BRITISH Airways is reportedly in talks to be considered a Spanish company after Brexit to keep its status as a European carrier.
International Airlines Group has been seeking the support of the Spanish government and the European Commission for over a month to stop Britain’s exit from negatively impacting the business, reported El Pais.
The group, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, has registered offices in Madrid but but its operational headquarters are based in London, meaning a no-deal Brexit could be detrimental to the airline.
EU rules currently state that more than 50% of an airline must be owned and controlled by member states in order for it to be considered an European carrier – something IAG may struggle to meet after Brexit.
Ahead of Britain’s exit in March IAG – believed to be worth almost €23 billion – hopes it will continue be considered an EU-based company and therefore covered by same rules.
According to three government sources and one from the EU, it will be Brussels that will have to ratify the nationality of the group, reported El Pais.
Following the news of IAG consulting the Spanish government, deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, Tweeted: “Spanish Airways”.
IAG was founded in 2011 and is the sixth largest airline company in the world.