February 8, 2018 / 2:35 PM / in 15 days

Budget airline easyJet says flying rights now Brexit proof

LONDON (Reuters) - EasyJet (EZJ.L) said its flying rights would not be affected by Britain’s departure from the European Union after shareholders voted to amend the budget airline’s legal structure and after a change to its British flying license.

To protect their flying rights after Brexit, airlines from across Europe, including Wizz (WIZZ.L) and Ryanair (RYA.I), have been making changes and applying for new licenses, a process which easyJet said it was close to concluding.

“Structurally we now have everything in place that protects all of our flying rights both in Europe and the UK,” an easyJet spokesman said.

At its annual general meeting, shareholders approved changes to its articles of association to ensure the company would remain EU-owned and controlled after Brexit, thereby allowing easyJet to continue to fly between and within EU countries.

EasyJet also announced that Britain’s air regulator would in the coming weeks grant it a standalone British air operator’s certificate (AOC) to cover its Britain-based aircraft.

    As part of that change, easyJet said the Department for Transport had confirmed easyJet would be treated as a British airline once Britain had left the EU and when easyJet’s parent company was EU-owned.

    Last July, easyJet established a new airline in Austria to protect its flying rights in the EU after Brexit.

    The airline also said it would increase its EU shareholder base above 50 percent prior to Brexit to ensure its future EU-ownership base. Close to 50 percent of easyJet’s shares are already held by non-British, EU investors.

    Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Edmund Blair

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