Ryanair is to base all 50 of its new planes outside the UK as the airline has “much more political certainty in continental Europe” in the wake of the Brexit vote.
CEO Michael O’Leary described politicians now working on taking the UK out of the European Union (EU) as “headless chickens” who have “no idea where they’re going to finish up”.
It came as the airline announced new routes from its Scottish bases including flights to Lisbon, Valencia, Palanga in Lithuania and Zadar in Croatia from Glasgow Airport.
The firm said it had no plans to alter arrangements at Belfast International in the short term.
“We’re being very cautious about the amount of capacity we’re allocating to the UK over the next two or three years until we get some kind of indication of what Brexit will look like.
“It’s not because we’re annoyed or anything with the UK, but we have much more political certainty in continental Europe than we have in the UK while they’re all running around trying to work out what Brexit looks like.
“None of the new aircraft we take delivery of next year will be based here in the UK and already you can see the Brexit decision is costing real jobs, real visitors are being lost and real investment is being postponed.
“There’s a bunch of headless chickens here, they don’t know what they voted for and have no idea where they’re going to finish up, so we have to be cautious with our expansion next year, which is a pity.”
The airline expects lower growth over the next few years as Brexit negotiations take place but Mr O’Leary said he would begin investment and expansion in Scotland “the following day” if the Scottish Government scraps air passenger duty as planned.
The move could bring in up to £400 million in revenue from VAT receipts and create about 3,500 jobs, he said.