British Airways is reportedly seeking the support of the Spanish government to keep its airplanes flying in the event of Brexit.
The company’s parent owner International Airlines Group (IAG) is asking for support from Madrid to retain operating rights in Europe should the UK crash out of the European Union without a Brexit deal.
Such support from the Spanish government would prove to Brussels that the business complies with European airline ownership rules, the Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported.
British Airways could be thrown into jeopardy if the prime minister fails to reach a deal with the EU.
Existing rules state that an airline must be 50% EU-controlled to fly within Europe. BA’s parent group has yet to demonstrate that it meets those requirements.
The company’s operational headquarters is currently based in London but an agreement with Madrid could put those jobs at risk.
Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said it was ‘sensible’ for the company to make these plans.
He told LBC: ‘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.
Twitter users mocked the news. Journalist Jonathan Haynes tweeted: ‘Brexit to make British Airways Spanish? Is this what people voted for?’
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.’