Rumours that low cost carrier easyjet – among other UK airlines – is considering applying for an Irish airline licence to ensure full access to EU countries following Brexit have some basis.
Speaking at easyJet’s full-year results its chief executive Carolyn McCall said the airline is close to completing the application process for a European air operator’s certificate (AOC) by early 2017, enabling it to fly freely within the European Union after the UK’s planned departure.
Easyjet which reported that annual pretax profits to September 30 fell almost 28 per cent to US$616 million sterling on a weak pound and falling air fares said there could be a $6.3 million exceptional cost on its 2017 financial results, and a $12.5 million cost in total, to cover the establishment of the operating licence and aircraft re-registration.
The carrier already holds operating licences in the UK and Switzerland and plans to maintain its headquarters in the UK. Applications for operating licences from Dutch and Cyprus authorities have also been reported to have come under consideration.
The Irish Aviation Authority already oversees airlines with bases in multiple European countries as it regulates Ryanair, the EU’s largest carrier, and Norwegian Air International.
EasyJet confirms to Air Traffic Management: “We have spoken to a number of different countries and will continue to explore more options and therefore do not plan to confirm any details at this stage.”