EasyJet has reportedly examined setting up a separate European business in case the UK leaves the European Union.

Obtaining an air operator’s certificate in an EU country, which would require it to establish a local holding company, is one of the options the budget carrier has looked at as part of contingency planning in the event of a Brexit.

It is also thought that easyJet has examined making better use of its Swiss AOC and its easyJet Switzerland subsidiary if Britain leaves the EU, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Should the UK vote to leave on June 23, the worst-case scenario for airlines would be if Britain was subsequently pushed out of the European common aviation area.

Obtaining an operating licence in an EU country would help easyJet to fly in Europe.

A spokesman for the airline, which supports staying in the EU, said it was focusing on that campaign and lobbying to ensure the country remained part of the common aviation area.

Brexit is seen as being more problematic for easyJet than for Irish rival Ryanair or British Airways parent International Airlines Group, which owns Iberia and Aer Lingus and which has AOCs in the UK, Ireland and Spain.

“Of those three, [easyJet are] the ones that have to do the most contingency planning,” one analyst told the newspaper.

“They are a pan-European airline, they make maximum use of the traffic rights that allow UK airlines to fly to points within Europe.”

Brexit may also force Ryanair to set up a formal British business by obtaining a UK AOC.