Twitter has reacted with fury over news that British Airways is reportedly seeking the support of the Spanish government to keep its planes flying in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Journalist Jonathan Haynes tweeted: “Brexit to make British Airways Spanish? Is this what people voted for?”, whilst Craig Grannell said “laughing stock doesn’t really cover it” following news that the company’s parent owner IAG will seek a closer alliance with Madrid to retain operating rights.
EU rules state that an airline must be 50 per cent EU-controlled to fly within Europe, yet BA’s parent group has yet to demonstrate that it meets those requirements.
Support from the Spanish government could prove to Brussels that the business complies with European airline ownership rules, Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported, and thus secure crucial routes across the continent.
But not everyone reacted with dismay. Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said it was “sensible” for the company to make these plans.
Talking on LBC, the Brexiter said: “Everyone has said, from the President of the European Council downwards, that flights will continue after the 29th March. I don’t see why we should disbelieve them.
“But on the other hand, it’s always sensible of companies to make plans for things going wrong. That’s what businesses do.
A spokesman for IAG told the Times: “We remain confident that a comprehensive air transport agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached. It’s in the UK and the EU’s interests to have a fully liberalised aviation agreement.
“Even if there is no Brexit deal, both the EU and the UK have said they will put an agreement in place that allows flights to continue.”