Ryanair will launch 23 new routes from London in 2019 as part of a record summer schedule expected to see the low-cost carrier fly millions of customers to and from the UK capital.
The new routes bring the number of routes ex-London to 180 and are expected to increase the number of customers through Ryanair’s four London Airports — Stansted, Luton, Southend and Gatwick — by 5 percent to 26 million.
The airline will base three new aircraft in Southend and add two to Luton as it introduces services to a wide array of destinations.
The new routes include Kiev, Lviv and Nantes from Stansted and Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Cork and Malaga from Luton.
Fourteen new routes from Southend will see the low-cost carrier fly to Alicante, Bilbao, Brest, Copenhagen, Cluj, Corfu, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan, Palma, Reus & Venice.
“ Our S2019 schedule will deliver 26m customers p.a. through Stansted, Luton, Southend and Gatwick, all at the lowest fares, as we continue to grow London traffic, tourism and jobs,“ Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said.
But O’Leary continued to express concern about the increasing risk of a hard (no-deal) Brexit in March 2019.
A report on Sky News this week suggested that thousands of pilot and other aviation licenses issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency may have to be reissued if there is a hard Brexit.
“While we hope that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 will be agreed, recent events in the UK have added uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a hard Brexit (which could lead to flights being grounded for a period of days or weeks) is being underestimated,” O’Leary said.
Ryanair has also lodged a complaint to the European Commission about what it says is discrimination by UK air traffic controller NATS at Stansted.
The airline says more than half of all London ATC delays in the first quarter were at Stansted while there were zero delays at Heathrow and just 10 percent at Gatwick.