Ryanair, unions, talks, Ireland, pilots

Ryanair may force UK shareholders to sell

CEO Michael O’Leary believes such a move may arise to avoid Ryanair being grounded after Brexit.

Ryanair says it may have to force its shareholders in the UK to sell their shares in the airline to avoid it being grounded after Brexit.

Flights of Ryanair and other airlines could be grounded from April 1 next year, chief executive Michael O’Leary believes, which is when the UK quits the European Union, at least for a short period, unless a UK-EU deal is struck.

Under EU rules, Ryanair must show regulators that the majority of investors at the Irish airline are EU citizens. Europeans make up 56% of the airline’s shareholders, but 20% are from the UK, the newspaper the Sunday Times reports.

O’Leary is examining ways of giving incentives to non-EU investors to persuade them to dump their shares, he told the newspaper. He added that he would force a sale if necessary.

Ryanair has also applied for a British air operating certificate in order to continue operating domestic UK flights.

The UK’s transport secretary, Chris Grayling, insists there will be no such problems for airlines next spring, but a deal has still not been struck with the EU to avoid any potential disruption.

Related stories

Brexit may wreck London for business travel

Brexit uncertainty among travel businesses

What Brexit means for travel and tourism