EasyJet making plans to ensure it is still seen as a UK airline, after Brexit

EasyJet is ensuring it is safe after Brexit, by working to meet EU ownership rules. There is uncertainty about that happens to UK and European-owned airlines after Brexit. These include agreeing a new legal basis for British airlines to operate flights between EU countries, and also ownership rules requiring airlines operating in the EU to be majority controlled by EU countries.  Shareholders at easyJet’s AGM approved changes to its Articles of Association that will ensure it is EU-owned and controlled after Brexit.  The move is an “important element in ensuring that easyJet plc has the ability to maintain EU ownership and control at all times should we need to do so”.  EasyJet expects the CAA to grant it a UK air operator’s certificate in the coming weeks, to cover its UK-based aircraft. Government had confirmed that the airline — easyJet UK — will be treated as a British carrier when Britain had left the EU, and its parent company is EU-owned. EasyJet is one of the first to make moves to protect its flying rights after Brexit. Ryanair has applied for a British air operator’s certificate, so it can continue flying in the UK after Brexit.

Easyjet closes in on UK licence as shareholders green light Brexit shake-up that could force UK investors to sell shares

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

8th February 2018

Easyjet’s plans to change its shareholder set-up to ensure it meets EU ownership rules for airlines post-Brexit have been backed by investors at the airline’s annual general meeting today.

The airline also said it expects the Civil Aviation Authority to grant it a UK air operator’s certificate in the coming weeks to operate its UK-based aircraft. The government has confirmed the airline – Easyjet UK – will be treated as a British airline when Britain leaves the bloc and its parent firm is EU-owned.

The carrier revealed in November that it intended to amend its articles of association, which gave directors the power to limit the ownership of the firm’s shares by non-UK nationals. Now, EasyJet will change this so it applies to non-EU shareholders, excluding UK holders once the UK leaves the European Union.

Read more: Easyjet’s new boss cuts his salary to match Carolyn McCall’s

So it has the power to force UK shareholders to divest their shares if need be, as the resolution was passed at the AGM in Luton today.

John Barton, Easyjet’s chairman, said today that Brexit was “one of the biggest issues facing the European airline industry”.

He said the change will mean the board can ensure the airline is EU owned and controlled at all times after the UK leaves the EU, “allowing Easyjet to continue to fly between and within EU countries post-Brexit”.

Barton said:

We have no immediate intention of using these powers but they are an important element in ensuring that Easyjet has the ability to maintain EU ownership and control at all times should we need to do so.

He said Easyjet had begun “from a position of strength”, and a “more active investor relations programme” underway across Europe.

Airlines have been prepping for Brexit, with the likes of Wizz Air and Ryanair applying for UK licences.

Last year, Easyjet set up a new airline to be headquartered in Vienna to protect its European business when Britain leaves the EU.

Today, Barton said Easyjet was working with the UK government, EU institutions and EU member states to ensure that flying rights between the UK and the EU are maintained.

“Given that consumers, airlines and politicians across the UK and Europe all want flights between the UK and EU to continue after Brexit we are confident there will be an agreement,” he said.