Ryanair resigns from UK Aviation Council

A Ryanair Boeing 737-8200 taxiing.
Photo Credit: Thomas Saunders/AviationSource
By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Major low-cost carrier Ryanair has officially announced its resignation from the UK Aviation Council. The decision comes after what it characterises as six months of disappointment, claiming the Council has failed to deliver any tangible benefits, reforms, or improvements for UK aviation and passengers.

The lack of action and progress has rendered the Council nothing more than a mere “talking shop” according to the airline.

Ryanair’s previous proposal to the Council

The UK Aviation Council convened its inaugural meeting in February 2023, followed by the postponement of the second meeting in April, which was attributed to Baroness Vere. Finally, the third meeting took place on July 11th, only to underscore the council’s ineffectiveness.

During the first council meeting in February, Ryanair presented five practical measures to Baroness Vere, aimed at enhancing UK aviation. These measures included:

  1. Improving NATS staffing to reduce air traffic control (ATC) delays.
  2. Urging the UK Government to advocate for effective airspace reform in Europe.
  3. Enhancing border control staffing and processing times.
  4. Advocating for a reduction in UK visa costs from £3,000 to £1,000 per person.
  5. Restoring temporary IDs at UK airports to improve staffing for airport, handling, and PRM providers.

Over the course of the past six months, the airline says that Baroness Vere and the UK Aviation Council have taken no action on any of these feasible goals.


In the recent meeting, Baroness Vere proposed the establishment of a working group comprising the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to promote “modernisation” of UK airspace.

No meaningful outcomes until 2024, says Ryanair

However, Ryanair says it was disheartening to note that this body is not expected to deliver any meaningful outcomes until April 2024, and the Department for Transport has failed to provide the necessary funding for this reform.

In their recent statement on the decision to withdraw, Ryanair’s concluded that the UK Aviation Council is merely a “useless talking shop, which has failed to deliver any action or practical measures to improve UK aviation.”

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, expressed his disappointment, stating, “We joined the UK Aviation Council in February based on assurances from Transport Minister Mark Harper that it would serve as a ‘delivery body’ to enhance the resilience of UK aviation.”

“Unfortunately, these assurances have proven to be empty promises. No action has been taken, no improvements have been made, and UK aviation remains stagnant, while the council has become a platform for Baroness Vere, government bureaucrats, and the CAA to engage in idle discussions about reform without delivering any tangible results.”

As the UK’s leading passenger airline, O’Leary went on to highlight his airline’s committment to investing heavily in new bases and routes, including Belfast, with an expected growth of 13% to 56 million passengers in 2023.

He added that “all of this growth is being delivered without any support or initiative from the UK Govt or its useless Aviation Council.”

“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,” said O’Leary.

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