IAG has disclosed that the proportion of its shares held by “non-EU persons” has declined to 39.5%, from 47.5% in February 2019, enabling the group to remove maximum limits on non-EU ownership that ensure regulators class it as a European airline.

Ahead of Brexit on 31 January, IAG must ensure that it is majority-owned by EU citizens in order to maintain its European operating rights. Limits were placed on the number of non-EU shares that could be held in order to ensure this criteria was met.

IAG says it will continue to monitor the non-EU ownership level, and could reintroduce limits if it threatens to rise above 50%.

Credit Suisse analyst Neil Glynn expects that the markets will respond favourably to the move. “This block had weighed on stock and we expect its removal to positively impact the share price,” he writes in a research note.

Already the parent group of British AirwaysIberiaVueling and Aer LingusIAG is set to take over Air Europa later this year