizon, that arrangement has been placed in a compromised position since there is no fallback option for aviation if Britain leaves the EU without an aviation deal.
Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs bemoaned the fact that carriers just didn’t have enough information as to how aviation would be regulated after Brexit at the end of March 2019.
“We’ll announce our (2019) summer schedule soon enough … and there’ll be a term and condition that this is subject to the regulatory environment allowing this flight to take place,” Jacobs said, adding that the tickets would are set to go on sale in September.
Customers would be refunded if the clause were exercised.
“We don’t see a regulatory solution yet … If in the meantime between now and September, there’s a regulatory solution found, then those tickets will be sold as normal,” stated Jacobs.
Airlines have been clamoring for a new bilateral agreement between Britain and Europe by September or October to take the place of the EU’s “Open Skies” regime.
Britain could also be kept away from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after it leaves the EU. British government ministers have expressed confidence that they would remain included in both Open Skies and EASA.
But with uncertainty pervading the aviation industry, airlines are gradually making emergency plans for Brexit.
Ryanair has already applied for a British operating license to shield its domestic UK service, and last October, Thomas Cook placed an identical clause to the one recommended by Ryanair into its ticket sales.
Jacobs said it was probable that the clauses wouldn’t be even needed as officials are scrambling for ways to buy more time under current rules.
The EU and Britain are currently looking for a transition deal to help businesses ease into Brexit, where Britain would comply with EU regulations for at least 21 months after it leaves.
“There’s clearly going to be an extension to Brexit,” Jacobs remarked, saying that existing rules would most likely run beyond March next year.
“They are going to find a solution to Open Skies, but it will take a bit longer.”