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BA cabin crew (photo: British Airways)

IAG talks with Spain over EU ownership

As Brexit approaches, the British Airways owner is looking to protect its EU ownership rights, a newspaper reveals.

After a Spanish newspaper wrote that British Airways and Iberia owner International Airlines Group was in talks with Spain to ensure its EU ownership rights, IAG has commented that it still has confidence a UK-EU air transport agreement will be reached, ATW reports.

The parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level has its corporate headquarters in London but is registered in Spain and has shares traded on both the London and Spanish Stock Exchanges.

IAG has been in discussions with both Spanish officials and the European Commission to ensure it is considered a majority EU-owned company in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the newspaper El Pais reported.

Such a Brexit outcome, which the UK and the EU are working to prevent but which travel companies have been warned to prepare for, would happen if the two sides fail to reach a deal by the exit date of March 29 next year.

“We remain confident that a comprehensive air transport agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached,” IAG says in a statement that makes no mention of the El Pais article.

“It’s in the UK and EU’s interests to have a fully liberalized aviation agreement. Even if there is no Brexit deal, both the EU and UK have said they will put an agreement in place that allows flights to continue.”

Restricted rights
In the event of a no-deal Brexit for the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union, the rights of airlines that are not majority EU-owned may be limited.

A number of airlines have been trying to ensure their operating rights as the Brexit date approaches.

The low-cost carrier Wizz Air and easyJet have gone through the time-consuming process of setting up subsidiaries on both sides of the future border in an effort to protect their operations, easyJet in Europe and Wizz Air in the UK. Dublin-based airline Ryanair, meanwhile, has applied for a UK air operator’s certificate.

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