EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has served up a reminder of the boardroom split at the UK budget carrier, reiterating his view the carrier should postpone delivery of some of its Airbus aircraft on order.
“Stelios remains of the view that easyJet’s current financial performance the outlook for the European economy requires a significantly more conservative approach to the biggest single issue facing the company, namely the Airbus order for an additional 91 aircraft,” said a spokesman for Stelios. The comments came just as the carrier reported its first half results yesterday. “The company currently plans to buy too many new aircraft from Airbus too soon, and the passenger numbers are not keeping up with the aircraft numbers,” the Stelios spokesman adds. “Stelios continues to advocate that the company should continue to postpone certain deliveries.”
The strategic rift at the carrier first ingited last November when Stelios, who remains a shareholder in the airline, publicly outlined his concerns at the carrier’s expansion plans given market developments. He also refused to sign off the airline’s accounts at the time, in particular citing concerns at the company’s valuation of London Gatwick slots picked up along with the acquisition of GB Airways.
EasyJet yesterday announced wider first half pre-tax losses of £116.5 million, but while cautious about the consumer economy, still expects to be profitable for the year.
For more on the recent boardroom moves at easyJet, check out my colleague Victoria Moores’ recent blog here