MIAMI – European low-cost carrier, EasyJet, has chosen the country of Austria for its new Air Operator Certificate. The move was made to protect its route network within the European Union ahead of Britain leaving the EU.
The new airline, named EasyJet Europe, will be headquartered in Vienna and will allow EasyJet to operate flights both across Europe and domestically within European countries after the UK has left the EU. All employees of the new airline are already employed by EasyJet and will simply transfer to the new airline.
According to the airline, “The accreditation process is now well advanced and EasyJet hopes to receive the AOC and license in the near future. Under EU law an airline of any EU member state has the freedom to fly any route within the EU. EasyJet has a UK operating license and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) which means, as the UK is currently an EU member, it is an EU airline. EasyJet also already has a Swiss operating license and AOC.”
In order to qualify for an AOC, easyJet must ensure the safety of its operations and re-register all aircraft affected by the change. While having multiple AOCs is tedious, it is not unprecedented. Airlines under IAG (British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Vueling, and LEVEL), Air France-KLM, Norwegian, TUI, and the Lufthansa Group all have multiple AOCs.
EasyJet, like many airlines in the EU, is publically against Brexit. The airline says it will “continue to push for the EU and UK to reach an aviation agreement which at a minimum will enable flights between the UK and EU. We have had positive discussions with the UK and European governments and the EU on this, and it is a position which is supported by other major European airlines.”
EasyJet, which operates a fleet of just over 250 A320 aircraft, flew more than 78 million passengers in 2016. One month ago, the airline took delivery of their first Airbus A320neo.