'Our flying rights in Europe will be secure': easyJet allays fears about post-Brexit disruption

Budget airline easyJet announced on Thursday passenger flying rights will be “secure” after Brexit, in its quarterly trading update
for the three months to 30 June.
This follows last week’s news that the airline plans to set up a new EU base in Vienna, and has secured a European Air Operator Certificate (AOC), a licence to operate in Europe.

“Our European AOC has now been awarded and the first flight by an easyJet Europe aircraft takes place today. That means our flying rights in Europe will be secure after the UK leaves the EU,” said Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive.

easyJet has also reported:

  • Total revenue per seat is up 2.2%, on a constant currency basis.
  • Total revenue in the quarter increased by 16%, to £1.387 billion.
  • Passenger numbers were up 10.8% to 22.3 million, driven largely by 24 million new seats, (a 9.5% increase in capacity).
  • The company’s profit before tax for the year is predicted to be between £380 and £420 million.

“Our purposeful and disciplined growth continues to strengthen our market positions and we are seeing an underlying improving revenue trend,” said McCall. “Our underlying cost control is strong, while our investment in resilience is delivering results in our operational performance.”

The news allays fears that airlines would have trouble operating direct flights between the UK and the EU in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit. Being principly established in the EU rather than in the UK is one way for airlines to try to get around the strict rules that will apply after Brexit.

easyJet will become a pan European airline group with three airlines based in the UK, Switzerland and Austria, all owned by easyJet — which itself will be EU owned, but based in the UK. This will create new jobs in Austria, but none will move there from the UK.

Improved trading for the quarter was helped by Easter having fallen in April this year, while low fuel prices and cost cutting helped offset rising inflation. The airline also reported an improvement in the number of flights arriving on time, and it has updated its website to make it simpler and more user-friendly.

Meanwhile, easyHotel announced earlier this week it plans to open branches in Iran and Sri Lanka. easyGroup, the holding company for easyJet, holds a 34.6% stake in the budget hotel group.

Despite the solid results and improved profit forecasts, easyJet’s stock has slipped on Thursday, losing close to 4.5% in morning trade, as the chart below illustrates:

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