Budget airline Ryanair has resigned from the UK Aviation Council and branded it as a “talking shop” which does not deliver benefits or reform for the sector or passengers.

Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary accused the organisation, led by Baroness Vere, of being “useless and ineffective” on a range of issues in recent months.

The council was set up to bring industry and Government together to help the UK retain its spot as one of the world’s strongest aviation sectors.

The council held its first meeting in February 2023, its second in April was postponed and the third took place on Tuesday, Ryanair said.

Ryanair press conference
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ryanair’s decision was described as “disappointing” by a Government spokesman.

Plans are already in place to welcome a new airline representative at the next meeting as it is felt the council’s remit is the planning and collaboration between UK Government and industry over the next 10 years and not to push one airline’s agenda over others.

Mr O’Leary, who said the resignation is with immediate effect, added: “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.

“Instead, Baroness Vere prefers to waste her time, and ours, holding a quarterly talking shop, at which she promises action, but delivers none.”

Mr O’Leary said the Dublin-based carrier expects to grow its traffic in the UK in 2023 by 13% to 56 million passengers, and all of this is happening “without any support or initiative from the UK Government or its useless Aviation Council”.

He stated: “We joined the UK Aviation Council in February when Transport Minister Mark Harper assured us it would be used as a ‘delivery body’ to improve the resilience of UK aviation. Sadly, this has proved to be an empty promise.

“There has been no action, no delivery, and no improvement in UK aviation, and the council has become a talking shop for Baroness Vere, government bureaucrats and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to waffle on about reform while delivering none.”

Improvements to National Air Traffic Services (NATS) staffing to reduce delays, the push for effective air space reform in Europe, better Border Control staffing and processing times and a cut to the UK visa costs are among the issues the budget airline has raised.

A Government spokesman said: “Ryanair’s decision is disappointing.

“The Aviation Council was set up to bring the industry and Government together to address shared challenges facing the sector and ensure the UK aviation sector remains one of the strongest and successful in the world.”

Assurances have been made that UK Air Traffic Control staffing would be sufficient to operate effectively during the summer 2023 and Border Force staff are deployed based on advance traffic data from operators to ensure match availability is matched with demand.

Visa fees are seen as playing a key role in ensuring that the borders and migration system is sustainably funded, reducing reliance on UK taxpayers.