EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall is reported to have signalled in private meetings that moving the airline’s legal base from the UK is almost inevitable in the wake of last week’s Brexit vote.

Details of any move away from Luton are expected to take months to be ironed out.

Sky News reported sources close to the carrier as saying it had already held preliminary talks with a handful of unidentified EU member states about issuing easyJet with an air operator’s certificate that would enable it to base its headquarters there.

One insider said moving the headquarters could entail relocating just a handful of staff, depending on the regime operated by the individual country’s aviation regulator.

It would involve overhauling easyJet’s current corporate structure by making its existing UK air operator’s certificate entity a subsidiary of its newly incorporated legal headquarters.

A source said that easyJet had received advice that “the most workable structure would be to be an EU-registered entity with a UK subsidiary,” Sky News reported.

EasyJet employs about 1,000 staff at its Luton offices in functions such as finance, IT and marketing – separate to the staff who work on its operations at the Bedfordshire airport.