BRUSSELS has warned the remaining 27 European Union countries that they must urgently explain how their airline licenses comply with the bloc’s rules on ownership or face losing their rights to fly after Brexit.
In a letter sent last week, Violeta Bulc, the EU commissioner responsible for transport, revealed not every national government had set out detailed plans on how airlines would meet “ownership and control requirements in all possible scenarios” of Brexit. EU officials have recently prioritised warnings to airlines as part of an effort to avoid a complete collapse of the industry in a no-deal Brexit scenario. British Airways and its sister airline Iberia, the Spanish carrier also owned by IAG, are amongst those firms who are yet to explain how they will meet the EU’s strict ownership criteria after Brexit.
According to EU rules, airlines must be controlled and owned by more than 50 percent of EU investors in order to retain their ability to fly freely in the bloc.
Ms Bulc has requested that EU27 transport ministers move to explain how affected airlines licensed by each country would meet this criteria on March 30, the day after Brexit.
She warned them this is an urgent matter “given the remaining short timeframe ahead”.
Her communication comes as part of an EU strategy to increase no-deal Brexit contingency planning as Theresa May’s deal continues to head towards a defeat.
Ryanair and EasyJet have already revealed they will remove voting rights from non-EU shareholders in order to meet the EU’s control rule.
They have also applied for secondary operating licences to allow fights to continue – EasyJet from Austria and Ryanair from the UK.
Last week, it was revealed that the EU Commission had warned IAG that its plan to continue flying in and around Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit was insufficient.
The firm was planning to maintain both EU and UK flying rights by claiming their airlines are both domestically owned by a series of companies, rather than being viewed of the wider group, which is made up of a majority of non-EU investors.