IAG International Airlines Group has tweaked its corporate structure to ensure that its Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) and Iberia (IB, Madrid Barajas) subsidiaries remain controlled by European Union investors and therefore retain their access to the bloc's internal market.

"These remedial plans were approved by national regulators in Spain and Ireland and, as required, the EU has been notified about them. The plans include the implementation of a national ownership structure for Aer Lingus and changes to the Group's long-standing national ownership structure in Spain," the Madrid-headquartered holding said in a stock market filing.

IAG has long held that Iberia is controlled by Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés. The Spanish government previously vowed to support the holding in protecting the carrier's "Spanishness".

Irish radio station Newstalk reported that in Ireland, IAG has placed control of Aer Lingus in the hands of a local trust.

As the post-Brexit trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom did not waive the bloc's usual control and ownership rules for airlines, carriers have to remain owned by EU citizens to benefit from the open skies agreement. While the clause is less problematic for British Airways (BA, London Heathrow), which does not operate services within the EU, its Irish and Spanish sister carriers are dependent on remaining designated EU carriers.

The new rules entered into effect on January 1, 2021, following the end of the transition period.

IAG has also adjusted the composition of its Board of Directors so that it has a majority of independent EU non-executive directors.

"Deborah Kerr, María Fernanda Mejía, and Steve Gunning have stepped down from the Board and Peggy Bruzelius, Eva Castillo Sanz and Heather Ann McSharry have joined it, all with immediate effect. Steve Gunning's executive functions as Chief Financial Officer remain unchanged," the holding said.

Earlier, Ryanair Holdings, Wizz Air Holdings, and easyJet, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange but rely on intra-EU flights, have restricted the rights of non-EU shareholders to ensure that at least 50%+1 of voting rights is owned by EU citizens.