EU CHIEFS have warned UK-based airlines that they will need to relocate their headquarters if they want to maintain continental European routes in the wake of Brexit.
Executives at major carriers have been reminded they would also need to sell off shares to European nationals in order to operate flights across the continent – for example, Malaga to Berlin – according to a report in The Guardian.
Decisions to move bases to the EU would lead to thousands of lost jobs in the UK.
Should negotiators fail to reach an agreement, poentially along the lines of the ‘open-skies’ deal granted to EU members, the UK could impose its own ownership rules, which would prevent airlines such as Ireland-based Ryanair from flying UK domestic routes.
A Ryanair spokesman said the company would “adapt” to changes but the airline’s chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary, has warned of the dangers of a “cliff-edge” Brexit, and criticised the “mildly lunatic optimism” of the British government.
EasyJet is reported to be in the process of establishing an EU operating company in order to obtain an EU air operating certificate.
The company insists it will continue to be headquartered in the UK.