Easyjet applies for European licence to continue operations post Brexit

The airline wants to be cleared for take-off across the EU

Britain's budget airline easyJet will relocate European operations to Austria to continue flying on the mainland after Brexit, the company confirmed on Friday.

These will allow easyJet to establish easyJet Europe, which will be headquartered in Vienna.

In March, the airline, which serves more than 30 countries, said a bilateral aviation agreement was a "minimum requirement" from Brexit negotiations.

EasyJet says it is confident it will remain majority European Union owned after Brexit as founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his family - who hold Cypriot passports - have 33 per cent of shares.

EasyJet is seeking to protect its rights to fly between destinations in European Union countries after Brexit takes effect, in the event the United Kingdom fails to reach an agreement on retaining access to those routes for its airlines.

Easyjet said that the people and planes which will fly for the new airline "are already employed and based in EU27 countries".

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The airline said: "The accreditation process is now well advanced and easyJet hopes to receive the AOC and licence in the near future".

EasyJet now has an airline based in Switzerland, as well as its United Kingdom operation.

A spokeswoman said "nothing will change" from the perspective of passengers.

EasyJet said it was continuing to push for negotiators "to reach an aviation agreement which at a minimum will enable flights between the United Kingdom and EU".

There has been growing concern among airlines that a new deal, which would replicate current arrangements allowing flights between EU states, might not be replicated before the United Kingdom leaves the union. The parent company - EasyJet PLC - will retain its London Stock Exchange listing and its Luton headquarters.

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