No-frills airline Wizz Air has secured a British air operator certificate and set up a UK subsidiary as part of its Brexit contingency plans.
The Hungarian airline applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for the certificate amid fears that the UK’s exit from the EU could cause major disruption for airlines.
As part of the creation of Wizz Air UK, which will be headquartered in Luton, the firm will have eight new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft in service by the end of 2018, representing an investment of 860 million US dollars (£630 million).
The move will create 300 new management, pilot and cabin crew jobs.
Boss Jozsef Varadi said: “Today marks the start of a new era in air travel in the United Kingdom, as we celebrate Wizz Air UK’s first flight following the approval of its UK operating licence.
“While Wizz Air UK is a key part of our Brexit contingency plan, it is also the first genuine ultra-low cost carrier licensed in the UK and the natural next step in the development of our UK business, putting us in a strong position to take advantage of opportunities that may arise in what remains Europe’s largest travel market.”
Wizz Air is now the eight largest airline group operating in the UK, with flights to 74 destinations in 23 countries from nine UK airports.
In a separate trading update, Wizz Air said passenger numbers rose 19.2% in April to 2.76 million when compared to the same month last year.