Ryanair has launched its largest schedule from London area airports for summer 2019 despite continuing to warn flights could be grounded for weeks because of Brexit.
The Irish low-cost carrier is to operate 23 new routes, including 14 from its new base at Southend, for the summer 2019 schedule. In June, Ryanair announced plans to operate a base at the Essex airport from next year.
Ryanair will also add three new routes from Stansted - Kiev, Lviv and Nantes – and six routes from Luton – Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Cork and Malaga.
The airline will base three aircraft at Southend with routes to Alicante, Bilbao, Brest, Copenhagen, Cluj, Corfu, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan, Palma, Reus and Venice.
The increase in capacity will see Ryanair operate more than 180 routes from four airports in the south-east, including its services from Gatwick.
Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said: “Our summer 2019 schedule will deliver 26 million customers per annum through Stansted, Luton, Southend and Gatwick.
“We remain concerned at the increasing risk of a hard (no-deal) Brexit in March 2019.
“While we hope that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 will be agreed, recent events in the UK have added uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a hard Brexit, which could lead to flights being grounded for a period of days or weeks, is being underestimated.”