Norwegian Air has its post-Brexit bases covered, says CEO

PARIS, June 27 (Reuters) - Norwegian Air Shuttle is confident it can cope with any disruptions to air traffic rights after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union because it already has several operating licences across the region, its CEO said on Monday.

Shares in European airlines tumbled again on Monday as investor fretted over the effects of the so-called Brexit on travel demand and operating rights, with easyJet and IAG having both warned on profit since the vote

Airlines with a heavy UK-focus, including easyJet, Ryanair , IAG and Wizz Air, may have to consider setting up new operating entities to get around any restrictions.

Low-cost carrier Norwegian, the shares of which dropped 12 percent on Monday, flies long-haul routes from London Gatwick and CEO Bjoern Kjos said that he hopes Britain can agree a deal giving it the same access to the EU’s single aviation market as it has now.

“But we are a little bit better off than the others because we have operating licenses in the UK and outside the UK,” Kjos told journalists in Paris.

“We have an EU licence, a UK licence, a Norwegian licence, so we are hedged.

Should banks move out of London as a result of a British exit from the EU, the Paris air traffic market could grow and Norwegian would allocate more capacity for flights in and out of the French capital, Kjos said.

He also said that the weakening of sterling since the vote could boost travel to Britain, with 50 percent of Norwegian’s long-haul passengers coming from the United States.

It may not necessarily hurt Britons’ desire to go on holiday, Kjos said, drawing parallels with the Norwegian currency.

“The Norwegian crown went down a lot in the oil crisis. They pay a little more but still they will have their vacation in Spain or in France. It’s very difficult to say how it will impact the industry,” he said.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by David Goodman