EasyJet applies for post-Brexit base in Austria

EasyJet has applied to establish a third airline to allow it to continue flying in the European Union after Brexit.

The airline has applied for a £10 million new air operator's certificate (AOC) in Austria, that it hopes to receive "in the near future".

It will allow the company to continue to operate flights across Europe and domestically within Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

The Vienna-based easyJet Europe will be the third of the company's airlines, joining two established airlines headquartered in the UK and Switzerland.

It chose Austria because of the country's "rigorous approach to safety" and ability to take on a large number of aircraft.

The single market for aviation, created in the 1990s, means there are no commercial restrictions for airlines flying within the EU.

An easyJet spokeswoman 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.

"EasyJet 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."

Around 30% of easyJet passengers are flying on routes between and within the EU27, not touching the UK.

Aviation consultant John Strickland said: "With the conclusion of the AOC process in Austria, easyJet will secure its rights to operate intra-EU flights in a post-Brexit world.

"These are a strategically important and sizeable component of their business."