Budget airline easyJet has applied for a new air operator certificate in Austria so it can continue flying in the EU after Brexit.
The company said the application process was “well advanced” and that it hoped to receive the accreditation “in the near future”.
It will allow the low-cost carrier to create a new airline, easyJetEurope, which will have its headquarters in the Austrian capital Vienna.
This is planning for a worst case scenario should Britain fail to negotiate the same aviation freedoms it currently enjoys as a member of the EU.
The company said the move would enable the airline to operate flights both across Europe and domestically within European cities once Britain exits the European Union – “regardless of the outcome of talks on a future UK-EU aviation agreement”.
It currently has airlines based in the UK and Switzerland.
The creation of easyJetEurope will create new jobs in Austria, but the airline asserted “no jobs will move from the UK to Austria”.
“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.
“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.”