One question that has circulated regarding British and Spanish airlines is how will Brexit affect Vueling and British Airways? The question arises because both are part of the Anglo-Spanish holding company IAG (International Airline Group). Although Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, has repeatedly said that he does not expect repercussions due to Brexit, specialists believe otherwise.
IAG considers that Brexit will not influence passengers
Willie Walsh has said that he does not expect the number of passengers in Europe and the rest of the world to be reduced because of Brexit. A position that several commentators also do not share.
Can British Airways fly in or to the EU after Brexit?
Iberia will be able to do so. However, Vueling and British Airways are still in the process of proving that they should indeed be considered Community airlines. The European Union has given airlines a period of 7 months to adjust their capital structures and thus prove that they are controlled, for the most part, by Europeans. This will be the case if a No-Deal Brexit occurs.
Some specialists estimate that only 25% of IAG's capital is in European hands. Therefore, British Airways and Vueling run a higher risk of being directly affected by a hard Brexit.
Iberia will maintain its Spanishness to be able to fly after Brexit
The Ministry of Fomento has made it clear that Spanish airlines will have to demonstrate that their capital structures correspond to what is necessary as defined by the European Union in order to be able to operate as European air carriers.
In other words, they will have to prove that the majority of their ownership comes from EU Member States. Despite being part of IAG, Iberia is still considered a Spanish company and most of its effective control structure is owned by Garanair. Which itself is controlled by the Corte Inglés. This is why Iberia, for now, will not have to worry about its license after Brexit.
British Airways will have to replicate something similar if they want to maintain their right to operate flights inside the EU.
EasyJet and Ryanair also affected by Brexit
If both airlines wish to continue operating flights within the EU, they will also have to prove that their capital comes mainly from Europe. Both companies have already started working on this specific issue. Although Willie Walsh considers that Brexit is not a risk for airlines, the actions and preparations of companies around the continent seem to prove the opposite.
Will passengers be able to claim compensation if they fly to or from the UK?
After the impending separation of the UK and Europe, it is apparent that all passengers will continue to be able to claim compensation if their flight has been delayed by more than three hours or if it has been cancelled.
This would happen because most airlines will be regarded as European in the anyhow. Passengers’ rights will be covered and you’ll be able to claim compensation in the same way as if you were flying from the United States of America to Europe with a European airline.
However, doubt is still casted over internal UK flights.
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