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Coronavirus Crisis Revives Old Battle for EasyJet

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The coronavirus crisis has brought easyJet’s founder and principal shareholder Stelios Haji-Ioannou to new rationale in its protracted struggle to slow growth at the airline.

 

This emerges from a letter from him to the board of the British price fighter, on which news agency Bloomberg managed to get hold.

The entrepreneur, who stepped down as an EasyJet driver years ago in protest of specific expansions, has renewed his demand that the budget airline cancels an order for more than 100 Airbus aircraft, arguing that the company was spending £ 4.5 billion on it currently cannot bear costs.

Haji-Ioannou owns over a third of easyJet’s shares. In the coming weeks, he threatens to declare an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to have the directors of easyJet fired if he does not get his way.

A Goodbody analyst doesn’t think Haji-Ioannou will be able to push his way. Likely, easyJet is even contractually obliged to continue the purchase of the aircraft. But the major shareholder does not make things easier for EasyJet either.

The corona crisis hits EasyJet hard. The company immediately ceased all flights on Monday.

EasyJet cited the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by countries in response to the coronavirus and the introduction of lockdowns in many European countries. The airline will continue to work with governments to carry out repatriation flights at their request.

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