LONDON (Reuters) - Poles will want to stay in Britain after it leaves the European Union, the chief executive of Polish state airline LOT said on Tuesday, adding that Brexit would not have much impact on the airline sector if current policies were maintained.
The number of EU workers in Britain dropped in late 2016 following Britain's vote to leave the EU, and a "leave" campaign that centred on restricting immigration.
However, LOT Polish Airlines CEO Rafal Milczarski said that he did not believe Polish people would want to leave Britain following Brexit, and that demand for flights would remain strong.
"Britain is an attractive place for many Polish people ... I doubt that many Polish people will be leaving Britain, unless there is some UK government policy that will impose such a solution," Milczarski said at a news conference in London.
Britain will begin negotiations to leave the European Union in June, with figures in the airline industry keen to maintain the planks of European aviation policy that has increased competition and lowered consumer prices.
The deregulated aviation market, known as Open Skies, was introduced in 1997, and Milczarski said that Britain's membership of the arrangement was important for a smooth Brexit.
"It depends whether there is some aviation solution that maintains the current Open Skies policy. If there is, then not a lot will change," he said.
EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall earlier said she was confident that flying rights would be secured in a post-Brexit world.
Milczarski said a situation where there was no aviation agreement was difficult to imagine but would have "horrible" consequences if it did happen.
He was speaking at the launch of new Boeing 737-800 NG planes on its Warsaw-London route, which are almost 20 seats bigger than the current Boeing 737 Classics.
He said that the airline might increase its capacity to London, given the strong demand from Polish people to travel to Britain.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Berlin, editing by Michael Holden and Louise Heavens)