EASYJET has started discussions with aviation regulators of EU member states' about relocating its headquarters from the UK following the country's decision to leave the European Union. 

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The budget airline's chief executive Carolyn McCall has reportedly signalled in private meetings this week that moving its legal HQ from the UK is very likely as a result of last week's referendum. 

It's expected details of the move will take months to be formalised, but company sources say preliminary talks with several EU members states have already been held regarding issuing EasyJet with an air operator's certificate (AOC) that would enable it to base its HQ there.

One insider reportedly said moving the HQ may only involve moving a small number of staff, depending on the particular country's aviation regulator. 

It's expected this would make EasyJet's existing UK AOC entity a subsidiary of its newly incorporated legal headquarters.

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Such a model is already used by British Airways' parent, International Airlines Group, while Ryanair could adopt such a model in future.

A source told Sky News that EasyJet had received advice that "the most workable structure would be to be an EU-registered entity with a UK subsidiary".

Roughly 1,000 people are employed by the airline at its Luton base, in functions such as finance, IT and marketing - separate to the staff who work on its operations at the Bedfordshire airport.

While those staff would not affected, EasyJet potentially moving its legal HQ reinforces the fact that leaving the EU will have an impact on the corporate structures of some of Britain's biggest companies.

Ms McCall told Channel 4 News earlier this week that it "remains to be seen" whether the company's HQ would be shifted following Brexit.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange in the wake of the Brexit vote, the company said: "EasyJet has been preparing for this eventuality in the lead up to the referendum vote and has been working on a number of options that will allow it to continue flying in all of its markets."

Ms McCall added that she had "written to the UK Government and the European Commission to ask them to prioritise the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market". 

Sky News reported that in private discussions including with her fellow members of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group, Ms McCall has gone significantly further.

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One person who had been told of her stance reportedly said she had concluded that it was "likely" that EasyJet's HQ would move to the EU.

The airline is now expected to review all 27 of the remaining member states before holding further discussions with a number of them about the possible terms of an AOC.

A decision is likely later this year.