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Brexit vote prompts Ryanair cutback

DUBLIN: July 25, 2016. As a result of the Brexit vote, Ryanair says it will reduce its UK growth and focus more on the EU over the next two years.

RyanairThe airline said it would begin cutting capacity and frequency on many London Stansted routes this winter although no routes will close.

Europe's largest airline reported a net profit of €256 million on revenue of €1.68 billion for Q1 ending June 30.

The referendum to leave the EU was "both a surprise and a disappointment" and the airline says it expects a considerable period of political and economic uncertainty that will be damaging to economic growth and consumer confidence in both the UK and EU.

"In the near term we expect that Brexit uncertainty will lead to weaker sterling [and] slower growth in the UK and EU economies until the end of 2017 at least," said Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. He added "there may also be some [growth] opportunities if our UK-registered competitors are no longer permitted to operate intra-EU routes, or must divest their majority ownership of EU registered airlines".

O'Leary expects 2016 profits to rise 12 percent to between €1.37 billion to €1.42 billion but warned that in a post-Brexit environment "there are significant risks to the downside".

In February the airline announced an €800 million share buyback program that was increased to €886 million after the Brexit vote. Ryanair has now returned over €4.2 billion to investors since 2008. Further buybacks are expected over the next 15 months "if it's in the best interest of shareholders".

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