Ryanair has launched its biggest ever schedule out of London to date, with three new routes from London Stansted.
But the airline has also reiterated its commitment to pivoting growth away from Britain in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The Irish carrier’s 2017 schedule will have three new routes from London Stansted to Aalborg in Denmark, Oradea in Romania and Pardubice in the Czech Republic.
It has also announced six new winter services, extending those that have previously been part of the summer schedule. These are Cagliari, Copenhagen, Naples, Nice, Oslo and Ponta Delgada, as well as more flights on 13 existing routes and over 140 routes in total.
Ryanair said these developments will deliver 23.8m customers per year across the carrier’s three airports in the capital – Stansted, Gatwick and Luton, which it said will support 17,000 jobs.
But Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer, said the airline was “doing what we are doing what we said we would do if there was a Brexit vote” and pivoting growth away from the UK.
Jacobs said Ryanair is concentrating on boosting growth in Italy – expecting to up passenger numbers a year from 32m to 36m. It is also focusing on Germany, Romania and Bulgaria.
He stressed that Ryanair is still growing in the UK, just not at the same rate it was before. Growth for London will slow from 10 per cent in 2017 to two per cent in 2018, Jacobs added.
He also called on the government to start moving “very, very quickly” on working out what Brexit will entail, saying “there is a great need for urgency in getting a plan in place”.
Jacobs said the "only thing getting in the way of a great London story" for Ryanair's raft of new routes was the lack of certainty from the government.
Airlines plan a year in advance, so Ryanair and its fellow carriers, want guidance by early 2018 on what will be delivered in terms of Open Skies agreements. "Please give us certainty," Jacobs added.