Tui is reportedly in talks with aviation regulators over a bespoke 12-month transition deal to mitigate the fallout of a no-deal Brexit.
Industry sources said the operator is negotiating a “letter of comfort” with the Civil Aviation Authority to allow flights to continue as normal, despite Tui in theory falling foul of EU ownership rules.
Airlines must demonstrate that at least 50% of their shares are owned by EU nationals under current laws.
After Brexit this poses a problem for airlines such as Tui Airways when its UK investors will no longer be classed as EU shareholders.
Just under a quarter of Tui is owned by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, Russia’s richest man. US investors own 23.3% and British shareholders own 15.1%. This means that around two thirds of the company will sit in non-EU hands when the UK leaves the union.
The Sunday Telegraph quoted sources as saying Tui is unwilling to suffer the substantial expense associated with rejigging its corporate structure prior to Brexit, only for a deal to be done that makes the changes pointless.
Instead, its preference is to strike a standstill agreement with the CAA, allowing it to wait and see how Brexit plays out.
Under draft proposals, if Brexit negotiators fail to strike a deal, Tui would then have a year to change its shareholder structure to be compliant with EU laws.
The Institute of Economic Affairs suggested last month that aircraft “would not be able to fly” if an accord between London and Brussels is not struck.
Tui declined to comment to the newspaper.
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