EasyJet looks into moving its HQ to EU following Brexit vote

The budget airline has applied for a certificate allowing it to operate in Europe 

Hazel Sheffield
Friday 01 July 2016 17:53
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EasyJet looks into moving its HQ to EU following Brexit vote

EasyJet is said to be in talks about relocating its headquarters away from the UK.

Following the shock decision of the UK to leave the EU, the budget airline is reportedly in talks with aviation regulators from EU member states about moving its headquarters overseas.

EasyJet said it has "no plans" to move its headquarters from Luton, but it did confirm that it has applied for an air operator's certificate in a European country so it can keep flying as normal.

“As part of easyJet’s contingency planning before the referendum, we had informal discussions with a number of European aviation regulators about the establishment of an AOC (air operator certificate) in a European country to enable easyJet to fly across Europe as we do today," a spokesperson for easyJet said.

“EasyJet has now started a formal process to acquire an AOC," the spokesperson added.

The AOC would give easyJet a legal base in another country and the right to operate an airline there.

The company said that until the outcomes of the EU negotiations are clear, it is not considering other structural changes.

"We have no plans to move from Luton – our home for 20 years," easyJet said.

But Carolyn McCall, easyJet chief executive, said in an interview that "it remains to be seen" whether the company headquarters would have to move.

EasyJet was one of the biggest losers on the FTSE 100 in the aftermath of the referendum. Shares dropped more than 20 per cent on the Monday after the vote to hit 1,020p.

In a warning to investors, easyJet said the vote would cause "economic and consumer uncertainty".

It joined IAG, the owner of British Airways, and Aer Lingus, in warning that a drop in travel demand and a slide in the value of the pound could hurt earnings for the rest of the summer.

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EasyJet said that revenue per seat in the second half of 2016 will be down by “at least a mid-single digit percentage” compared with the second half of 2015.

Ms McCall, winner of personality of the year at the Evening Standard Business Awards, was a vocal opponent of the Leave campaign in the months before the referendum.

She argued in op-eds and interviews that Brexit could herald a return to the days when flying was "reserved for the elite".

"How much you pay for your holiday really does depend on how much influence Britain has in Europe," McCall said.

EasyJet shares were trading up 1.71 per cent on the day at 1,104.60 on Friday lunchtime.

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