Ryanair to shift growth focus from UK following EU exit vote

Ryanair says it will reduce winter services at its main London hub and focus on other European bases because of weakened British growth and consumer sentiment following Britain's vote to leave the EU.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary made the announcement Monday alongside Ryanair's first-quarter earnings, which underscored the airline's leading position among European carriers for profits and growth. The Dublin-based airline reported a 4 percent rise in net profit to 256 million euros ($233 million) as it carried 31.2 million passengers in the April-June period, 11 percent more than a year ago, in part by charging fares averaging 39.92 euros ($36.35).

O'Leary called Britain's June 23 referendum rejection of continued EU membership "a surprise and a disappointment" that would undermine demand at Ryanair's biggest hub, Stansted Airport northeast of London.