Easyjet seeks new EU licence
Published 16/11/2016 | 02:30
EasyJet has said it will apply for a new licence to continue flying within the European Union if Britain leaves the bloc, as sterling's slide and fears of militant attacks hit profits.
The Ryanair rival is among the companies most affected by the British vote to leave the European Union because about 30pc of its flights are between and within member states other than Britain.
To protect those rights, easyJet will set up an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in another EU country.
While it is common for airlines to have more than one certificate, they bring extra cost and complexity, factors that budget carriers try to avoid.
The airline said in a presentation announcing its first fall in annual profit in six years that it was close to selecting a location within the EU to make a formal application for the certificate early next year.
The process will cost easyJet about £10m (€11.6m), split between its current financial year to the end of September and the next one.
The airline has about 100 planes and 3,300 crew members based in other EU member states and it said the costs would mainly stem from registering those planes in the new location in a process that could take 12-18 months.
"We are confident there will be an agreement between the UK and the EU but we can't be certain it will be reflective of current arrangements so that's why we need to establish an EU operating company," chief executive Carolyn McCall said.
McCall said easyJet's headquarters would remain in Luton in Britain, where it operates 140 planes and employs 6,500 people.
Rivals are not as pressed to set up new arrangements to cope with Brexit. British Airways owner IAG is already EU-owned and has various AOCs as does Germany's Lufthansa. Ireland's Ryanair is still considering whether it would need to get a UK certificate in the event of Brexit.
Shares in easyJet were 2.7pc higher after the results yesterday. (Reuters)