Wizz Air, a budget airline, has emerged as the newest European carrier to move to shore up its post-Brexit flying rights by applying for a licence in Britain before Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Currently, flying rights are governed by EU-wide deals and since it is not part of the World Trade Organization, the aviation sector has no normal fallback arrangement to protect flights if there is no deal between the European Union and Britain.
It said that a subsidiary of Hungary-based Wizz Air, Wizz Air UK, will commence operations in March 2018 if its application to the Civil Aviation Authority for an operating licence and an air operator’s certificate (AOC) is successful.
Wizz is listed in London. However, the majority of its operations are concentrated on Europe. Wizz stated that by the end of 2018, the move would see 100 new jobs added to its base in Luton.
“It is a natural, next-step in the development of our UK business,” said CEO Jozsef Varadi in a statement.
“This move is also part of our broader strategy to ensure that our UK operations are Brexit-ready.”
easyJet, the Luton-based airline, has chosen Vienna, Austria for an AOC, to safeguard its ability to fly between EU destinations once Britain withdraws from the bloc.
An AOC in Britain could let Wizz fly in between UK-only destinations, however, it currently operates no such flights and did not show that its strategy was now to do so.
Still, even with multiple AOCs, airlines still need governments to agree with new traffic agreements, with some in the industry having voiced the opinion that flights from Britain to remaining countries in the European Union could be grounded unless progress is made soon.