British airline EasyJet said Friday it had applied for a new air operator's certificate in Austria to allow it to continue flying in the European Union after Brexit regardless of the outcome of negotiations.
The application "will allow easyJet to establish a new airline, easyJet Europe, which will be headquartered in Vienna and will enable easyJet to continue to operate flights both across Europe and domestically within European countries after the UK has left the EU," it said in a statement.
"All of easyJet's UK employees will continue to be based in Luton and our 11 UK bases and employed as they are today," the firm said.
"Given the importance of aviation to all the economies of Europe as an enabler of trade, tourism and travel, we think it is important that the aviation market remains as open and competitive as possible.
“While the new structure will protect all of EasyJet’s current flying rights within Europe, EasyJet will continue to push for the UK and EU to reach an aviation agreement which, at a minimum, will enable flights between the UK and EU,” the statement added.
Soon after Britain voted in a referendum a year ago in favor of exiting the EU, EasyJet applied for a European Union license to keep flying throughout the bloc.
Britain’s airline industry has soared over the last two decades under the Single European Sky system, which lifted trade restrictions on EU airlines.
Under present rules, airlines operating within the EU must be majority owned by EU nationals.
EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his family hold Cypriot passports and own 33% of shares in the business. The firm currently also has airlines based in the UK and Switzerland.
All three airlines will be owned by easyJet plc, which will be EU-owned and controlled, listed on the London Stock Exchange and based in the UK.
A Government spokesman said ministers were "committed to securing liberal access to European aviation markets which has brought huge benefits to consumers across the EU".
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