DALLAS – Ryanair (FR) has announced that it will step away from the UK Aviation Council, a government group established to help implement its future aviation strategy.
The Dublin-based ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) has described the group as a “talking shop” which ‘delivers no benefits, no reform and no change for UK aviation or UK passengers.’
Headed by Baroness Vere, the group’s first meeting was held in February 2023. Here, Ryanair put forward five “practical measures to improve UK aviation,” which included:
1) Improve NATS staffing to reduce ATC delays;
2) The UK Govt to push for effective air space reform in Europe;
3) Improve Border Control staffing and processing times;
4) Called for reduced UK visa cost from £3,000 to £1,000 per person;
5) Restore temp IDs at UK airports to improve S23 staffing for airport, handling and PRM providers.
However, Ryanair said that in the six months since the first meeting Vere and the Council have delivered “no action whatsoever” to implement any of these “achievable goals.”
Michael O’Leary, the airline’s outspoken CEO, said, “We joined the UK Aviation Council in Feb when Transport Minister Mark Harper assured us it would be used as a “delivery body” to improve the resilience of UK aviation. Sadly, this has proved to be an empty promise. There has been no action, no delivery, and no improvement in UK aviation, and the Council has become a talking shop for Baroness Vere, Govt bureaucrats and the CAA to waffle on about reform while delivering none.
“If Baroness Vere wants to deliver change or improve UK aviation, then she should disband this useless Council and work instead with the UK’s major airlines to deliver real and effective change, which will enable us to improve capacity and lower air fares for UK citizens and visitors. Instead, Baroness Vere prefers to waste her time, and ours, holding a quarterly talking shop, at which she promises action, but delivers none. Ryanair has better things to do with our time than waste it on her useless and ineffective Aviation Council, and so we have written today to Baroness Vere to resign from this Council with immediate effect.”
In a statement to Reuters, the UK government described the decision as “disappointing,” and plans are in place to welcome a new airline at the next meeting. Members of the Council include easyJet (U2), British Airways (BA), Jet2 (LS) and Virgin Atlantic (VS), plus various airport and trade body bosses.
Featured Image: EI-EMI Ryanair Boeing 737-800 WMI EPMO. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways