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easyJet prepares for life after Brexit with Austria base application

easyjet VUK budget carrier easyJet has submitted an application for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in Austria. Announcing news of the application, an easyJet spokesperson said the process was in its final stages and hoped the licence would be granted in the not too distant future.

An AOC for Austria will give easyJet ongoing access to the European Union’s open skies market. The UK currently has access to the open skies, but this may end when legislation for the Brexit agreement is finalised.

Any EU registered airline has had the right to fly between two European airports since the open skies pact was launched two decades ago. The open skies agreement has been a key factor in enabling EasyJet and other low-cost carriers such as Ryanair to gobble up the lion’s share of air passengers in Europe.

easyJet will found a new subsidiary, easyJet Europe, for its European venture. The fledgling airline will be headquartered in the Austrian capital, Vienna. easyJet first announced plans to set up a European adjunct after the Brexit out vote.

The airline says that from the point of view of passengers nothing will change. All easyJet staff and aircraft deployed on the country’s 27-nation network will remain in place. The airline stated that the new base of operations would ensure continued access to European markets but would prefer the UK to agree terms with the EU on unfettered access to European skies.

The statement said there were no plans to shift the main headquarters from Luton or to be removed from the London Stock Exchange. easyJet already has one European partner, but not in the EU. EasyJet Switzerland flies from Basel–Mulhouse–Freiburg and Geneva airports.

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