Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has again challenged EasyJet about its growth policy. The former CEO called for a reduction in the number of aircraft.
In an 11-page letter sent the carrier's chairman Michael Rake, he wrote the EasyJet board should "stop pursuing a strategy of increasing the size of the fleet," saying "each additional aircraft is now destroying shareholder value and diluting the returns of the original order".
EasyJet said that it will respond to the points raised in "due course," but the carrier has partly responded. Having sold most of the ex-GB Airways A310 Family fleet over the past 18 months, the carrier has put a couple of Airbus A319s for sale. Both aircraft were delivered new to EasyJet in 2006.
Referring to the January fleet announcement in which EasyJet placed firm orders for 15 A320 aircraft, convert 20 A319 deliveries into A320 aircraft and secured options over a further 33 A320 aircraft, the carrier says: "the commercial value of the deal reflected substantially less than the current Airbus list prices for the aircraft and fell under the threshold for Class 1 transactions requiring shareholder approval."
The carrier adds that the aircraft will not deliver until the latter part of 2012 at the earliest, with the majority of deliveries being in 2013 and 2014, and primarily to replace existing aircraft that will be retiring from the fleet at that time.
EasyJet also stated that it intends to hold the size of its fleet at a maximum of 204 aircraft over the winter 2011 and winter 2012 periods.