EasyJet, the UK budget airline, may need to move company headquarters to a European city in response to last month’s shock Brexit result.
The airline has applied for an air operator certificate from the European Union to continue using EU air routes if and when the UK formally withdraws from the block.
“EasyJet is lobbying the UK government and the EU to ensure the continuation of a fully liberal and deregulated aviation market within the UK and Europe. This would mean that EasyJet and all European airlines can continue to operate as they do today,” the company said in a statement.
“As part of EasyJet’s contingency planning before the referendum we had informal discussions with a number of European aviation regulators about the establishment of an AOC in an European country to enable EasyJet to fly across Europe as we do today. EasyJet has now started a formal process to acquire an AOC,” it continued.
The airline also noted that it does not need operational or structural changes as of yet, nor is it currently planning to move from Luton. However, should lobbying prove unsuccessful, the airline will consider setting up a new European base of operation. Dublin is seen as an attractive choice by many airlines because of regulatory and tax issues.
EasyJet and others issue profit warnings
The UK’s air travel and banking sectors were particularly impacted by the Brexit result. Ryanair has put new UK connections on hold for the foreseeable future because the uncertainty caused by the Leave vote. More than 25 percent of Ryanair’s sales come from the UK market.
“I don’t think we’ll open up many new lines in the UK for the next 12 or 18 months, until this current uncertainty is removed,” explained Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary.
Aer Lingus, British Airways and EasyJet issued profit-warnings after the June 23 referendum when Sterling sharply fell against the euro. Economic and consumer uncertainty is expected over the summer, negatively impacting airline revenues.