EasyJet ready to respond to any demand impact from Brexit - CEO

FILE PHOTO: Passengers board an easyJet plane at the Nantes-Atlantique airport in Bouguenais near Nantes, France, April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

LONDON (Reuters) - British budget airline easyJet EZJ.L will adjust its fleet and switch volumes to react to any changes in demand if the British economy is impacted by a possible no-deal Brexit, Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal on October 31, and has said there might be “bumps in the road” in a no deal scenario.

Lawmakers have passed a law to force Johnson to seek an extension to that Brexit date to avoid a no-deal Brexit, but there have been signs of a hit to economic sentiment already.

Britain’s economy is in serious danger of entering its first recession since the financial crisis as business confidence wilts in the Brexit chaos, a closely watched business survey said on Wednesday.

“We do have flexibility within the fleet also to shift volumes, and we do also have a strong relationship and a good fleet plan together with Airbus so we can make sure we capture both upsides that come, and also if there is a dampening in demand in there,” Lundgren told reporters when asked how the airline was placed to deal with the economic fallout from a no-deal Brexit.

EasyJet has taken steps to prepare for Brexit, establishing an air operators certificate (AOC) and licence in Austria to protect its flying rights within the EU.

The airline is now also majority owned by EU nationals, thus complying with the bloc’s rules on ownership.

“We’re actually operating now as if a no-deal Brexit would’ve happened,” Lundgren said.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Jason Neely