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Brexit: easyJet seeks Austrian AOC to preserve traffic rights; highlights dark cloud over aviation

On 14-Jul-2017 easyJet said that it hopes to receive an Austrian AOC "in the near future" for a new subsidiary – easyJet Europe – to ensure intra-EU traffic rights post Brexit. Around half of easyJet's passengers come from the EU27 (the 27 countries of the EU once the UK leaves) and around 30% fly on intra-EU27 routes.

As the most exposed UK airline to a single European aviation market (ex UK), easyJet is right not to sit around waiting for regulatory clarity. Other airlines are also showing some signs of unease about the continued uncertainty. IAG has questioned the EU's ownership and control rules and Ryanair has mused over how to maintain EU majority control if UK shareholders are excluded from the definition. Wizz Air is even looking at a UK licence.

In Jan-2016 a CAPA report highlighted the uncertainties for aviation if the UK voted to leave the EU. It urged the UK government "to start planning for the exit the minute the referendum is concluded". Eighteen months later, there is no obvious sign of any progress towards the necessary EU-UK agreement on air services. The UK Transport Secretary still wants the "best possible access to European aviation markets", but is still not able to say how that can be achieved.

With no WTO style fallback option, an EU-UK agreement on aviation must be prioritised.

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