By Andrew Atkinson
Ryanair is cancelling 12 UK and international routes, including some at City of Derry and Belfast International airports, due to a policy change by the Civil Aviation Authority, a claim the CAA has rejected.
Ryanair are scheduled to fly to Alicante-Elche airport from Liverpool on Boxing Day.
Ryanair said the CAA introduced new regulatory barriers ahead of the end of the Brexit transition, causing unnecessary loss of connectivity to the UK economy.
Ryanair secured an operating licence for its UK subsidiary almost two years ago allowing it to keep UK traffic rights, including flying between domestic destinations, and protect its operations from January 1.
A spokesperson from City of Derry Airport said it is waiting for a further update from Ryanair post their ongoing discussions with the UK CAA.
“Ryanair UK had agreed Brexit contingency arrangements with the CAA two years ago and cannot comply with its new and impractical requirements at 10 days’ notice,” the spokesperson said.
“We call on the CAA’s David Kendrick and his management colleagues to respect this long-standing agreement and the CAA’s own established policy in order to facilitate the return of these routes as soon as possible.”
In a statement, Paul Smith said: “It is incorrect for the airline to state that the UK Civil Aviation Authority has changed its wet-leasing policy at short notice.”
Wet-leasing involves an aircraft being leased along with crew, maintenance and insurance.
“It has been our long-standing position that a UK airline with a significant presence in the UK, such as Ryanair UK does, should not rely heavily on using wet-leased, foreign-registered aircraft to undertake their operations.
“Doing so undermines the competitiveness of the UK aviation industry and the effectiveness of the regulatory regime. This is a view shared by regulators around the world and has nothing to do with our preparations for the end of the transition period.
“The decision to cancel these flights was taken by Ryanair alone. We will continue to engage with the airline on these matters as we seek to act in the best interest of consumers.”