Ryanair warns shareholders to brace for severe Brexit turbulence

Ryanair planes wait on the tarmac at Stansted Airport

Ryanair has warned about the danger of a Hard Brexit, saying that the risk of one was being "underestimated"

The airline has warned UK shareholders they may have to lose their voting rights in the event of a Brexit which sees the country crashing out of the EU without a deal next March.

Ryanair said: "While there is a view that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 to December 2020 will be implemented (and extended), recent events in the UK political sphere have added to this uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a Hard Brexit is being underestimated.

"It is likely that in the event of a Hard Brexit our UK shareholders will be treated as non-EU.

"We may be forced to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit, to ensure that Ryanair remains majority owned and controlled by EU shareholders."

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Labour MP Virendra Sharma MP, a champion of the campaign group Best for Britain, which is calling for a second referendum, said the aviation industry, like the automotive industry, was being "crippled by Brexit". He said: "The case for a people's vote with the option to remain becomes clearer by the day."

Ryanair's warning comes as it said its profits in the April to June quarter had been hit by higher wage costs as it faces strikes by staff over pay and conditions.

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The airline said higher oil prices and a fall in fares also dented profits, which fell 20% to €319m.

Ryanair is facing more strikes in the next few days. Pilots in Dublin will strike tomorrow, while cabin crew in mainland Europe will strike later this week.

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