EasyJet is consulting with aviation regulators across the European Union about possibly moving its headquarters out of the UK and into continental Europe, according to a report from Sky News.
Sky’s report suggests that EasyJet’s chief executive Carolyn McCall — one of only a handful of female chief execs at FTSE 100 companies — has held high-level meetings with several EU states, and suggested that EasyJet “moving its legal HQ from the UK is almost inevitable in the wake of last week’s referendum result.”
It is thought that if the move does go ahead only a few jobs would actually be moved out of the UK, and the new EU headquarters would be a legal entity similar to that in place at International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia Air, and Aer Lingus. This would involve making the company’s UK base a legal subsidiary of an EU-registered 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.”
Currently, around 1,000 EasyJet employees work out of the company’s headquarters at Luton airport, and it is thought that the company is unwilling to move the bulk of its operations away from Luton.
EasyJet declined to comment on the report to Sky, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Sky’s report is in contrast to an interview given to ITV on Thursday, when EasyJet’s Commercial Manager Neil Slaven said the company has no plans to move its headquarters away from its current Luton base, and that there are no plans for job losses at the airline’s hubs of Luton, Stansted and Southend airports.
EasyJet — which is famous for its orange and white livery — has seen its share price tumble since the referendum, with the company’s stock down by 28% since the market close on Thursday June 23.
Shares took a huge drop after the airline issued a profit warning on Monday, saying in a statement to the markets:
“Following the outcome of the EU Referendum, we also anticipate that additional economic and consumer uncertainty is likely this summer and as a consequence it is expected that revenue per seat at constant currency in the second half will now be down.”
Here is how EasyJet’s shares look since the referendum:
EasyJet joins a slew of other companies in reportedly considering shifting away from the UK in the post-Brexit world. Earlier this week it was reported that Vodafone is considering moving UK roles across the channel following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and Goldman Sachs has warned that banks could do the same, according to reports.
On Thursday, HSBC which prior to the referendum considered moving its headquarters out of the UK, confirmed that it will be staying put.