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EasyJet lands Austria base for Brexit flights

The budget airline needs an air operator certificate (AOC) in an EU member country to carry on flying between member states.

About 30 per cent of its passengers fly on routes linking airports of the EU’s 27 other countries.

It aims to secure an AOC and an operating licence in the next few weeks before establishing easyJet Europe in Vienna. 

This will protect flights across Europe and domestically within European countries “regardless of the outcome of talks on a future UK-EU aviation agreement”.

The restructuring, which will involve re-registering 110 aircraft under Austrian jurisdiction, will cost £10million. EasyJet, led by chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, already has a Swiss airline and AOC. 

Its three airlines will be owned by EU-owned and controlled easyJet plc, based in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

It said “a number” of new jobs would be created in Austria, but no jobs will be moved from the UK, where it employs about 6,000 people including 1,000 at its Luton headquarters.

It already employs about 4,000 people across six of the EU’s other 27 countries. 

Austria, where easyJet has operated for 11 years and has flown a million passengers this year, was selected for its “rigorous approach to safety regulation” and its ability to handle lots of planes.

UK airlines still face uncertainty over whether they will be able to fly between the UK and Europe, and on what terms, after Brexit. 

EasyJet said:

“Given the importance of aviation to all the economies of Europe as an enabler of trade, tourism and travel, we think it is important that the aviation market remains as open and competitive as possible.

“EasyJet will continue to push for the EU and UK to reach an aviation agreement which at a minimum will enable flights between the UK and EU.

“We have had positive discussions with the UK and European Governments and the EU on this, and it is a position which is supported by other major European airlines.”

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