EasyJet chairman Sir Michael Rake has hit back at claims from the low-cost carrier's founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, that too much money was being spent on new aircraft and that executive bonuses were based on "phoney calculations".
In a speech at the airline's capital markets day in London, held before EasyJet's annual shareholder meeting, he rejected Haji-Ioannou's claim that an order of Airbus A320s committed EasyJet to expenditure of $1.5 billion. "The actual amount involved is substantially less than half of this figure," he said.
Rake also defended an award of £7 million ($11.1 million) in shares to EasyJet's top 10 managers which he said "will only vest in full in 2015 if the company achieves 13% return on capital employed over those three years". He described this as "a very significant challenge".
EasyJet has also been ordered to pay fines of €30,000 ($39,607) as a result of legal action brought against it by a French consumer group which found 23 of its terms and conditions either "illegal" or "abusive". This includes charging passengers extra when they pay with certain types of credit cards.
EasyJet said it will review the verdict in detail and reserves its right to appeal.